We created BuildingFootprintUSA™ – the company and the product – because we envisioned a Location Intelligence dataset that provides the highest accuracy solution for locating, analyzing and visualizing information. A lot has happened since our first product release. Most importantly, we now understand how building-centric analysis provides you with a more accurate solution over existing data AND how it can solve your intractable or hard business problems.
Building footprint data is more than a new product, building footprint data is an entirely new product category that will change how you execute Location Intelligence within your business.
Our team has over 100 years of experience designing, building, supporting and selling Location Intelligence data solutions. Every day, we’re on the phone with businesses across North America telling our story; explaining what building footprint data is, the value of BuildingFootprintUSA™ data, and how we do what we do.
To make our story easy to understand, here are answers to the top 5 questions that we get.
How can I use building footprint data?
As far as we can tell, you can use building footprint data for just about everything Geospatial. We built our first product for the Location Based Marketing (Mobile AdTech) industry and on day one we had our first sale to a major LBM company. And then an Insurance company came along – “can we use your data to better identify risk due to flood hazard?” A Telco company then asked – “if you had Z/elevation information on your buildings, we could use your data for wireless network planning – can you do that?”
The great thing about being a data company is just when you think the uses of your data are A, B and C, someone comes along and asks if your data can be used for X, Y, and Z. Our answer always is “Let’s find out together!”
We ask people to do this test. Think about the data on which you are basing your critical business decisions – usually parcel data, address point data or some other data that approximates location – does this data let you
locate addresses as accurately as possible?perform spatial analysis with little to no margin of error due to approximation?visualize information in ways that are compelling to you and your audience?
Then we ask people to think about their business and business problems, and imagine having a building polygon, with address information, joined to a wealth of other data (consumer data, business data, real property data, building height and physical characteristics, and more). Would this help solve your problem more accurately? Would this help solve a previously intractable problem?
How do you create your data?
Having great data only in urban cores, or only great data for schools or shopping malls is not good enough given the breadth of problems our users want to solve. Our goal is to create a quality, affordable, nationwide product, with every building in the USA as quickly as possible. And we want our data to solve business problems in every industry – period. To accomplish this goal, we have developed a model – Collect, Buy, Partner, Build.
We Collect data from open data sources, we Buy data from fee-based commercial or government sources, we create Partner relationships with like-minded businesses that have existing coverage, and we Build data where it does not exist.
With this model we are placing four bets on the table. Each method gives us access to great data that we can put into our nationwide coverage. For example, when we collect data from an open data source it invariably is better than any data that we could produce; a GIS professional has put his or her energy into creating the best data possible.
Can you tell me more about how and why you “Build” data?
The biggest challenge with creating a nationwide building footprint product is that, from our experience, nearly 40% of the nation by population does not have building footprint data. Somehow, we must close that gap.
We have spent nearly two years creating an automated factory that takes in hundreds of terabytes of raw data, and outputs building footprint data. This is the most complex automated data processing system that we have ever invented. We quickly put some polish on the data (e.g. no automated system is every going to do a perfect job constructing a building footprint for a baseball stadium) and then move on to the next county.
There are some neat things about our “Build” system. As we create a building footprint polygon, we can create height and elevation characteristics for the building; we are finding these characteristics are valued across many industries. In addition, we will always monitor local sources of data; we may find down the road that a county GIS department has constructed better building footprint data than we have and we will swap that in.
What else do you do besides aggregate data?
With over 700 sources of data and counting, we want to insure that the product that you receive and use feels like one homogeneous dataset. We put all data through a system that standardizes and cleans the data. Along the way we have a high quality bar and we do not use data where it does not meet our quality, currency and accuracy standards.
We merge our building footprint data with address information. We developed a system that evaluates all available address information for an area – a county or a city – and then does the best job possible of matching up primary addresses, secondary addresses and secondary units with building footprints.
What other technologies and data can I use your data with?
As an Esri Partner we insure that our data works across all Esri products – ArcGIS, ArcMap, Address Locator, 3D Analyst and more. In addition, you can use our data across virtually any Location Intelligence and GIS technology:
Any workstation-based GIS or mapping package, commercial or open sourceAny web-based GIS, mapping, spatial BI or geoanalytics solution, commercial or open sourceAny extensible geocoding technologyAny spatial database, commercial and open source
BuildingFootprintUSA™ data also aligns and can be used in conjunction with any commercial and free/open source street and feature datasets.
Start a conversation with us to talk about the power and accuracy of a building-centric world. Have thoughts on innovative uses for building footprint data? Let’s talk and find out together if we can create something groundbreaking – firstname.lastname@example.org.
BuildingFootprintUSA™ is leading innovation in the location intelligence building footprint product category. We continuously expand and improve our database of nationwide addressed buildings, and provide the ability to link buildings with other key information – physical characteristics, real property data, demographic data, list data and more. Our data model allows you to use buildings – where people shop, play, work and live – as the anchor for any business problem that requires locating, analyzing and visualizing critical information.
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