By: Laura Schewel on October 5th, 2016

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Optimizing StreetLight InSight® for Large Projects & Organizations

Retail  |  Big Data  |  Transportation

At StreetLight Data, we’re always updating StreetLight InSight, our easy-to-use web application for transforming Big Data from mobile devices into Metrics that describe travel patterns. (Not familiar with StreetLight InSight? Click here to sign up for our monthly introductory webinar.) Typically, our usability enhancements have focused on improving StreetLight InSight for individuals. In our last two monthly releases, we took a different approach: Optimizing StreetLight InSight for large projects and large teams. In this blog post, we’ll share the highlights.

Why Focus on “Going Big”?

As our clients gain StreetLight InSight experience, they’re adding more users to their account – some organizations that began with one or two users have as many as 50 today! In parallel, our clients are designing increasingly sophisticated Metrics to measure travel patterns across large geographies (i.e.: entire states and regions).  So, when we heard the requests for features that make it easy to GO BIG with StreetLight InSight, it was our call to action.  It’s time for us to start thinking just as big as our clients are.

Simplifying Collaboration

Larger teams and more users call for more collaboration. That’s why we introduced a suite of features that makes it easier for teams to cooperate on projects, and check one another’s work. Here’s an overview:

  • Users can now delete Travel Projects, Retail Sites, and Zone Sets easily, even if they did not create them. This is helpful for teams that independently evaluate the different ways they can gather the data they need from StreetLight InSight to determine what works best.
  • Users can save sets of “Travel Project Options” (i.e.: custom date ranges, day parts, etc.) for others in their organization to use. This means if your team is running a set of analyses with the same specifications over different geographies, you can easily upload the Project Options you need without selecting them again.
  • Users can now approve and convert a “Test Project”, or a trial run to ensure the Metrics are designed appropriately, to a “paid” project, which is the final set of Metrics, right in StreetLight InSight with two clicks. That means that once a manager signs off, it’s easy for work to begin.

Facilitating Large Projects

When StreetLight Data launched, one of our Travel Metrics’ most compelling features was its 5-meter spatial precision, which is possible thanks to the GPS data we obtain from our partner INRIX. This precision makes analyzing travel patterns at specific intersections, highway on- and off-ramps, and even freeway frontage roads possible – and that’s still an important aspect of our product.

However, granular analyses are just one way to use our Metrics. You can also use StreetLight InSight to describe travel patterns in areas as large as the state of California – and beyond (See Figure 1 below). As our customer base grows, large-format StreetLight InSight Metrics are becoming more common. In fact, we’re seeing projects with as many as 8,000 Zones! Here’s an overview of the upgrades we’ve made so that these large analyses easier to perform:

  • Our backend processing systems have been optimized so that the Metrics for large Travel Projects are analyzed more efficiently. This means that they no longer bog down our system when they are processing.
  • When downloading Metrics, you can now choose the specific files and types of Metrics you want to download – and you don’t have to download every single file if you don’t need them for your analysis right away. This expedites download times, and also makes parsing .csv files in Excel easier.
  • However, if you want to download every single large file, that’s fine, too! It’s now possible to download files of any size directly from StreetLight InSight, though we do offer other options for files larger than 5GB.
  • We’ve implemented search tools across all Travel visualizations and Zone management tools, so that you can easily find the analysis Zone that you’re looking for. This is critical when you want to select a specific area from a Zone Set of 8,000+.

Cali_Counties_OD.png

Figure 1: We're making it easier to create analyses that span entire states, like Origin-Destination matrix visualization above of counties in California. This particular heat map shows the relative volume of trips with orgins in any one of California's 58 counties and destinations in Contra Costa county. 

While we’re thrilled about these latest updates, our team is also already hard at work on the next round of updates. Stay tuned for more improvements to StreetLight InSight, from integrating our new partner Cuebiq’s data inputs to fine-tuning our visualizations.

What new features or improvements would you like to see in StreetLight InSight? Let us know in the comments!