Benefits of Building Footprints to Commercial Real Estate

By using building footprint data, you can enhance your analytics and gain deeper insight into richly attributed Commercial Real Estate properties. Improved visualization, as well as appraisals and underwriting assistance, are both significant advantages of using building footprint data.


The immediate impact of footprint data is visual. Property information that includes images of the building footprints facilitates an immediate understanding of the composite formation of any CRE property.

Consider the visual below of a corner lot property depicted using both the building footprint and a traditional pin icon. The footprint image has several advantages over the pin; 

  • the idiosyncrasies of the building’s exterior shape are immediately apparent
  • the building’s location within the parcel lot boundary is clear
  • the building’s proximity to the nearby roads is quickly conveyed
  • the relative size of the building in relation to the lot boundary is also apparent

Building Footprint versus Point representation of a building












When combined with parcel boundaries, appraisers and underwriters also benefit from the at-a-glance understanding that building footprints offer. Potential red flags, such as encroachment or redevelopment limitations due to zoning restrictions or lack of space, are more easily surfaced with footprint information.

Encroachment – #5 Race St extends into the parcel boundary of #3 Race St

Red flags such as these are important to CRE transactions as they can impact the current and future value of properties. Owners of buildings with encroachment issues potentially expose themselves to:

  • Additional downside financial risk
  • Potential liability if the encroaching structure poses any potential danger to any occupants of the primary building of the parcel 
  • Limitations on resale value of a property due to the additional downside risk it may pose


Learn more about how building footprints are a key element to your Commercial Real Estate Analysis here.

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LightBox acquires industry leader BuildingFootprintUSA™

IRVINE, CA – February 1, 2021 – LightBox, a leading provider of commercial real estate data and workflow solutions, announced the acquisition of BuildingFootprintUSA™, the premier provider of building and structure boundaries for location analytics. With this acquisition, LightBox will immediately make building footprints available to its customers.

Connecting BuildingFootprintUSA datasets to LightBox data will create the industry’s only fully integrated parcel, building structure, and property attribute datasets for comprehensive location intelligence across the commercial real estate, telecommunications, routing & logistics, and insurance markets, as well as the broader geospatial ecosystem.

“This acquisition demonstrates our ongoing commitment to innovation that serves the commercial real estate ecosystem. We’re looking to replace existing information silos with industry standard linked datasets. Our parcels and property data will now be integrated with rooftop-level geocodes, addresses, and boundaries,” said LightBox CEO, Eric Frank. “We strongly believe the future is one of connected datasets and we want to drive this change for the commercial real estate industry in the US and Canada.”

BuildingFootprintUSA was founded in 2016 in Albany, New York. The company serves customers of all size within commercial real estate, telecommunications, insurance, and mapping solutions with high-accuracy location data to facilitate accurate site selection, routing, spatial analysis and data visualization. Customers leverage building geometry, height, and ground elevation data to assist in determining potential flood risks, expanding broadband connectivity, policy planning for safety and security, and broader geospatial analytics.

“Joining LightBox gives us an exciting opportunity to grow and deliver our data and solutions to a broader segment of the commercial real estate market in the US and Canada,” said Karl Urich, founder and president of BuildingFootprintUSA. “By combining our datasets with those of LightBox, we will be able to offer the most accurate boundary, address, and geocoding dataset available.”

To learn more about how you can begin leveraging solutions that combine the best of BuildingFootprintUSA and LightBox today, please visit

LightBox is building the world’s leading real estate information and technology platform. LightBox customers comprise all types of enterprises needing authoritative real estate data and workflow solutions, including brokers, developers, investors, lenders, insurers, environmental consultants, corporations, technology companies, and valuation professionals. LightBox is backed by Silver Lake and Battery Ventures.

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At BFUSA LightBox, we develop next-generation geolocation data centered on the built environment — where people live, work, shop, and play. Our hyper-accurate building and address data helps customers make critical decisions that are highly dependent on location. Learn more about BFUSA.

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