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BuildingFootprintUSA™ Webinar FAQ

We received many great questions from our February 13th webinar. We’re sharing out a compilation of the questions that were asked, along with our answers. As always, if you want to go into more detail on any question please feel free to reach out to us at sales@buildingfootprintusa.com.

When you create your own footprints, is that done mostly utilizing heads-up digitizing or is any of it done extracting features from rasters? Did you acquire the building footprints using automated feature extraction (machine learning)? Do you provide training on machine learning?

We describe our model as Collect, Buy, Partner, and Build which gives us many methods to add to our coverage. For "Build" we focus on using programmatic methods to create buildings from input data. The main reason for this is affordability – if we were massively heads-up digitizing 10s of millions of buildings it would create an unaffordable product. Our heads-up digitizing work is limited and targeted. To the last question, unfortunately our processes are proprietary and we do not share them

Do you have a method of return for local governments that have already created the data and may be willing to share?

We have created numerous creative partnerships with local governments for data exchange. The arrangements, broadly, are in line with what you are suggesting – an arrangement to share back data to receive permission to include a local government’s data in our products. Please reach out to us to explore further

You mentioned a Canadian product, does it cover all cities in Canada (rural and urban) or is it limited to dense urban areas? What is the coverage for Canada?

Our goal in Canada, as in the USA, is to cover as much of the country as we can. This will include urban, suburban and rural areas. In our current release the bias in coverage is on urban and suburban areas. Please contact us at any point and we can provide more detail on our Canadian coverage and roadmap. In Canada we have coverage of approximately 50% of the nation’s population with over 4 million building footprints. Our goal is 70% of the population covered by the end of 2018.

How many buildings do you currently have nationwide in the USA?

In the United States we use the metric "Percentage of population covered" to describe our coverage and no longer advertise the number of buildings in our coverage. We currently have over 50% of the population covered with a goal of 75% by the end of 2018. That being said, we can tell you that when we were last advertising our coverage in terms of building counts in early 2017 we had over 60 million building polygons.

How many buildings are there in the US and how many are in your dataset?

We believe that the universe of buildings in the United States is around 150 million, however this number will vary based on what you consider a building and which buildings get turned into digital form.

Is there a map of your coverage area on your website?

We do not have an online coverage map at this time. We would be happy to answer specific questions about our coverage if you contact us.

Is this building footprint coverage mainly in urban or rural areas? Does it cover every building?

If we look at all of the users of our data, we have users that care about every category of building and every geography. Our intentions are to create coverage for all areas (urban to rural) covering every state. We do not expedite creation of any type of building (e.g. shopping malls, or schools).

Any international coverage?

At this time our coverage and buildout is focused on the United States and Canada. We are receiving many requests for other counties; stay tuned for more information in the second half of 2018.

Who are your main customers?

We initially built our products focusing on a single industry – Location Based Marketing – and we found our products could solve problems across every industry that has geospatial business problems. Telecom (mobile, landline, cable), Insurance, Utility, Energy, Real Estate, and more. All of these industries have business problems that benefit from the increased accuracy of our data.

Can we also locate entry and exit of the parcel or building?

We are not focusing on this attribute in our data model at this time.

Is your data comparable to say a Sanborn type of data? Do you provide actual building characteristics such as square footage?

We deliver some physical characteristics as optional add-ons – building height and ground elevation. In addition, we can connect our data to Assessor or Real Property data given a parcel correspondence file. Through that file we can tell you the N parcel IDs or APNs associated with each building. That lets any of our users connect building data to an Assessor dataset that they already have or that we can help them acquire.

How do you provide the data to client: Web service, physical dataset copy (*.gdb,…)?

We are a data company so right now we deliver our data in both Esri SHP and MapInfo .tab formats to our clients. In addition, we can work with clients on other format or integration needs that they may have – PostGIS, GDB, WKT, etc. At this time we do not distribute our data via a web services model; if this is of interest please let us know because we do have some options.

Do you have any information on Pricing? How is this data priced?

Please contact use for pricing information. The price of our data can vary based on the product, geography, and usage. We are constantly finding ways to make our data’s license align with how a user wants to consume it.

Is pricing based per building or per km2?

As mentioned in the previous question, we can create pricing based on any need or model if this scheme is of interest to you.

Do you offer preferential pricing for municipalities can provide you with LiDAR and CAMA attribution?

Absolutely. We regularly partner with local agencies and governments in creative ways to share information and data.

Can a municipality purchase data just for one city or town?

Yes, absolutely.

How do you update your datasets based on new construction and building demo? Frequency of updates?

We release updates of our product on a quarterly basis. We are constantly adding new coverage, updating address information, and freshening existing building coverage. Our processes help us to identify areas or gaps in our coverage that we then target for updating.

Can your data be used in commercially available third party analytical solutions?

We can answer this in two ways – firstly, we can structure a license agreement such that you could use BFUSA data alongside or within any other technology. Second, from a technical perspective you can get our data into any technology that allows import of data, or has an extensible data model – a commercial geocoder that lets you import address information, an analytical solution that permits you to import a SHP file as a layer for analysis, etc. Where possible we can assist with any of these consumption models.

Thanks and if we missed a question that was on your mind, email us at sales@buildingfootprintusa.com