Where? Very Important
Physical location determines many things
Where you are born determines a lot about what your future is going to be. This goes from the national level where different countries have different quality of life outcomes … and it happens at the very local level where there are differences between different neighborhoods.
Some places have a lot of natural advantages … others do not. This is a function of the place. Knowing where something is helps to identify some of the characteristics that are associated with the place.
TVM has location data associated with every other aspect of data. … and from this is is possible to make maps that show what is where … and conversely for a place, what is there. Typical national data has little meaning for making decisions … merely it serves to identify the outcome … on average … of decisions that were made. These national level data are inadequate for managing at the local level.
The location of things … the spatial element … is a very important in very many situations.
In reports about the lives of people in poor rural communities in developing countries, the distance women and girls have to walk to collect water and to collect firewood is usually a big item. This is actually very important … and is about the spatial situation in the community. Distance to water and distance to firewood are important facts. (See also the section on Time Series Analysis)
Safety … the fighting is in the “next valley”
I was working in an area affected by civil war, and traveling with a local colleague to visit a commercial farm in a remote rural location. I expressed concern about our safety … and was assured that the fighting was in the “next valley” and would not affect where we were going! It turned out my colleague was right … we traveled without incident! I learned that even something as nasty as civil war has an important spatial component. Even in a civil war, a civilian population still has to get on with its economic life as best it can!
Each place is different … but comparison of performance between different places can show what it is that is allowing one place to perform well and another not to perform at all well. Sometimes the difference is associated with geographical characteristics, sometimes they are societal factors.