MicroBuild On Location

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Capturing Change at a Micro-Geographic Level

MicroBuild Data for Location Intelligence

Make Better Decisions at a Micro-Geographic Level

Companies who offer Geospatial Location Intelligence (GLI) offerings are often challenged to help clients understand why sales forecasts aren’t being met and why the market area is not performing as expected – sometimes underperforming, sometimes overperforming. 

Because most companies rely on datasets derived from decennial U.S. Census estimates and projections, and the periodic American Consumer Survey (ACS) data, they are unable to recognize and react to rapid changes that are occurring in market areas across the U.S. This challenge is most pronounced when the market areas are “micro” geographic areas – Census Blocks, ZIP+4 segments, street segments.

Gadberry Group meets this challenge by using our extensive knowledge of data, application of geospatial data science and mapping software to demonstrate measurable facts of population changes across the U.S. When rapid population changes take place, Gadberry Group identifies and demonstrates change long before other U.S. Census-based data sets can reflect those changes.

Why the MicroBuild Methodology Works 

MicroBuild’s methodology is particularly valuable for micro study areas where rates of change are high or have occurred since the most recent Census, and therefore cannot be accurately captured using traditional methods of allocating data downward.

This means that MicroBuild can identify and describe areas of rapid change in micro-geographies – it is change-aware. The result offers greater levels of precision and geographic representations of residential population density and time-series change patterns (both growth and decline) than are currently available with alternative methodologies.

MicroBuild's methodology is built on Gadberry's 20+ year history of building great data products for Location Intelligence applications. 

Describe Change

Understanding Population Changes

  • Designed to specifically identify occupied, commercially viable US Households
  • 90%+ US Census

Data Assets

Integrated Data Sources

  • Assets integrated from data providers representing more than 110 unique sources covering all 50 States

Multi-Source, Multi-Layer Approach

Build the Data Right

  • Create a household baseline - using incredibly precise geocoding
  • Build household counts - algorithm to calculate data between data sources
  • Calculate population - using household counts, use Census data as well as consideration for Group Quarters population

Improve Over Time

Consistently Update and Improve

  • New data points added each year
  • Address weighted block centroids
  • Data build not influenced by the age of the decennial Census

MicroBuild On Location: Paradise, CA

As Paradise Rebuilds, MicroBuild Captures Change

With each MicroBuild update and release, Gadberry studies the most notable areas of change in population and household counts across the country - both increases and decreases - in order to provide insights both for our ongoing data builds and to help our clients improve their ability to use MicroBuild in their location intelligence-powered applications.

What we have consistently found is that Census and ACS data typically fall short in capturing rapid changes in population and household counts.

The recent Camp Fire in the communities around Paradise, California is a good example: 

The Camp Fire

In November 2018 the Camp Fire ravaged the communities around Paradise, California, killing 85 people and causing at least 250,000 people across the area to flee their homes. 

As the community rebuilds, keeping a close tab on the changes in population and household counts is important for many types of businesses serving this community. 

Gadberry Group's MicroBuild is the best source for seeing change – both increases and decreases – as it happens across the country. Ensuring that your data sources are “change aware” is the best way to keep your applications accurate and precise.

MicroBuild provides powerful data for your applications in Real Estate, Operations, Planning and Marketing.

Rebuilding Paradise - By the Numbers

Paradise and surrounding communities continue to make great strides in their rebuilding efforts.

Building permits continue to increase and a number of efforts and foundations have contributed to helping the area’s recovery.

source: makeitparadise.org 





Homes Rebuilt

Building Permit Applications Received

Businesses Opened

Tree Removal Applications

Impacts on Population and Household Counts

Rapid changes in household and population counts makes it very challenging for businesses to make informed decisions. As the maps & table below indicate, rapid change in the number of households in the Paradise area is unaccounted for in more traditional location intelligence data sources. 

Keeping your micro-level geographic data accurate and updated to correctly account for change across your full operations area, whether that is in one state or nationwide, is critical to serving your markets well. 

MicroBuild Household Density - Before and After the Camp Fire

Darker shaded areas indicate a higher level of household density; MicroBuild in its latest release clearly picks up the decrease in household density following the Camp Fire. 

2018 MicroBuild Household Densities

2019 MicroBuild Household Densities

ACS Household Density - Before and After the Camp Fire

As a dataset not built to capture rapid change, ACS does not show a dramatic change over time in Household density. 

The maps below indicate ACS does not show a dramatic change in Household density before and after the Camp Fire.

Because the ACS dataset is not updated as frequently as MicroBuild, changes that happen quickly may not be realized in ACS data. 

2017 ACS Household Densities

2018 ACS Household Densities

Note: 2019 data will not be available until late 2020


MicroBuild HH Counts

ACS 5-Year HH Estimates










*ACS 2019 data series will not be released until late 2020. 

What this Means for Location Intelligence Data Professionals

Day in and day out, research professionals struggle with obtaining, utilizing and trusting accurate, precise data down to a very micro-level (block groups) across the United States.

Traditional outside data sources typically rely on US Census & ACS data as their underlying data source. There are serious shortcomings with that data especially when compared to MicroBuild Data.

While there are many things Census and ACS are very useful for, relying on this data to make business decisions is challenging because: 

  • The data are not updated at a frequency to capture rapid areas of change – both increases and decreases
  • The data are becoming increasingly inaccurate as they move away from a decennial census gathering
  • Factors impeding data collection (e.g., Covid-19 pandemic for 2020 census gathering) will continue to make the data quality questionable
  • Increasingly the Census Bureau is changing and altering its own methods of data collection and modeling, partially due to privacy concerns, which is very likely to increase the level of "noise" in Census and ACS data moving forward

MicroBuild Helps Where Census & ACS Data Cannot 

Population and household counts change far too quickly for census-based data sets to keep up.

MicroBuild data from Gadberry recognizes fast changes in population and household counts far faster, and with more accuracy, than traditional, census-based data sources. This impacts how accurate your business applications, which are reliant on this data, can be.

Gadberry Group’s MicroBuild data makes your location data applications smarter and more accurate, giving you the opportunity to capitalize on population change in your operations.

Let's Talk About Your Location Intelligence Data Needs

Paradise and the impacts from the Camp Fire are one of hundreds of examples across the United States where rapid changes will have significant impacts on your decision-making accuracy.

When thinking about change at the Block Group level across the thousands of Block Groups in the US, Gadberry Group is here to help you incorporate that change quicker and more accurately than you have previously seen. Let’s talk today.

Let's talk about your opportunities and challenges

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