Tag: Business Data

What's New in Community Analyst?

Earlier this week we released some updated data on Community Analyst, including an exciting update to 2012 business locations.

This release includes the following updates:

  • January 2012 Business Location Data - Available in the Business Locator report and Business Search.
  • January 2012 Business Summary Data (Now in 2010 Geography) – Available in the Business Summary Report, Color-Coded Maps, Smart Map Search, and Custom Comparison Report.

Continue reading

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What's New in Business Analyst Online?

Earlier this week we released some updated data on Business Analyst Online, including an exciting update to 2012 business locations.

This release includes the following updates:

  • January 2012 Business Location Data - Available in the Business Locator report and Business Search.
  • January 2012 Business Summary Data (Now in 2010 Geography) – Available in the Business Summary Report, Color-Coded Maps, Smart Map Search, and Custom Comparison Report.
  • Updated 2011B Crime Data (Now in 2010 Geography) - Available in Color-Coded Maps and Smart Map Search.

Continue reading

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Business Analyst 10 Performance Improvements Part 1 – Add Business Listings

 by Garry Burgess

Now that Business Analyst 10 is shipping I thought I would take a few minutes and show off some of the performance improvments in the new release.  We spent a lot of time and effort making key operations really, really fast in this release.  James Killick, the product manager for Business Analyst, likes to say “What used to take an hour you can now do in a minute.”   I think this really hits the nail on the head in terms of how much faster things are with Business Analyst 10.  I am really proud of the performance improvements we have made in the 10 release.  Here is the first example of many in this new release that illustrates how fast things work.

The image below illustrates the new Add Business Listings dialog.  The tool has a familiar one text box search box like you probably use every day in a web browser.  Simply enter a search term and click Go!  With Business Analyst 10, you are no longer limited to searching for businesses within a certain ZIP Code or city; now you can search for businesses for the entire country. 

In the example below, I am searching for “Mc Donald” anywhere in the United States.  In less than a minute Business Analyst returns all the records that have “Mc Donald” in the InfoUSA business file with over 12 million records.

You can instantly filter and refine your search by clicking on the links in the left-hand side.  I clicked on the link to filter the results to only return “Mc Donald’s”.  The search engine also handles fuzzy matches and accounts for typos.

After the initial search is complete, you can also quickly filter businesses by city, state or type of business.  After selecting only “MC DONALD’S” records, click the “Finish” button and in a few seconds a layer is created for the 13,899 Mc Donald’s restaurant locations.

There you go!  Something that used to take over an hour now takes less than a minute with Business Analyst 10.

Enjoy!

Cheers – Garry

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Identify Investment Opportunities in Markets with the Business Analyst Benchmark Report Service and its Simplified XML (S.XML) Output Format – Part II of II

Yup, It's real.  B-)by Tony Howser

  

Thumbnail of Demo Application
Welcome back!

In my previous discussion, I described a scenario where you are working with economic development agencies in the city of Lawrence, Kansas to identify and market the region to investors in order to get commitments for matching funds required with federal stimulus grant applications. I also described how this can be done in a simple, efficient, and cost effective manner by leveraging the ESRI Business Analyst Benchmark Report service and its Simplified XML (S.XML) output format.

As promised, I will continue where I left off previously and will discuss the Business Analyst Benchmark Report service and actually demonstrate how quick and easy it is to develop with its Simplified XML (S.XML) output in the context of of “marketing” Lawrence, Kansas to potential investors.  As a bonus, I will provide access to a Web browser-based Flex demo and its complete and documented source code that leverages the tools that I describe today.

Lawrence, Kansas Study Areas
Polygons created with the ESRI Business Analyst Summary Reports service and mapped with the ArcGIS API for JavaScript

Let’s review our study areas again: You decided to provide easy access to data to potential investors describing the current and future socioeconomic, purchasing, and other characteristics of the underlying populations of Lawrence’s five ZIP codes. You could easily obtain and provide data in smaller and larger geographic areas but you chose to showcase Lawrence and highlight opportunities at the ZIP code level in order to keep it very simple and intuitive. You can also specify custom geographic areas. The choice is always yours based on your individual use cases.


So easy, it's almost magical!
Walkthrough: Submitting an Analysis Request to the ESRI Benchmark Report service and Binding the S.XML Result to a Flex DataGrid Control

In this next section, I demonstrate making a request to the Business Analyst Online Benchmark Report REST endpoint and dynamically binding the resulting S.XML data quickly and easily to a Flex DataGrid. This will give you a good feel for how easy it will be to develop the flexible and powerful application for attracting economic development dollars to the city of Lawrence and its five ZIP codes.

(1). Business Analyst Online Benchmark Report REST Request
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This sample URL below is an actual Business Analyst Online REST API Benchmark Report request which compares twelve Business Analyst summarization values for Lawrence’s five ZIP codes. 

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Summarization variables can be used to analyze, describe, and compare the current and future characteristics and trends of the underlying population—in this case, the citizens of Lawrence, Kansas’ five ZIP codes. 

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Once submitted, the output response is returned in seconds. (This REST request can be submitted through a Web browser’s URL field but requires a valid Business Analyst Online API token.  The actual output of the REST request is given further below.):

http://baoapi.esri.com/rest/report/BenchmarkReport?
BenchmarkOptions=useAverageValues&
FieldSortType=sortNone&
StandardReportOptions={“ReportFormat”:”S.XML”}&
Summarizations=TOTHH_CY;TOTHH_FY;AVGHHSZ_CY;AVGHHSZ_FY;AVGHINC_CY;
AVGHINC_FY;AVGNW_CY;AVGDI_CY;N33_Bus;G27_Bus;X8001_X;X8002_X&
TradeAreas=[{"StdLayer":{"ID":"US.Zip5",
"GeographyIDs":["66044","66045","66046","66047","66049"]}}]&
TAinRows=true&f=json&Token=YOUR_BAO_API_TOKEN

(carriage returns added for readability)

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Twelve summarization variables are simultaneously queried in seconds from a list of thousands

 
  1. 2009 Total Households – TOTHH_CY
  2. 2014 Total Households – TOTHH_FY
  3. 2009 Average Household Size – AVGHHSZ_CY
  4. 2014 Average Household Size – AVGHHSZ_FY
  5. 2009 Average Household Income – AVGHINC_CY
  6. 2014 Average Household Income – AVGHINC_FY
  7. 2009 Average Household Net Worth – AVGNW_CY
  8. 2009 Average Household Disposable Income – AVGDI_CY
  9. 2009 Healthcare/Social Assistance Businesses by NAICS Code – N33_Bus
  10. 2009 Health Services Businesses by SIC Code – G27_Bus
  11. 2009 Health Care Consumer Expenditures – X8001_X
  12. 2009 Health Insurance Consumer Expenditures – X8002_X
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The five ZIP codes of Lawrence, Kansas are analyzed in this request.  Other options include custom geographic areas, Census block groups, Census tracts, counties, states, CBSAs, DMAs, and more.

 
  • 66044
  • 66045
  • 66046
  • 66047
  • 66049
(2). Benchmark Report Simplified XML (S.XML) Response
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The raw Simplified XML (S.XML) output of the sample request above is shown in the following screenshot.  Notice how lightweight and compact the XML schema is and how each study area is represented by a single XML record (node).  The attributes associated with each XML record represent the associated summarization values selected in the REST request given above. 

- Download the raw output file here.

(3). Binding the Simplified XML (S.XML) Data to a DataGrid Control
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XML is an extremely popular, widely supported, and platform independent data interchange format.  The new Business Analyst Online Simplified XML (S.XML) output format enables application developers to easily, quickly, and efficiently consume the rich analysis output of Business Analyst with only a few lines of code.  Thanks to the extremely simple, lightweight and compact schema of S.XML output, binding data to dynamic controls, such as data grids, charts, and graphs, requires minimal effort.

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- Believe it or not, the code in the screenshot below is all that is required for the *entire* Adobe Flex program shown in the link above.  The DataGrid is dynamic and sortable.  Notice how little code is actually required thanks to the Simplified XML (S.XML) output format.  The lightweight schema facilitates rapid and easy application development in Adobe Flex, Microsoft Silverlight, JavaScript, and many other development frameworks.


Marketing
Conclusion and a Complete Business Analyst Online Flex API Application

I hope you see the value of the Benchmark Report service and S.XML output format. I have shown you the underlying “engine” of what can power your analysis and application to market Lawrence, Kansas ZIP codes to investors around the country (and around the globe) and, how quick and easy it will be to implement.

ESRI Business Analyst to the RescueI am extremely happy to announce that the S.XML format will soon be available for most Business Analyst Summary Reports as well. This will make it even easier to leverage the Web APIs of Business Analyst Server and Business Analyst Online to build enterprise-grade Web applications.

To conclude this short discussion of the Business Analyst Online Benchmark Report service and its associated S.XML output format, I am including a complete working demonstration application and its source code to further communicate their value. This Web app is platform independent, can be made widely available, and is infinitely flexible for a variety of use cases—not just the real-world scenario which I discussed today. It is powered by the ESRI Benchmark Report service and it consumes its Simplified XML (S.XML) output. I am providing the fully-documented source code so you can study, execute, extend, and adapt it to meet your own needs.

Flex Demo Application Screenshot

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  • The user is able to select multiple (up to 500) Summarizations variables
  • The user graphically defines an analysis area using a freehand buffered line segment or freehand polygon tool to analyze and retrieve information about different areas in Redlands, CA. 
  • The application uses demo Business Analyst Online API account credentials that are geographically restricted to Redlands.
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Identify Investment Opportunities in Markets with the Business Analyst Benchmark Report Service and its Simplified XML (S.XML) Output Format – Part I of II

 by Tony Howser

 

Sowing Seeds
We Want Those Stimulus Dollars but It Takes Money to Get Money!

Let’s say you are a consultant and your business is currently working on several opportunities to assist local, regional, and state economic development agencies with getting their hands on those federal stimulus dollars.  Each and every one of them has been eyeing those dollars but they need to find matching funds to qualify for the grant money.

ESRI Business Analyst to the RescueIn our example, you are going to be helping out the city of Lawrence, Kansas by developing a Web application which leverages the ESRI Business Analyst Benchmark Report service and its Simplified XML (S.XML) output.  With Business Analyst’s Standard Geography Levels, you have many options for the types of geographic areas to analyze and describe however; you decided to keep it very simple and work with Lawrence’s five ZIP codes.

Lawrence, Kansas Study Areas
Polygons created with the ESRI Business Analyst Summary Reports service and mapped with the ArcGIS API for JavaScript

It’s kind of like the classic chicken-or-the-egg scenario, right?!  Chicken-or-the-egg What your clients are basically faced with is a situation where, it takes money (which is in very low supply these days) to get some of that federal money.   Every one of those areas has ready-to-go and long-deferred maintenance and upgrade projects with anxious local contractors, workers, and other businesses waiting in the wings.  Your job is to attract private investment to get enough matching fund commitments to apply for those stimulus funds.  What shall you do?


Marketing
Highlight the Opportunities in Your Areas by Identifying Desirable Characteristics and Trends

Well, roll up your sleeves and market those areas! Make the strongest case you can and build investor confidence in each of them with high-quality data describing the current and future socioeconomic, purchasing, and other characteristics of their underlying populations. Quickly help the investors identify valuable opportunities in Lawrence and make sound business decisions.

ESRI Business Analyst to the RescueESRI Business Analyst Online Benchmark Report service and its new Simplified XML (S.XML) output format provide simple and flexible programmatic access to ESRI Business Analyst Data and spatial analysis. It can be an integral part of a system to drill down into, investigate, and compare current data and trends of interest to businesses, organizations, agencies, and investors.


Uncle Sam
Can’t We Get the Data from the Government?!

QuestionOK. Identifying and highlighting valuable investment opportunities backed up by powerful data to potential investors sounds great to me but; can’t I already get this kind of data from the government?

AnswerYes, some “free” data are out there but; to make the strongest and most convincing arguments, you need access to some fairly specialized data which can be very costly to obtain on your own. How many local, regional, and state governments and chambers of commerce have had the funds and resources to amass such data? How recent and comprehensive is the information contained within it? Is there a sufficient variety of information to meet your current needs and your future requirements? Can the data provide a comprehensive snapshot of the current and future trends of the areas you are trying to market?

QuestionIn that case, it sounds like the data from the U.S. Census meet a lot of these requirements, right?

AnswerData from the U.S. Census is extremely valuable and can be very useful however; the U.S. Census is only taken every 10 years and then takes several years to completely process. Do you have the time to wait for the next federal snapshot of our society or are you able to use the older data from the 2000 Census? Additionally, a lot of consumer expenditure information and other data of interest to businesses, organizations, and agencies are not captured by the Census. ESRI Business Analyst data is obtained, compiled, and produced from many different sources. The most successful organizations leverage the most current data and data from a variety of sources in order to make well-informed decisions.

QuestionWell, how about those regular federal economic reports? We already paid for them through our tax dollars. Can’t we use them?

AnswerThink back to your original objective here: You basically want to simply and comprehensively describe and market areas to potential investors in order to attract matching funds which can be included in federal stimulus grant applications. What kind of geographic resolution do the data in those federal reports provide? You are helping the city of Lawrence, Kansas describe characteristics and opportunities in their five ZIP codes. Regular federal economic reports are invaluable tools to economists, academicians, and legislators however; they are macro in scope and provide a broad snapshot of the *entire* economy. In most cases, they are poor tools to effectively and comprehensive describe relatively smaller geographic areas and regions like ZIP codes. And, finally, how about “custom” geographic areas specified by coordinates defining an analysis boundary?

ESRI Business Analyst to the Rescue ESRI Business Analyst Data obtained through the Business Analyst Benchmark Report service can come to the rescue with thousands of summarized variables describing the current and future socioeconomic, purchasing, and other characteristics of the underlying populations of areas as small as the Census block group to as large as the entire U.S. In addition to standard geographic areas, the Benchmark Report service also supports the analysis of custom-defined areas. The Business Analyst Benchmark Report service provides extensive, flexible, timely, and detailed data which can be easily requested and consumed through the ESRI Business Analyst APIs.


Green CFL
How Do We Widely Distribute the Data in a Rapid and Cost Efficient Manner?!

OK. So you now see the value of this effort. How do you make it simple, efficient, and cost effective for your clients, their potential investors, and for you? Well, thick reports are so “20th Century” and are costly to produce and resource intensive in many different ways. Additionally, with so many competing distractions, you have little time to loose in presenting data about Lawrence to potential investors. Their time is precious and you want to be able to provide them with access to powerful and comprehensive data in a fast and efficient manner. You also want to be able to respond to several other opportunities in different cities and localities since you made the initial investment with setting up the system (and your consultancy) with Lawrence. You want to minimize the re-engineering necessary with a regularly-updated, dynamic, and “scalable” data source and sustain your system.

ESRI Business Analyst to the RescueIn Part II of my discussion, I will conclude by describing to you and giving you the complete working application and source code to a Web browser-based Rich Internet Application (RIA) developed in the ubiquitous Adobe Flex framework (New to Flex?  Check out this flagship implementation of the Business Analyst Online API in Flex here!). The sample application will offer hints and suggestions on how you can offer potential investors (and analysts, other organizations, legislators, decision makers, members of the public, etc.) the ability to easily and interactively look up the current and future socioeconomic, purchasing, and other characteristics associated with the underlying populations of different geographic areas.


What!?
It’s Over Already?! What!

I don’t want to get my boss angry at me for posting a blog that is too long (even though I have actually seen technical blog posts that look like theses or dissertations.)

In Part II of this blog, I will discuss the Business Analyst Benchmark Report service and actually demonstrate how quick and easy it is to develop with its Simplified XML (S.XML) output in the context of your task of “marketing” Lawrence, Kansas. As a bonus, I will provide access to a Web browser-based Flex demo and its complete and documented source code that leverages the tools that I discussed today. See you soon!

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Transitioning 2009 Business Analyst MXDs

 by Jeff Hincy

With clients starting to receive their shipments of Esri Business Analyst with 2009 data I wanted to share some tips on how to transition any old MXDs built on previous versions of Business Analyst.  Some users like to save a lot of different MXDs, as another way to organize their work or other good reasons.

Each year our team makes strides to improve the performance and usability of Business Analyst. Based on critical customer feedback and some changes made by the data providers, we completely overhauled the default Business Analyst MXD to provide an enhanced cartographic look and feel of our maps.  While we were at it, we thought we would increase performance as well.

So, if you’re someone with a few (or a few dozen) ‘old’ MXDs lying around which could benefit from some fresh cartography and faster performance, read on.  Note: a less-bloggy version of this is posted as a Knowledge Base article on our Support Site.

All you will need to do is remove the group layer associated with older versions of Business Analyst and add in the new group layer we have posted on our support site. I will detail the steps below.

If you have installed the new version of Business Analyst, the first thing you will notice when launching an older MXD is that many of the underlying basemap layers have red exclamation points ! next to them.

These red exclamation points indicate that the file locations where these layers were stored in previous versions on Business Analyst have been either removed or moved as part of our efforts to update and upgrade the MXD. Although it is possible to repair some of these data sources it is much quicker to simply remove the older Business Analyst group layer and replace it with our new one.

Here are the steps to update your map documents.

Make backups: Back up your MXDs before modifying them. Save any custom labeling or symbology associated with Business Analyst data layers to apply them to the new group layer if needed.

Step 1: Open up an ‘old’ MXD.

Step 2: Right mouse click on the appropriate Business Analyst group layer (typically either the Business Analyst Detailed Map  or the Business Analyst Map group layer) and select Remove

Step 3: Download our updated 2009 Business Analyst group layer from our support site and save the group layer to the file directory recommended in the article.

Step 4: Go to File-Add Data or click the Add Data icon to navigate to the new group layer you just downloaded and add it to the map and you are done.

The updated map document will look something like this (excluding your specific layer files).

Note: We recommend that you do not mix data vintages (ie. 2008 and 2009) in your Business Analyst MXD as this may affect the tools dependant on these data layers.

Hopefully these tips will make transitioning older map documents much simpler.

-Jeff

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ArcGIS Business Analyst desktop 9.3.1 – Turbo Charging Data Retrieval

 by Garry Burgess

We are hard at work completing the 9.3.1 release of ArcGIS Business Analyst desktop.  This release will ship with 2009/2014 data update early this summer.  Over the next few weeks we are going to highlight some of the major improvements of the next generation of desktop and server releases.

Let’s start by taking a stroll down Business Analyst memory lane. Back in the days before I had any grey hair, we created the first generation of the Business Analyst extension on top of the old ArcView GIS platform.  The link below provides information about this early release of Business Analyst:

http://downloads2.esri.com/support/whitepapers/other_/avbadata.pdf


ArcView 3.2 with Business Analyst Extension – 2001

I have highlighted one section from this document that highlights one of the most dramatic shifts in the extension over the years:

“Preliminary market study begins with an analysis of rings being drawn around each location or new site. The underlying demographics can then be extracted…”

Back in the day, you had to extract data prior to running your analysis.  This involved extracting data locally before you could run reports and analysis in Business Analyst.  Most of the processing time was spent extracting and writing data locally before your analysis could be run.  Translation – it was pretty slow.

When Business Analyst migrated to ArcGIS we made a dramatic leap to read and work with compressed data directly without having to extract anything to your local machine first.  This improvement saw quite significant increases in speed from the old ArcView 3.x platform, as data did not have to be extracted before you create reports or run other Business Analyst capabilities.

At the 9.3.1 release we have continued to fine-tune and improve the speed at which Business Analyst performs key operations.  For example, in cases where your analysis is geographically constrained to a single area (city scale or finer) we leverage in-memory feature classes to actually cache the Business Analyst data.  The Dynamic Ring tool in Business Analyst is a great example of a capability that will take advantage of this new approach.  When you use this tool at the 9.3.1 release, Business Analyst data is cached for your analysis extent and the tool then is able to aggregate information extremely fast because all the calculations are done in memory.  In testing, this one particular tool works about 3-5 times faster as the previous 9.3 release. When you click and drag the dynamic ring around the map the data aggregation and chart happen almost instantaneously – pretty snappy stuff :)


Dynamic Rings with ArcGIS Business Analyst 9.3.1 – 2009

More details to follow about the 9.3.1 release in the coming weeks.

Cheers – Garry

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The Insane Amounts of Data in ArcGIS Business Analyst…

   by James Killick

When I joined the ArcGIS Business Analyst team about a year ago I was astounded by the depth and breadth of data that we ship with the Business Analyst products — over 11,000 variables on current year and five year forecast demographics, thousands of variables on consumer spending habits, over 12,000,000 businesses, crime data, traffic congestion data, banking data — this list just goes on and on and on.

If you want to see just how insane it gets take a look at this:

 

Households that used three or more packages of dog biscuits in the last month??  You’re kidding me?

It turns out we’re not just creating all this data for fun. It’s actually vital for learning where a business can be successful or determining ways in which a business can be made more successful. You can use it to laser focus your marketing … or to help you decide which product lines to carry in a store … or to help determine whether a particular location is still viable for business.

If you want to see more drill down to the Esri data pages on esri.com at http://www.esri.com/data/esri_data

Have fun exploring… :-)

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Deploy ArcGIS Business Analyst Server 9.3 remotely!

by Maia Pawooskar

ArcGIS Business Analyst Server has just had its second major release. Being two is so different, it is like being a toddler!

At version 9.3, ArcGIS Business Analyst Server installation has the look and feel of its parent, ArcGIS Server. In case you did not know, Business Analyst Server is an extension to ArcGIS Server.

An administrator can now deploy ArcGIS Business Analyst Server version 9.3 remotely! To do this the administrator/user will simply perform an admin install. Admin installs can be performed using the Windows Installer (MSI), which gives you more flexibility and advantages than the Setup executable.

ArcGIS Business Analyst Server version 9.3 has two setups, the data and the server setup. The MSI command for both the setups is the same.

msiexec /A (path to the setup)setup.msi

Using the MSI command the admin creation can even be performed silently with this command:

msiexec /A (path to the setup)setup.msi /qb TARGETDIR=(the location where you want the admin created)

The TARGETDIR can be a network location. The admin install will set up the structure needed for you to run the setup off of that drive instead of from the DVDs.

This can be handy if your server is remote, parked somewhere in one of your sprawling server farms and has no access to media drives. You would simply do the admin install over a network drive, then map the network drive to your remote server and start the installation!

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