80% of Data is Not Spatial so Stop Claiming it is

If you told me 80% of data has Chuck Norris in it, I’d believe that, but this statistic that GIS people keep throwing out has got to be stopped. The quote usually goes like this:

XX% (generally 80%) of [some form of data] has a location/gis/geospatial/spatial component.

Every couple of months, someone asks me for the origin of this stat and I’m generally not able to provide it. Just yesterday Tyler Mitchell asked on Twitter:

If you search for the phrase in Google, you’ll find it referenced by Esri, Microsoft, and just about anyone else who wants to feel better about their lifestyle choice. The bottom line is though there is ZERO real analysis to this stat and was probably created over beers.

Now it could be that the stat is true. I’m horrible at darts, but sometimes I do get a bullseye so maybe we all nailed it with this one. But until someone can actually back this stat up with real facts, I’m calling bullshit and you should too. Stop throwing it into your PowerPoint slide decks and executive summaries.

The Dude

The Dude wishes you’d stop using this quote.

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