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Google Maps Help Predict Meth Labs Before They Open | Fast Company

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Google Maps is a lifesaver. But the mapping technology behind Google Maps isn't just good for highway directions and bike routes; it can also find methamphetamine labs and track gang activity. Experts in the growing field of geospatial predictive analytics use cutting-edge algorithms and data analysis techniques that can do everything from predicting terrorist activity to preventing auto theft.

The larger field that geospatial predictive analytics is a part of--geographical information systems (GIS)--uses data points and specialized software to turn maps into sophisticated analysis tools. Although the work is a far cry from something as sexy as you'd see on Breaking Bad, the GIS field is booming; firms specializing in computer-driven map analysis are hosting conventions, holding hiring fairs, and developing specialized software.