Geospatial data can be a valuable tool for many use cases, including real estate site selection, city planning, retail marketing, insurance assessment, and even financial investing. But it’s difficult to collect the mass quantities necessary for meaningful insights on your own. It can be time-consuming and expensive, especially if you’re running other operations.
But it can also be difficult to know where to buy geospatial data from a reliable source. There are different types of geospatial data out there, and having inaccurate, incomplete, or the wrong type of data can do more harm than good. So you need to know what specifically you’re looking for and where you can get it correct, current, detailed, and easy to work with.
To help you out, we’ll give short explanations and list some reliable providers for the following data types:
Let’s look at some dependable places where you can buy geospatial data.
Point of interest (or POI) data gives important information about non-residential physical places. These can be things like businesses, government or public service buildings, monuments, and other landmarks. This type of data has many applications, including mapping, market research, and urban planning.
SafeGraph’s Places dataset features comprehensive information on over 11 million points of interest around the world. We update it every month to account for businesses opening, moving, or closing locations. The dataset also features a persistent address standard called Placekey to solve issues with differently-formatted addresses that refer to the same place.
CAP Locations specializes in data on restaurants, retail stores, and malls across the US and Canada. It has data on over 1.2 million individual businesses and over 42,000 shopping centers, including building footprint and spatial hierarchy property data.
Property data consists of details about a specific parcel of land or a building that sits on it. This can include ownership information such as how much it was last purchased for, the length of the current lease on it, and any other financing details. It can also include polygon-based representations of building footprints, sometimes with spatial hierarchy metadata (i.e. multiple units within the same building). It is mainly used for visit attribution (i.e. determining if someone entered a physical space) and for risk assessment in either insurance or finance.
BA45 provides over 85 attributes’ worth of information on over 125 million commercial and residential US properties. That includes information on land use, zoning, the number of buildings on the land parcel, and who owns the land or buildings.
First American’s data deals with the financial attributes of the entire US property market: assessed value, last sale price, mortgage information, lease terms, and more. That means it’s most useful for investors or insurers assessing the financial or physical risk associated with real estate transactions and home ownership.
To see how, watch our webinar featuring First American Data & Analytics on using third-party data to perform advanced types of property analysis.
Regrid’s property data covers over 150 million US land parcels, which accounts for about 99% of the country’s population. You can get data for the entire US, a particular state, or a specific county within a state. You can also choose options based on what data attributes you need.
Mobility data, in a geospatial sense, refers to anonymized movement patterns of people around points of interest over time. It provides a general picture of the flow of human traffic, as well as where people tend to congregate and stay for longer amounts of time. It has applications for real estate site selection, market research, insurance risk assessment, and transportation planning.
SafeGraph has two different mobility datasets. Our main one, Patterns, features foot traffic counts for points of interest throughout the US and Canada. Our Neighborhood Patterns dataset focuses more on footfall data for census block groups or dissemination areas across the US and Canada, respectively.
In addition to general POI-based footfall data for the UK, Locomizer offers brand affinity estimate data. This dataset, powered by machine learning, calculates the probability of people interacting with a particular brand (e.g. entering their store, buying their products, or paying for their services) versus other nearby brands in and around a point of interest.
Veraset has foot traffic data for points of interest in over 150 countries around the world. It also has a dataset that combines building footprint data for over 6 million commercial US properties with mobility data for the surrounding area. This makes retail visit attribution a snap.
Demographic data describes the people who live within a certain geographic area. That includes things like age, gender, income, and ethnicity. It’s most often used for businesses to research their clientele and make decisions accordingly.
The US Census Bureau provides publicly-available demographic data on Americans in various places across the country. But this data isn’t in a very workable format for companies to get many meaningful insights out of it. That’s why SafeGraph provides a bulk version formatted for more large-scale granular analysis.
Our webinar on how packaged goods manufacturers can combine census data and POI data to perform local market analysis demonstrates how useful this is.
Spatial.ai enriches demographics data with geotagged social media posts (i.e. posts where the location is provided) to create what it calls “geosocial profiles”. So it can tell you not just basic attributes of who lives in US census block groups, but also what their overall lifestyles are like. It has over 70 categories based on attributes like leisure, relationship status, diet, pastimes, and more.
Representatives from Spatial.ai sat down with us to discuss how geosocial profiles could be combined with human mobility data for more accurate retail market analysis.
Esri is one of the leading geospatial data companies in the world. Part of that is its best-in-class geographic information management tool, ArcGIS. It also partners with over 150 trusted data providers around the world, so you can get geospatial data of pretty much any kind from them. That includes demographics data for over 130 countries that can be organized and filtered by over 15,000 variables.
Check out this project we collaborated on with Esri regarding how long it takes Americans (including Puerto Ricans) to get to local grocery stores.
Address data covers navigation-oriented location designations for places. These can include geographic coordinates, postal addresses, or street addresses. This kind of information is usually used for administrative purposes, including verifying that a POI or residence actually exists at a given address. It’s also used for geocoding and reverse-geocoding, which means converting an administrative address to latitude and longitude or vice-versa.
Infutor’s main strength is its demographics data, enriched by anonymized property and shopping data, that covers over 260 million Americans. However, its National Spatial Reference File is also a great resource. It contains over 360 million points of address data – including geographic coordinates – to help find places in the US that official government records might miss.
The US Department of Transportation has a National Address Database featuring over 65 million confirmed street addresses in the US. The USDOT works on this project along with state, local, and tribal governments to enhance transportation safety, emergency response, mail delivery, and other administrative services.
Boundary data gives information about political borders and other geographic divisions that extend beyond a single property. These also include things like school catchment areas, city jurisdiction limits, and other regional separators. They’re commonly used in mapping, but can also be used for government planning, real estate brokering, and retail site selection.
The Trust for Public Land is an organization dedicated to preserving natural spaces for public use. As part of that mission, it provides data on the boundaries, property details, and surrounding demographics of public parks in over 14,000 US communities. This is useful for factoring green space into urban planning.
CARTO is similar to Esri in that it’s an all-in-one geospatial data company. Through partnerships with over 40 other data providers, it allows you to purchase geospatial data of many different kinds, including boundary data. CARTO also provides tools and services for analyzing this data, so you can understand why certain things happen where and when they do.
As an example, watch our webinar with CARTO on creating customer catchment areas for retail stores using foot traffic data.
Environmental data is about natural phenomena as they relate to specific places on Earth. These most commonly include temperature, weather, and climate trends. They can also be things like tides, seismic activity, land elevation, or habitats and migration patterns of non-human organisms. Environmental data is typically used by natural scientists in their research, but it can also be used by insurers to assess the risk of climate-related injury or property damage.
Tomorrow.io provides historical weather data for millions of locations around the world, meant to help all manner of organizations anticipate and act to mitigate the impacts of inclement weather. It also provides a software platform to make it easier to monitor this data, form action plans based on certain weather conditions, and communicate between teams for timely weather-related decision-making.
ClimateCheck uses over 25 internationally-recognized climate change models to analyze historical weather patterns in the US. Based on this, it can help insurers, real estate companies, and individuals assess the risk of climate and weather-related damage to over 140 million US homes.
Among its meteorological services, CustomWeather sells daily weather data collected from over 80,000 sources around the world. The data can also be arranged to provide monthly weather overviews, year-over-year comparisons of weather during a particular month, and more.
Streets data provides information on transportation networks. Most often, it covers roads for automobiles (along with attributes such as traffic volumes and potential obstacles). However, it can also include train tracks, bus routes, walking trails, and even air or sea routes. Its main use is for mapping and measuring an area’s accessibility, as well as planning how to get from one place to another.
Mapbox taps its over 600 million monthly active users worldwide to deliver some of the most accurate and up-to-date data regarding streets around the world. That includes both real-time data on traffic volume, as well as average traffic volume based on historical trends.
Imagery data refers to pictures that show what the physical world looks like. They are typically taken from airplanes or satellites, but can also be taken from cameras closer to the ground (e.g. “street view” cameras). They are often used to give visual context to other types of geospatial data, which has applications ranging from advertising to conservation efforts.
Bing is Microsoft’s web search engine. As part of its services, it provides a mapping platform that includes aerial imagery of most places on Earth. It also has street-level views of many places throughout the US, as well as some places in Canada and western Europe.
The data is out there – you just need to know the right places to get it from. Hopefully, this list makes your quest to get geospatial data that’s right for your organization a little easier. While you’re here, have a look at some samples to see what geospatial data can look like and what you might need.