Introducing Perimeter Ground Elevation

Perimeter Ground Elevation

Comprehensive elevation data for every building enables deeper understanding of potential risks from flooding and storm surge.

Are you analyzing ground elevation-related risk? You may use ground elevation to find Individual location exposure or to create risk accumulation models. You’re likely using ground elevation to understand susceptibility to water-borne catastrophe – floods, storm surge, hurricanes, or sea level increases resulting from climate change. 

Your risk analysis may drive decisions that are worth hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars. It requires reliable data. Do you have the most accurate information available? Does your data capture the ground elevation detail of all buildings?

At the BuildingFootprintUSA™ headquarters in Albany, New York we sit yards away from the largest mall in the region. It covers over 400,000 square feet and is “topographically interesting” — it certainly wasn’t built on flat ground. Assigning a single minimum, maximum, or average ground elevation to the building for the purpose of risk assessment could be statistically accurate, but lead to simplistic analysis. 

Enter Perimeter Ground Elevation from BuildingFootprintUSA™. We want you to be able to test every possible location on the exterior of the building to determine the elevation. We add an elevation value for every node or vertex around the perimeter of the building.  

Labeling a map with a small sample of the perimeter elevation points shows the variability in ground elevation around the building and the inadequacy of using a single elevation value for every building.

While our local mall is an extreme example, it is surprising to us how frequently buildings have significantly variable ground elevations. Detailed data on the perimeter ground elevation of buildings – single family homes, apartment complexes, retail centers, and industrial buildings – results in higher quality analysis and decisions.

With Perimeter Ground Elevation you can decide what and how to test. Test the entire extent of the building to determine the area or areas of highest risk; create your own risk accumulation model based on the percentage of a building’s perimeter below a certain level; identify the most susceptible areas for further analysis.

How are we creating Perimeter Ground Elevation? You can only create meaningful, high accuracy, node-by-node ground elevation using the highest accuracy digital elevation model (DEM) data. We believe we have curated and manufactured one of the most comprehensive and accurate DEM libraries available. From this library of DEM data we can derive node (or vertex) level Z for every building footprint where we have coverage.

As with all of our data, what is exciting for us is when someone comes to us with a use for our data that we had not previously imagined. Is high accuracy ground elevation important to you for your utility, pipeline, planning or real estate analysis? Do you think our data could give you an edge in coming to the best answers? Let’s find out together!  

Want to find out more about our data rich building footprint data for your Location Intelligence problem? Drop us an email at

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