The Loveland Blog

Page 4

New Tax Foreclosure Report: Looking Back At the 2017 Tax Auction

By Jerry Paffendorf on March 24, 2020 · Announcements

Jerry from the Loveland team here with a post about a new report written by Greg Markus with Detroit Action Commonwealth, made with the assistance of our software and analysis by our team, and supported by a grant from The Sociological Initiatives Foundation


See the report here: Looking Back at the 2017 Tax Foreclosure Auction: 2020 Report


Those of you who have followed our work over time know that our headquarters is in Detroit, MI and that the intense property and land-use challenges of Detroit are more than close to our hearts. Over the years we have been involved in many projects to improve our shared understanding of the city and to advocate for better outcomes for Detroiters, Detroit neighborhoods, and Detroit property. The research isn’t always pretty, because the challenges aren’t pretty.


Chief among these challenges is an incredibly encumbered and fragile Detroit property tax base combined with Michigan’s incredibly aggressive and punitive tax foreclosure law that seizes and auctions properties that owe as little as $1 from 3 years ago. This combination has led to approximately 150,000 Detroit properties being foreclosed and auctioned since 2002 (that’s more than ⅓ of properties in the city), including more than 50,000 occupied homes, with the majority of tax foreclosures occurring since Detroit’s bankruptcy in 2013, though programs and payment plans have been chipping away at the auction numbers in recent years. 


This tax foreclosure policy is a beast that has proven largely impenetrable to holistic review and systematic change, with dire consequences for the city’s landgrid, neighborhoods, and the people directly affected. While the law’s original intent was to quickly return abandoned property to productive re-use, over time it became a force for separating people from their homes at scale and distributing property ownership to distant buyers.


As you’ll see on the first page of the report, tax foreclosure has not been impervious to the coronavirus, and Wayne County has announced a moratorium on tax foreclosures in 2020, which was announced on the same day we were finalizing the report. 


We hope that while things are on pause that the findings of this report — which include a look at how many properties in the 2017 auction were occupied and are occupied now; how many were occupied by renters who were not responsible for taxes but faced uncertainty and eviction after the property was sold; how many out-of-town buyers purchased the properties; how the new owners are keeping up on the taxes, and the impact on current occupancy — contribute to giving policymakers pause and help lead to changes that turn this annual ritual from an exercise in self-harm to a more thoughtful and humane process that consciously achieves shared goals for a better, happier, healthier city.


If our team or our software can be helpful to you in doing similar kinds of property research, whatever the issue you are exploring may be, contact us at


Be healthy, be safe, everybody!

Nationwide LBCS - Zoning and Usecode Standardization

By Ray Visser on March 19, 2020 · How-To

While browsing Landgrid's data, you may have encountered fields like "lbcs_activity" and "lbcs_function", but their values are just 4-digit numbers. What exactly do those fields mean? Let's take a quick look!

The Land-Based Classification System (LBCS) is a method devised by the American Planning Institute to describe how the land of an individual parcel is used. It encodes land use across five dimensions (activity, function, structure, site, and ownership). These codes are 4-digit numbers, with the first digit denoting the broadest category, and each successive digit describing the parcel in more detail.

We focus primarily on the "lbcs_activity" and "lbcs_function" dimensions because they make the most sense at the parcel level. Activity describes the actual human activities that take place on the parcel, while function describes the broader economic or social use the parcel serves. For example, a parcel that is used as a parking lot for a school would have an "lbcs_activity" code of "5000" (for "Travel or movement activities"), but an "lbcs_function" code of "6000" (for "Education, public admin., health care, and institutional").


Most parcel data, however, does not use LBCS, and varies widely in how land use is classified (if that information is available at all). If there is any information pertaining to how a parcel is used, it usually takes the form of local zoning, land use, or tax assessors' codes. Because of this inconsistency, our LBCS classification work is done manually, county by county, matching each place's land use or zoning information to the nearest applicable LBCS code.


Currently, in Loveland's dataset of more than 144 million parcels, 54% of parcels have an LBCS code for function, and 45% of parcels have an LBCS code for activity. These percentages are increasing constantly as we add new places and fill in codes for existing ones. You can stay up to date on which places have LBCS data using the Landgrid coverage report.

We're working on implementing additional data fields to provide text description in addition to the LBCS codes. This will do away with the need to cross-reference the 4-digit codes in Landgrid's data with the APA website's master list of codes for each dimension. We hope to have these fields operational sometime in 2020.

The main reason we spend time implementing LBCS in our dataset is its universality. Local zoning, land use, or assessors' codes are still visible on parcels which have that data (usually in the "zoning", "zoning_description", "usecode", or "usedesc" fields, and sometimes in custom fields). But while there is variability from county to county what a zoning value of “101” or “R-1” is, an "lbcs_activity" value of "1000" always means "Residential activities".

This consistency means users of Landgrid's data and the mapping platform can perform queries to find trends across the dataset, or to count certain types of parcels. For instance, a regional business specializing in agricultural equipment could download the data for surrounding counties from the Landgrid data store, and query that data to find the number of parcels in each county with an "lbcs_activity" code in the range 8000-8999, for "natural resources-related activities".This could give a broad overview of places where agricultural activity is more prevalent and could help with focusing sales and marketing efforts where they are more likely to succeed.


Likewise, finding and mapping all the residential parcels in a city could help with understanding and tracking the spread of disease outbreaks like the current COVID-19 pandemic. If you are a local government or a fellow mapping and data company that could use parcel data to push forward your study, outreach efforts and research on COVID-19, or if you have questions about LBCS in general, please contact the Landgrid team at, or check out the parcel data FAQ.


Ray Visser

Team Loveland

Landgrid Participation in Coronavirus/COVID-19 Research

By Sahana Murthy on March 16, 2020 · Field Studies

As we're all aware, COVID-19 cases are on the rise. During these uncertain times, we all have to do our bit to contain the situation. 

As a fully remote & distributed team, each one of our Lovelandians is working safely from their homes. However, we want to help out more. 

We want to help & participate in the COVID research in any way possible. We have a nationwide, comprehensive dataset of 144 million parcels. While, parcel data may not be directly associated with medical research we do believe it can be useful for certain Coronavirus or census related research. 

We want to offer our data to help with that. If you are a local government or a fellow mapping & data company that could use parcel data to push forward your study, outreach efforts & research on COVID-19, please contact the Landgrid team at

Like I said, we all have to do our bit to help contain this situation - both at a personal & professional level.

Depending on the kind of analysis you are performing, our nationwide dataset of property shapes, addresses, ownership, buildings, and residential occupancy has immense utility in understanding populations and density at a much more granular level than a census tract or block.

If you are focusing on hyper local data for research, then please let us know. The Landgrid Data Store could be useful for local data assessments as well.


During this time of uncertainty, anxiety, and need, we’re all in on helping however we can.

Contact us at and we’ll figure out the best way to help you help others.

March 2020 - Landgrid Data Update

By Sahana Murthy on March 12, 2020 · Democratizing Data

Dear Friends of Loveland Parcel Data and,

A summary of updates in February of 2020 and the upcoming pipeline is below. 

March 2020 - Key Data Stats 

Total parcel age
 - improved by 9.3% from last month
Current average parcel age  - 257,    down from 285 last month 
Current average county age - 350,  down from 381 last month

The Landgrid Data Store - We launched the data store last week, to allow our customers to quickly buy county data on the go. Most of you have our nationwide & statewide data with updates. However, if some of you are interested in individual county data or a handful of counties, you can now just go straight to the data store and buy data by the county, hasslefree and without delays.

SPECIAL NOTE - USPS Vacancy, Residential indicators: Updated in January 2020.
We now include the CASS Error codes and additional CASS address notes for non validated addresses, as well as validated addresses. We also fixed a small bug in that process that was putting a single space place holder in the RDI and the Vacancy flag fields for non validated addresses. This has been replaced by a true NULL value now. The full dataset was re-exported to reflect those changes.

GeoDB File Format Deprecated: We still encourage you to out the GeoPackage or GeoPKG, (.gpkg) format if you can.

Coverage Report: Updated for this month and available here:

For all full dataset customers, the updated data is available for download to bulk data clients in these formats: GeoPKG .gpkg (suggested), GeoJSON, Shapefile, and Postgres SQL files.  In addition, this data has been updated on the website.

If your organization uses a custom export we are updating your data at the moment and if you don’t see the latest updates, please drop us a line.

A Data Dictionary for the Loveland Standard Schema is always available here:

A machine-readable version of this list is included in the `verse` table available in all the formats above as well as CSV format for use in spreadsheets. To find the latest updates in verse, sort by 'last_refresh' and use the 'filename_stem' column to identify the file.

Data updated or added from the county in February and live now:
Colorado (1 new) - Cheyenne

Georgia (12 new counties) - Bacon, Bartow, Bibb, Brooks, Bulloch, Camden, Charlton, Crawford, Dawson, Fannin, Glynn, Gordon, Haralson, Houston, Jeff Davis, Jones, Murray, Muscogee, Pierce, Polk, Putnam, Rockdale, Screven, Telfair, Troup, Washington, Wilcox, Wilkes

Idaho (3 new counties) - Ada, Adams, Bannock, Bear Lake, Benewah, Bingham, Blaine, Boise, Bonner, Bonneville, Boundary, Butte, Camas, Canyon, Caribou, Cassia, Clark, Clearwater, Custer, Elmore, Franklin, Fremont, Gem, Gooding, Idaho, Jefferson, Jerome, Kootenai, Latah, Lemhi, Lewis, Lincoln, Madison, Minidoka, Nez Perce, Oneida, Owyhee, Payette, Shoshone, Teton, Twin Falls, Valley, Washington

Illinois (counties refreshed) - Cook, Jersey, Piatt

Michigan (2 new counties) - Dickinson, Manistee

Missouri (17 new counties) - Andrew, Audrain, Barry, Benton, Bollinger, Boone, Buchanan, Butler, Callaway, Camden, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Christian, Clark, Clinton, Cooper, Crawford, Daviess, DeKalb, Dunklin, Gentry, Greene, Harrison, Hickory, Holt, Howard, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Lewis, Maries, McDonald, Mercer, Miller, Moniteau, Monroe, Morgan, New Madrid, Newton, Nodaway, Oregon, Ozark, Pemiscot, Perry, Randolph, Reynolds, Schuyler, Scotland, Scott, Shannon, Shelby, St. Clair, St. Francois, Sullivan, Taney, Texas, Vernon, Washington, Wayne, Wright

Nebraska (5 new counties) - Adams, Blaine, Boyd, Brown, Burt, Butler, Cass, Chase, Cherry, Cheyenne, Colfax, Custer, Dakota, Douglas, Dundy, Furnas, Gage, Garfield, Grant, Hall, Harlan, Hooker, Howard, Jefferson, Keya Paha, Knox, Lancaster, Lincoln, Logan, Loup, Madison, McPherson, Otoe, Perkins, Red Willow, Richardson, Rock, Saline, Sarpy, Sherman, Valley, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Wheeler

Oklahoma (new) - Caddo

Pennsylvania (new) - Fayette

Utah (1 new county) - Beaver, Box Elder, Cache, Carbon, Daggett, Davis, Duchesne, Emery, Garfield, Grand, Iron, Juab, Kane, Millard, Morgan, Piute, Rich, Salt Lake, San Juan, Sanpete, Sevier, Summit, Tooele, Uintah, Utah, Wasatch, Washington, Wayne, Weber

Tennessee (counties refreshed) - Shelby

Washington (2 new counties) - Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Clallam, Clark, Columbia, Cowlitz, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Okanogan, Pacific, Pend Oreille, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Spokane, Stevens, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, Whatcom, Whitman, Yakima

Wisconsin (county refreshed) - Milwaukee

In the current pipeline for updating in March 2020
Hawaii - Statewide
Michigan - Wayne
Mississippi - Statewide
Pennsylvania - Statewide
Rhode Island - Statewide
New Mexico - Statewide

In the pipeline for updating in April
Maryland - Statewide

Based on feedback and county challenges, pipeline planning is always subject to change. As always, please contact us if you have any questions about accessing or using the data, if you find issues with any of our data, or you have any comments or questions about our data in specific areas or states. We also love to hear from you about which counties or regions you’d like to see us update next, as it helps inform our planning process.

Thank you for being a part of Loveland!

Happy Mapping!


Blake Girardot

Loveland Data Team