Last week, Statistics Canada (StatsCan) gave us the initial population counts, broken down by area, from the 2011 census. It was a great day for analysts, and a congratulate them delivering. A huge shoutout to The Canadian Press for a pretty sweet interactive map of the results. It’s a great mirror. It’s a great reflection of ourselves.

Where people live is a pretty big indicator (not explicitly a predictor) of many other things. Like people clump alike. 

  • There are areas associated with low income. 
  • There are areas associated with rapidly rising income. 
  • There are areas associated with established wealth. 

As a result, education, income, and wealth are associated with where you live. If I have your name and postal code, I can predict a few things about you.

What if I know where you are at various points in the day? Impossible? Consider, then, the signal emitted by a cellphone. You ought to be aware of the iPhone keeping a record of everywhere you go. Where you work relative to where you sleep yields a key insight into what you are.  

I know that you’re a commuter if there’s a huge distance between the two coordinates. If I know that transit is terrible in that area, I know to annoy you with radio advertising on the drive into work. If transit is good in that area, I know to break up my spend into transit . If there’s a very short distance, I’m going to need outdoor placement to reinforce my message. Moreover, I also know a lot about the core attitudinal drivers of those who live in cars versus those who live outside. They’re different.  

Where you exist has a lot to do with what you are.

  • Marketers really want to understand what you are.
  • Public policy analysts want to really understand what you are.
  • Traffic planners really, really, really want to understand what you are, at what points, where, and when.

Do you think you can learn more about yourself by learning more about what others are? 

Making sense of all that geographic data represents an awesome challenge and an awesome opportunity.

You should be aware of what, and why, you’re telling who through your apps and through your phones.