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Getting a Grip on Complex Technologies

Joe Spring

Head of Location and Commerce


Joe Spring

Joe Spring

26 June . 2 min read . Opinion

(Credit: Lighstone)
With the exciting rise of various technologies in the media space, it’s not uncommon to feel intimidated or confounded. One particular example is geospatial technology – a phrase that not many people use on a daily basis. It conjures thoughts of impossible satellite calibration, temperamental GPS devices from the 90’s, or the behemoth of “big data”.  

Here’s the question – we know that there’s great value tied up in these complex things, but how do you get a simple grip on it, to be able to extract the value simply? 

The good news is you can quite easily get a grip on what geospatial technology is about, without embarking on a diploma or degree in this complex field. And the main point is to see how it serves you, instead of the other way round.  

One of the simplest ways to get answers is the humble online map. There is immense complexity going on in the background, to bring you the simplicity of a simple click, or an easy filter. And this technology has grown in power, while remaining really easy to use. Just think about some of the questions that you may need to answer in your work: 

  • What are some reasons for my various occupancy rates? 
  • Where do my customers move during the day? 
  • How many customers and competitors do I have within 15 minutes of here? 
  • What’s the customer profile of Pinetown vs Pinelands? 
  • Where is the best place to build a new site?  


Lightstone Explore Online (LEO) is an online map designed for South African businesses, with colours and visualisations that cut through the noise. It gives our customers their own private workspaces, where they can quickly see patterns in billboard networks, evaluate new suburbs, and query areas of opportunity. With one or two clicks you can surface the information and insights you need. 

At its simplest, LEO presents the most up-to-date demographics for South Africa (2022), and the locations of retail stores and malls. (Think of these as the foundations of demand and supply.) You can use this to understand the sizes of markets, the profile of neighbourhoods and the sort of stores they have access to. You can filter and find areas that are similar to your most successful territories. 

In our April article we introduced Lightstone’s independent audience measurement solution, and this is another layer which can be added to your LEO map, giving you insights to the “so what” of the data. The complexity of hundreds of thousands of vehicles moving around our network has been processed into reach and frequency for your billboard sites. Now, you can filter and visualise to truly understand what your roadside performance looks like across the region and different neighbourhoods. 

Indeed, complex systems make these things possible, but we can be glad that these technologies are no longer just going over our heads, but really are right at our fingertips. Through a simple tool, you can get the value of this technology, and carry its benefits into the rest of your week, so give us a call today. 

Joe Spring heads up the Location & Commerce vertical at Lightstone, the leading property data and analytics company. 

The Location & Commerce team comprises data scientists, product experts, developers and solutions consultants who work together to produce tactical insights and network solutions, enabling clients to tap into location intelligence, and optimise their business.