Monday, May 04, 2009

Enhanced Neighborhood Data from Urban Mapping

URBANWARE Neighborhoods Database Surpasses 84,000 Neighborhoods for over 2,700 municipalities in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Urban Mapping, Inc. (UMI), the leading provider of location-rich content for interactive applications, today unveiled enhancements to the company’s URBANWARE® Neighborhoods database. Already used by industry-leaders in the portal, map platform and Internet yellow page markets, such as Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, MapQuest and AT&T's, the database’s market-leading coverage incorporates nearly 8,000 new neighborhoods in the U.S. and 500 new neighborhoods across Canada and Europe. In addition, Urban Mapping has raised the bar for quality of neighborhood data by adding the capability to dynamically incorporate user feedback in its offering. The company can now merge data from its thousands of existing sources with input from local residents that best understand the dynamics of their neighborhoods.

"Outsourcing expertise to local markets is a critical piece of what we’ve always done and adding user input to the equation was the next logical step to further increase product quality," stated Ian White, CEO of Urban Mapping. "There can be many wrong answers for neighborhoods and few correct ones. Urban Mapping is the neighborhood data provider of choice by the who’s who of the industry because we take the extra steps necessary to deliver quality data that truly reflects the way people think about their local communities."

Yahoo!, a leading global Internet brand and one of the most trafficked Internet destinations worldwide, utilizes neighborhood data from Urban Mapping to provide detailed and accurate content to its user base. "In evaluating Urban Mapping and others, it is clear that not all neighborhood data is equal," stated Bob Upham, director of business development at Yahoo!. "Over our two years of working together, Urban Mapping has been instrumental in helping us power great consumer experiences."

Understanding the Challenge with Neighborhood Boundaries
Neighborhoods are informally defined spaces that have formed over time due to historical or cultural reasons. As they are rarely administratively or politically defined, there are no clear rules that dictate how neighborhoods are defined or named. Because of this informal nature, boundaries are often fuzzy. While it may seem like a good idea to draw hard boundaries between neighborhoods, exclusive boundaries do not accurately describe locations situated on or close to the boundary. "Saying one neighborhood ends where another begins is simply incorrect—it distorts reality," added White.

Urban Mapping's neighborhood data defines boundaries in a way that accounts for the informal nature of urban geography. By recognizing that a location can technically be in two or more neighborhoods, Urban Mapping eliminates binary boundaries and replaces them with conditional boundaries. Because conditional boundaries incorporate this inherent fuzziness, they are more in tune with the way people understand informal spaces, resulting in neighborhood boundaries that are more realistic and accurate. This underlying data representation formed the basis for Urban Mapping’s patent pending approach to defining informal space.

The neighborhood database also assigns a "prominence" factor to all locations situated within the conditional boundaries. This "prominence" factor determines and then assigns a dominant neighborhood to each location, allowing applications to produce binary boundaries while avoiding double counting.

About URBANWARE Neighborhoods
Urban Mapping's neighborhood boundary database is the most comprehensive product of its kind, enabling increased relevance for users and greater precision for advertisers. The boundary collection for the U.S. now totals nearly 70,000 neighborhoods for over 2,500 cities and towns. In addition, Urban Mapping's set of international boundary data now includes roughly 15,000 neighborhoods across Canada and Europe. By geographically encoding boundaries of thousands of neighborhoods, UMI provides precise latitude and longitude points for every neighborhood. The neighborhood data can be accessed through a simple and cost-effective API, and is also available in other formats including XML, WKT, ASCII and SHP.

About Urban Mapping, Inc.
Urban Mapping's location-rich URBANWARE products enhance the value of local content for interactive applications. The company's flagship product, URBANWARE Neighborhoods, is a database of informal space and is used by all major portals, map platforms and Internet yellow page publishers, including Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft's Virtual Earth, Idearc's, MapQuest and AT&T's Urban Mapping also offers databases of mass transit systems and off-street parking lots, as well as a novel geotargeting solution focused on the needs of local search. For more information about Urban Mapping, visit or call 415.946.8170.


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