Making a Parcel Map on our SaaS Mapping Platform - Usecase #1
This is blog #1 of our parcel data & map use case blog series.
Navigating Regrid's SaaS Platform
Mapping is an art and a science. It is not just charting territory and places, but also the ideas we associate with ‘location’ itself; the address, APN, universal unique id, lat/long, owner information, building count, and land use. These types of data add value to a place and become synonymous with its identification, much like memory and history can also prescribe value to a particular location. Let’s explore this idea of the seen versus the unseen - the plot of land you are currently on, versus information about the parcel that gives the land value; location intelligence, as we at Regrid refer to it. If you can’t see it, then what value does parcel data add to a map?
Here at Regrid, we can provide data on over 152+ million parcels nationwide; the parcel shapes along with all associated information about the parcel as per the Regrid Parcel Schema. If you open up our SaaS platform and begin to explore, you’ll notice you start at the most zoomed-out version of our map. As you zoom in (with your trackpad/mouse/ or the controls in the upper-left-hand corner of the viewer) you can begin to watch as certain details appear and disappear. These are the ‘zoom levels:’ At the lowest zoom level, our maps default, you can see our entire coverage map. At a higher zoom level, you will see higher detail of a smaller geographical location. By clicking on a particular state [ex. Massachusetts] you can see its individual counties.
By hovering your cursor over each county, the name of the state/county/city/parcel will appear in the upper-right-hand corner. Click and the black boundary you see will shrink; your viewing area will transition from Nation to State to County [ex. Essex County] and then eventually, City to a specific parcel. At the top of the viewer is our newest feature ‘breadcrumbs;’ here you can track your journey and return to a previous location or zoom level at any time. The label in neon green is your current location [ex. Marblehead].
Once you are in a specific city, you will see the outlines of parcels, roads and structures. With our pro + team features, there are additional levels of location context as well. When you move your cursor, a parcel polygon is highlighted, and its address is displayed in the upper right-hand corner. If you click on a specific parcel/property/plot the accessible data will appear in the menu on the left, accessible under the ‘Overview’ tab. Different schemas of Regrid data are available depending on your subscription tier [learn more about our Mobile App subscriptions here].
Drawing a Focus area
Now that we have covered the basics, let’s begin making a custom map. I’m going to look at properties in Marblehead, MA. First, I want to create a
custom focus area, as opposed to looking at the entire city of Marblehead. Locate the pencil ‘DRAW’ icon in the upper menu and select ‘Draw Focus Area’ from the dropdown list. From here you can create a custom selection of the parcels/properties you wish to explore; just outline the area by dropping points [see right image; the white squares]. Once your selection is complete, close off the shape by clicking your first point. If you hit ‘Finish’ a window will appear to save the focus area you just drew. I have given my selection the title ‘Marblehead Waterfront Property’ and I am making it the default location for my current project.
Styling parcels by attribute + More Map Layers
After making a focus area, I am going to begin to
‘Style’ my map. Click on the drop-down menu (shown right) you can choose the parcel attributes you would like to filter by; I’m clicking ‘Structure Year Built’ but you can filter by owner name, zipcode, building count and other attributes in our schema.
After selecting an attribute, I have to assign a value and finish off the style rule; ‘Structure Year Built - ≥ - 1950’ and choose a label color. It’s possible to set more than one rule; but it is worth noting that the topmost rule will take priority over the subsequent rules. Hit ‘Apply’ and the viewer will update. There is even a legend at the bottom on the viewer. If I add a second rule to my focus area, ‘last sale price - < - 500000’ you can see the changes the occur when one rule precedes another. See the ways in which the two maps below change when I adjust the order of rules.
The left image shows property with structures built during or after 1950 and houses last sold for under $500,000. As you can see, many of the houses [green] in this area were built during or after 1950; out of the house built prior to 1950, a number [blue] last sold for less than $500,000. The right image shows the rules prioritized differently. We can see that a number of the once green parcels are now blue; many of the houses built during or after 1950 were last sold for under $500,000.
The ‘Style’ button isn’t the only way to change the appearance of your map. By clicking on ‘Layers’ in the top menu you can toggle between street and satellite view, as well as add additional layers of context such as the FEMA flood layer, Historical Red Lining Data or our latest matched building footprints.
This feature is a quick way to select multiple parcel attribute criteria & query the data to get deeper insights into your location. Want to see how many properties a company owns, or which parcels are larger than an acre? Those are the types of questions a Filter can answer. In my example, I am filtering the properties within my current boundary by lbcs_actitivty-desc [Household] and a most recent saledate between January 2019 and now.
The measurement tool is an extremely useful feature on our SaaS. Located within the ‘Draw’ tool; simply draw a line by dropping to measure the real distance between two points or the area. By clicking on a point with the measurement tool, you can generate its lat/long as well.
If you enjoy using our SaaS platform and would like to feature our base map on your own app or site, Regrid can provide you with vector or raster tiles so that you can display parcel polygons on your own map.
As artists explore mapping through their own works, many obscure or leave out chosen elements and use cartographic lines in new ways. These maps don’t always aim to show us the most accurate version of reality but are focused on specific elements associated with location context. The Regrid platform puts the mapping power in your hands - from custom focus areas and measurement tools to added layers of location intelligence, we have everything you need to visualize your data. Keep an eye out for more Usecase blog posts in the near future!
Regrid's SaaS platform could be the perfect tool for your next mapping project - whether you're using our mapping platform or need bulk parcel data, we are always here to help. Have questions? Email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about Parcel Data.