Demographics via API: PlaceSTAT and PolicyMap

John Musser
May. 20 2008, 12:50AM EDT

Placebase, providers of the commercial business mapping platform Pushpin, have announced a new Location Data API as well as a very useful new application that leverages it: PolicyMap.

PolicyMap, built in collaboration with The Reinvestment Fund, a non-profit investment group focused on neighborhood revitalization, is an online mapping tool that leverages their new API to provide access to a wide range of market and demographic data:

PolicyMap offers more than 4,000 indicators related to demographics, real estate markets, crime, schools, housing affordability, employment, energy, and public investments. PolicyMap aggregates indicators from a variety of sources including U.S. Census, Claritas, FBI, IRS, Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, and Boxwood Means (a value-added reseller of home sale data). PolicyMap compiles and scrubs the data to ensure that it is reliable and accurate. Every data variable comes with simple, easy-to-understand descriptions and precise technical definitions.

Target customers include civic organizations, city planners, government agencies, grantmaking organizations, real estate developers, and lending institutions.

The service works on a freemium model in which the basic service is free and paid Standard and Premium subscriptions allow access to additional services like proprietary data and projections, custom regions, more reports, and the ability to upload your own data. Subscription prices per user range from a standard level at $200 to month to a premium level at $5,000 per year.

From a platform perspective their new REST-based location data API, PlaceSTAT, returns statistical and location data about places as HTML, KML and GeoJSON:

The free service offers 15 different statistics for more than 65,000 locations, from basic information like an area's population to useful tidbits like average income levels and campaign contributions. The commercial version of the API makes more than 10,000 variables available for over 200,000 locations. Currently, the Free version of the REST API is US-only.

In some ways this can be seen as complementary to Yahoo's new Internet Location Platform in that it will provide deeper data about a given location.

John Musser

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