The Loveland Blog

Re-Post - Nationwide Parcel Data: From Cold, Metal Chains, to the Spatial Foundation of American Society, to your Database.

By Sahana Murthy on March 26, 2020 · Democratizing Data

Reposted from Jerry Paffendorf's guest blog on makepath.com 

https://makepath.com/parcel-data-landgrid/

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Note about the author of this guest post: Jerry Paffendorf is co-founder and CEO of Loveland Technologies, makers of landgrid.com. Landgrid and makepath partner together on special projects.

“In the mid-19th century, when the cold tongue of land that is the Michigan peninsula was first being sliced up for development, the surveyors began to discover problems with their measurements, particularly during the winter. The lengths of metal chain they doggedly carried and laid out like giant rulers across the forests and swamps would shrink when the temperature dropped below zero.

“The resulting inconsistencies would only add up to a few inches a day, but over the vast distances of midwestern America the shrinking chains threatened to cause future disputes between landowners. Until a conscientious surveyor called William Burt came up with a solution: every frosty morning, he built a fire and warmed up his chain until it expanded back to exactly its original length.

“Such diligence, respect for figures, and slightly bloody-minded defiance of the elements is a very American combination. So to try to understand the country by describing how it was first surveyed and divided up, as this book does, is likely to be a fruitful enterprise.”

From a book review of Andro Linklater’s book, Measuring America, published by The Guardian

My company specializes in providing nationwide parcel data: the legal boundaries of properties along with addresses and information like ownership, land use, occupancy, buildings, and other data points that can be attached to parcels. It’s been a consuming pursuit as property boundaries underlie everything and form a natural ice cube tray for other data.

Parcels look like this, seen here with building footprints overlaid:

We are based in Detroit, Michigan and originally got into parcel data to help address challenges in the city. At its peak population in 1950, Detroit had about 2 million people and was America’s fourth largest city. Today it has about one-third of that, making its ratio of people to properties much different than the mid-20th century, with all of the attendant stresses to the tax base, maintenance, services, and occupancy you can imagine.

During Detroit’s bankruptcy in 2013 we were hired to assess the current land use, occupancy, and conditions of every single parcel of land in the city for a project called Motor City Mapping. The interactive map, photos, and dataset are archived at motorcitymapping.org.

For that project, 200 Detroiters used our software and mobile app to photograph and describe each property. In the process they identified more than 50,000 vacant buildings and tens of thousands of occupied homes that were at imminent risk of tax foreclosure, among other pressing challenges and opportunities in the landscape.

The data was combined with other datasets and kicked off a wave of innovative data and mapping projects in the city, and provided some much needed insight into the landgrid.

We wanted to be able to do something like that anywhere in the country, which meant we needed nationwide parcel data. Not having any other way to attain it, we set about collecting it from every single county ourselves.

That really sent us down the rabbit hole and got me reading about the history of how and why these parcels came to be in the first place. If you’re looking to read some fascinating history that you may not know much about — I certainly didn’t — do yourself a favor and google the US Public Land Survey or pick up Andro Linklater’s book, Measuring America: How the United States Was Shaped By the Greatest Land Sale in History.

(Image Credit - https://www.sfei.org/it/gis/map-interpretation/projections-and-survey-systems#sthash.96FRkw4y.dpbs)

Long story short, at Thomas Jefferson’s urging, and to create a spatial framework for a new nation of citizen farmers, starting in 1790 most of America outside the south and the original colonies was measured out and subdivided into square mile sections by people dragging metal chains through the woods, across rivers, over mountains, you name it. Every six by six squares was called a township. Townships snapped into counties, and counties snapped into states. The land was typically auctioned and then further subdivided over the years, decades, and centuries into the residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, recreational, and wild parcels we know today.

You can stare at maps and see the straight lines of many states and counties, but it’s easy to overlook that they represent a nested fractal leading down parcels, which are the atomic unit of owned and managed space in society. Within that landgrid are so many accidents and arbitrary happenings that it makes you wonder how we might one day redraw it or return parts of it to nature. (PS if you like pictures like the one from Wikipedia above, check out the Instagram account, thejeffersongrid, which focuses on big square parcels.)

Our dataset currently consists of 144+ million parcels covering 95% of US residents. You can see a coverage map here, and you can see details about the data by clicking through to any county. Sometimes when the work is hard I think about that person warming their chain in a fire before dragging it through the woods another day, and it feels a little less hard to wrangle digital files with a LaCroix next to my keyboard.

We make the parcel data available for other people to use in their own research, apps, projects, and databases. Every day I wake up with a kaleidoscope of customers and partners and curious people in my inbox who span real estate, energy, insurance, agriculture, forestry, marketing, transportation, outdoor recreation, government, planning, and other industries that touch property, land, housing, and spatial analysis.

Sometimes people want to use the data for geocoding other datasets to a map. Sometimes they need to know who owns things. Sometimes they need to tell open land apart from land with buildings, or they need to identify occupied or vacant properties. Sometimes they need to do door-to-door outreach. Sometimes they use the data for business and sometimes for the joy of discovery.

Moving into the future, we’re really excited about the opportunities for combining parcel data with Machine Learning and aerial imagery. With the parcel boundaries as the picture frames, there are many new data fields and insights that will come from training software to identify the features within a parcel and turn that into structured data to give even greater insight into the grid and how we inhabit it. 

All of this is what makes the work we do so exciting, and it’s why we value partnerships with data scientists like makepath who can take a massive, fundamental dataset like this and make new knowledge from it. 

If we can assist you with parcel data, or if you just want to rap about how crazy the history is and what the future of parcels could look like, please reach out to me at jerry@landgrid.com. And please be safe in these unprecedented times!

March 2020 - Landgrid Data Update

By Sahana Murthy on March 12, 2020 · Democratizing Data

Dear Friends of Loveland Parcel Data and landgrid.com,

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. 
https://landgrid.com/store

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:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1q0PZB72nO8935EMGmsh3864VjEAMUE-pdHcPkoAiS5c/

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 landrid.com 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:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/14RcBKyiEGa7q-SR0rFnDHVcovb9uegPJ3sfb3WlNPc0/

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

blake@landgrid.com

Loveland Data Team

313-649-LAND

 

Parcel Data Update - Feb 2020

By Sahana Murthy on February 15, 2020 · Democratizing Data

Dear Friends of Loveland Parcel Data and landgrid.com,

A summary of updates in January of 2020 and the upcoming pipeline is below:

Parcel Age Stats:

  1. Total Age:  Reduced by 8.6% in age from last month, improved by 58% from this time last year
  2. Average Parcel Age: 285,  reduced by 15.4% from 337 last month, improved by 60% from this time last year
  3. Average County Age: 381, reduced by 13.6% from 441 last month, improved by 55% from this time last year

USPS Vacancy, Residential indicators, and Situs address normalization - Updated in January 2020, and we have exported the full dataset to reflect those updates.

GeoDB File Format Deprecated - We plan to offer GeoDB files for the foreseeable future. However, we encourage people to test and switch to the GeoPackage (.gpkg.zip) files as they offer all the advantages of GeoDB, but in a better supported format. See below. We are planning on retiring the GeoDB format eventually.

GeoPackage Format - GeoPackage or GeoPKG, (.gpkg) files support geospatial data very well, with none of the limitations of shapefiles, and are faster to work with than geojsons. They are well supported by Esri tools and open source tools alike. They offer all the advantages of GeoDB files, but are better supported across the GIS tool landscape. As we sunset the GeoDB format this will be the format we suggest folks use unless a specific use case suggests another format would be better for them. (ND)GeoJSON, sql, csv, and shapefile formats will all continue to be options.

Coverage Report - Updated for this month and available here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1q0PZB72nO8935EMGmsh3864VjEAMUE-pdHcPkoAiS5c/

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 landrid.com 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:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/14RcBKyiEGa7q-SR0rFnDHVcovb9uegPJ3sfb3WlNPc0/

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 January and live now:
--------------------------------------------------
Alaska - Anchorage, Dillingham Census Area, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Haines Borough, Juneau, Kenai Peninsula Borough, Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Kodiak Island Borough, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Nome Census Area, North Slope Borough, Sitka, Skagway, Wrangell, Yakutat

Arkansas - Yell

Colorado - Phillips

Georgia - Atkinson, Berrien, Bryan, Burke, Carroll, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Coffee, Columbia, Cook, Coweta, Crisp, DeKalb, Dougherty, Echols, Effingham, Floyd, Forsyth, Habersham, Hall, Jackson, Liberty, Lowndes, Macon, McIntosh, Monroe, Newton, Tift, Turner, Union


Iowa - Dallas, Pottawattamie

Indiana - Adams, Bartholomew, Benton, Blackford, Boone, Brown, Carroll, Cass, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Daviess, DeKalb, Dearborn, Decatur, Dubois, Fayette, Floyd, Fountain, Franklin, Fulton, Gibson, Grant, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Hendricks, Henry, Howard, Huntington, Jackson, Jasper, Jay, Jefferson, Jennings, Johnson, Knox, Kosciusko, LaGrange, LaPorte, Lawrence, Marshall, Martin, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Newton, Noble, Ohio, Orange, Owen, Parke, Perry, Pike, Posey, Pulaski, Putnam, Randolph, Ripley, Rush, Scott, Shelby, Spencer, Starke, Steuben, Sullivan, Switzerland, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Union, Vermillion, Vigo, Wabash, Warren, Warrick, Washington, Wayne, Wells, White, Whitley

Kentucky - Boone, Boyle, Campbell, Clark, Daviess, Fayette, Franklin, Hardin, Henderson, Hopkins, Jefferson, Jessamine, Kenton, Madison, McCracken, Pendleton, Scott, Shelby, Simpson, Warren, Webster

Michigan - Allegan, Arenac, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Dickinson, Eaton, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Ionia, Iron, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kalkaska, Kent, Lapeer, Leelanau, Luce, Macomb, Manistee, Marquette, Mecosta, Menominee, Midland, Monroe, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola, Oscoda, Otsego, Ottawa, Presque Isle, Roscommon, Saginaw, Shiawassee, Tuscola, Van Buren, Washtenaw

Missouri - St. Charles

Mississippi - Hinds

Oregon - Baker, Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Crook, Curry, Deschutes, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Hood River, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Malheur, Marion, Morrow, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington, Wheeler, Yamhill

Wisconsin - Milwaukee

In the current pipeline for updating in February 2020
--------------------------------------------------
Missouri - Statewide
Washington - Statewide

In the pipeline for updating in March 

--------------------------------------------------
Nebraska - Partial statewide update

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!

 

 

Ohio Counties - Vacancy Data

By Sahana Murthy on September 18, 2019 · Democratizing Data

Ever wondered how many properties in your OH county are vacant and/or are residential & vacant? 

Here's a quick snapshot of the top OH counties & its vacancy data:

 

Download the full spreadsheet of this vacancy data here.