DRCOG’s Open Data drives economic development

We had the opportunity to write an article for the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) newsletter about our use of DRCOG’s Open Data. We write these articles because it is important for us to always credit the hundreds of city, county, state and regional entities from whom we get data, and that are the foundation of our product. Data creators should understand how their data is being utilized, sometimes in ways that they don’t expect. We would not be able to create a truly great product if we are not leveraging foundational geospatial data created by thousands of experts across the USA.

Publicly produced data — made available to commercial, academic and nonprofit organizations for unrestricted use — can be used in beneficial ways that the original data producers couldn’t even imagine.

BuildingFootprintUSA™, based in Albany, New York, collects building footprint geospatial data from hundreds of sources nationwide and turns that data into a product. We license our products to industries as diverse as insurance, telecommunication, real estate, utility and mobile advertising.

For example, an insurance company can use building footprint-based address information to make more accurate determinations regarding whether a property is exposed to peril (such as hurricanes or floods). A telecom company might use the data to understand their existing cellular coverage and determine where it would be best to build a cell tower. A solar energy company can quickly identify the best rooftops for installations that meet its build-out criteria.

Open data makes it possible for us to collect the work of many and transform it into a product that supports national and local businesses. As a startup, it would be impossible for us to create such data ourselves. DRCOG data is an essential part of our nationwide product. As entrepreneurs who have become experts at determining the quality of public data, we assert that DRCOG data is in the top 10 percent of all data we have uncovered.

As we aggregate open data into our BuildingFootprintUSA™ products, DRCOG data is being used in innovative ways that benefit the residents of the region.

Below: A wireless telecom company placing rooftop infrastructure can visualize the infrastructure viewshed then perform complex radio frequency propagation analysis in downtown Denver.

Below: A real estate analytics company can use building footprint data and assessor data to visualize properties by use code (color) and valuation (height) in Arapahoe County.

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