Where to Buy Location Data: Best Providers for the Top 9 Types

Location data has become increasingly vital as businesses and consumers seek geographical context to make more informed data-driven decisions. In today's world, location data is readily available, but looking at the appropriate place and format is what makes the difference. That is why understanding where and how to buy location data is essential.

Geospatial data encompasses a broad range of factors, including data accuracy, depth, and area coverage, all of which can influence the overall quality, credibility, and cost of the project. Businesses should be aware that the quality and standards of the data vary depending on the geospatial data provider. To accomplish a project, some organizations require the use of multiple datasets that complement one another. As a result, they must understand how to buy location data that is both trustworthy and relevant to the task at hand.

This article highlights the top types of location data, and where to buy it based on the type of data you need:

  • Points of interest (POI)
  • Property
  • Mobility
  • Demographic
  • Address
  • Boundary
  • Environmental
  • Street
  • Imagery

Check out the type of data you’re looking for, and learn about the best place to acquire it based on your needs and what you’re using it for.

If you need to learn about the top 9 types of location data in more detail, check out our detailed guide on Geospatial Data Types and How You Can Use Them.

Top 9 Types & Where to Buy Location Data Based On Your Needs

If you’re looking to purchase location data for your business, it’s best to first figure out what kind you need and then find a reliable place to get it.

We’ve done a bit of the legwork for you here by giving you a brief overview of 9 major types of location data, along with some of the most common use cases for each of them. We’ve also included a brief description of one of the leading providers of each data type to help you start your search.

1. Points of interest (POI) data

SafeGraph’s Core points of interest dataset for Michigan and the surrounding area

Points of interest data gives information on most types of buildings, properties, and landmarks. These can include shops, arenas/stadiums, restaurants, monuments, and other interesting natural phenomena (such as Uluru / Ayers Rock in Australia or the London Eye in England). Generally, POIs do not include places where individuals live, like homes or apartment units. Each POI dataset and provider is different, so definitions and inclusions vary.

Primary use cases of POI data: 

  • Mapping projects to see where things are on Earth
  • Real estate business opportunity analysis
  • Market condition assessment for retailers and CPG brands
  • Financial analysis (opening & closing of businesses across trade areas)
  • Healthcare planning based on locations of existing facilities

Best place to buy points of interest (POI) data: SafeGraph

At SafeGraph, we carefully curate our POI data to represent the source of truth for physical places. Our enhanced ML algorithm ensures data reliability and accuracy without jeopardizing privacy standards. It also offers a wide range of data services in several forms, which significantly influences corporate profitability, industry, and the general public.

2. Property data

A building’s footprint as an example of property data

Property data shows the boundaries of individual buildings or parcels of land. The most valuable property data includes spatial hierarchy metadata, i.e. multiple units within the same property (apartments, mall stores, offices, etc.).

Primary use cases of property data: 

  • Mapping – more accurate than POI data for showing what places actually look like
  • Visit attribution – did a person enter a building or just walk by it?
  • Insurance – assessing building risk factors 

Best place to buy property data: SafeGraph

SafeGraph also has property data in the form of its Geometry dataset. This data provides building footprints and spatial hierarchy metadata for millions of points of interest in the US, UK, and Canada. This helps to determine the size, area, and boundaries of places, as well as their location-based relationships to each other.

3. Mobility data

Hourly and daily foot traffic data for the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City

Mobility data represents anonymized counts of people visiting a point of interest or a neighborhood (i.e. census block group, or CBG). It can often show not only how many people visit, but also when they visit, how long they stay, where they come from, and where else they go.

Primary use cases of mobility data: 

  • Store and advertisement placements for businesses
  • Writing general liability insurance policies based on a POI’s (seasonal) visit count
  • Urban planning for transportation routes, housing, etc.

Best place to buy mobility data: Veraset

Veraset has mobility data which provides monthly anonymized information about visitors to many.

4. Demographic data

Median age demographics data for a portion of the eastern United States

Demographic data counts people in a geographic area and sorts them based on various attributes: age range, gender, marital status, employment status, and more.

Primary use cases of demographic data: 

Best place to get demographic data: US Census Bureau (via SafeGraph)

Cost: Free

A lot of demographic data is publicly and freely available through government agencies, such as the US Census Bureau. However, it isn’t always easily accessible or cleanly formatted for the kinds of analyses it’s used for. That’s why SafeGraph offers a bulk download of US census data with over 7500 attributes, organized by (and paired with geometry from) census block groups. This makes it easier to put to work right away, or combine with other data sets.

5. Address data

A row of residential buildings

Address data provides specific information, through coordinate pairings, street address attributes, or both on where a location is on Earth. Addresses form the basis of geocoding and reverse geocoding processes, and can be enriched with other geospatial data to further understand what is happening at a specific place.

Primary use cases of address data: 

  • Mapping and visualizing where places are located on Earth
  • Representation of residential buildings (in contrast to POI data)
  • Geocoding and reverse geocoding (street addresses ↔ coordinates)
  • Giving context to other geospatial data types (e.g. weather, streets, jurisdictions)

Best place to buy Address data: Infutor

Cost: 0.5¢ per record

Infutor is a leader in consumer identity management and resolution. Its National Spatial Reference File, is the largest and most comprehensive database of addresses and geographic coordinates in the US.

6. Boundary data

A map detailing the boundaries of US states and their respective counties
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Boundaries denote borders between geographic areas large enough to contain multiple POIs, properties, or addresses. Examples can include countries, states/provinces/regions, or catchment areas for certain services (such as school districts or emergency services).

Primary use cases of boundary data: 

  • Political and other organizational separations in mapping
  • Urban planning to ensure schools and other public services cover sufficient areas
  • Business or real estate planning based on jurisdictional rules or other attributes

Best place to buy Boundaries data: CARTO

Cost: Varies according to needs; contact their sales team for a demo

CARTO is the leading cloud-native location intelligence platform. It has nearly 10,000 sets of geospatial data, including over 600 on geographical boundaries.

7. Environmental data

Environmental map of active hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons off the eastern coast of Asia
Image source: Esri ArcGIS

Environmental data covers natural phenomena. These include weather and temperature patterns, land elevation, seismic activity, tides, and plant/animal habitats or migratory patterns.

Primary use cases of environmental data: 

  • Environmentalism and natural conservation efforts
  • Crisis and disruption response for businesses
  • Insurance – assessing risk based on likelihood of (and vulnerability to) natural disasters

Best place to buy environmental data: ClimateCheck

Cost: 5¢ per record

ClimateCheck combines data from over 25 international models on climate change to gauge the risk of climate-related damage to US properties over the next 3 decades. Its Climate Risk Snapshot dataset assesses over 140 million US properties for how vulnerable they are to natural disasters like heat waves, droughts, floods, fires, and severe storms. This makes it valuable for insurers, real estate agents, and others.

8. Streets data

Map of road systems in Cheshire county, United Kingdom
Image source: Ordnance Survey Data Hub

Streets data gives information about transportation networks – most often roads for cars and other land-borne vehicles. That can include traffic and other obstructions.

Primary use cases of streets data:

  • Gives context to address data in mapping (i.e. how to get from one place to another)
  • Route planning functions in GIS software
  • Planning detours if routes are obstructed or blocked off

Best place to buy streets data: Mapbox

Cost: Annual subscriptions that vary based on the geographic region(s) covered

Mapbox Traffic Data is powered by machine learning algorithms, processing inputs from over 600 million active monthly users (across over 45,000 mobile applications) and constantly testing them against observed moving vehicles. Processing over 1 million trips and 300 million miles daily, Mapbox is able to deliver constantly-updating streets data for over 30 billion road segments around the world, checked against over 400 billion live location updates each month. Plus their data works with multiple platforms, such as OpenStreetMap, HERE, or TomTom.

9. Imagery data

Aerial imagery of the Maryland State House
Image source: United States Geological Survey

Geospatial imagery data shows what places in the world physically look like. It helps to give concrete visual reference to more abstract types of location data.

Primary use cases of Imagery data:

  • Gives context to other types of geospatial data in mapping (i.e. a basemap)
  • Moment-by-moment updates on Earth’s status for environmentalists/conservationists

Best place to buy imagery data: Esri

Cost: Annual subscriptions that vary based on accuracy and quantity of data purchased

Positioning themselves as the company that deals in “the science of where”, Esri has partnered with many leading location data providers to offer many different types of geospatial data. Their “Places Data” features land parcels and building footprints that can provide insights into property ownership, municipal zoning, and more. Esri also makes the popular geographic information system software ArcGIS.

That’s a quick rundown of the key types of location data and some of the best places to find each of them. Of course, you can start right here at SafeGraph: we have POI and property data.


Learn more about the top types of location data