Structure Footprints Provide Additional Location Accuracy

By Mark Taetz Insurance, Natural Hazard

You may be familiar with the quote, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Not having much of a plan may be acceptable in a fantasy adventure like “Alice in Wonderland,” but uncertainty in business has financial implications. For professionals, knowing the “where” is important. Where are the customers, markets, opportunities and risks? Many organizations depend on location-based decision-making and need accurate location information about where people live and where businesses operate. Structure footprint data content provides additional accuracy for granular location intelligence that lead to valuable insights.

Why Structure Footprint Data?

Today, an increasing number of organizations rely on maps and location analytics to enhance decision-making. As residential and commercial business location information accuracy increases, better understanding, decisions, and outcomes become possible. For organizations that require additional location accuracy and granularity, structure footprints are available nationwide as geospatial data content that includes the location and outline of relevant structures on parcels,  known addresses and sub-addresses, unique structure identifications, and detailed property and building characteristics (e.g., square footage, land use, number of stories, year built, natural hazard risk scores).

Superior Accuracy

Highly accurate and consistent structure footprints can become an excellent geospatial data source to significantly improve geocoding accuracy. Geocoding converts a physical address to a geographic location and is a part of numerous business workflows. Specific business needs and use cases may require high-precision geocoded locations to support high-resolution location analytics. Structure footprints provide the most granular level of location accuracy – more accurate than parcel-level geocoding and far more accurate than street-level geocoding.  This superior accuracy, illustrated in Figure 1, leads to valuable insights, informed decision-making and better outcomes.

Location Accuracy Matters

The powerful granular location intelligence enabled by parcel boundaries is taken to the next level of granularity with structure footprint geospatial data content. This additional level of granularity provides even greater insights to a vast array of industries including; finance, insurance, emergency management, utilities, telecom and energy. Use cases include risk assessment, emergency response, regulatory compliance, planning and engineering, and market analysis and target marketing.

Assessing Risk

When assessing risk, spatial accuracy and granularity matters, which is why high precision geospatial structure footprint data content is beneficial. This is obvious when assessing flood risk, a high gradient hazard risk, where risks can significantly change over short distances. Risk modeling uncertainty decreases as risk location accuracy increases, so flood risk screening and assessment should use risk locations that are as spatially accurate as possible. High-resolution location analytics based on high-precision structure footprint level geocoding provides more accurate hazard risk scoring than analytics based on other levels of geocoding as illustrated in Figure 2. The red shaded area represents high flood risk whereas the yellow shaded area is medium risk and green shaded area is low risk.

High-precision Geocoding Provides More Accurate Hazard Risk Scoring

In summary, structure footprints can help a wide range of organizations better understand the “where” by providing additional location intelligence granularity that lead to valuable insights such as actual risk as it relates to a structure. When mortgage lending and insurance underwriting organizations help people with finding, acquiring, and protecting homes and businesses, properly assessing risk is fundamentally important to the lending and underwriting processes. Consequently, identifying actual risk markedly contributes to more accurately determining policy coverage and costs, optimizing portfolios, and eliminating top drivers of risk and losses.  

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