Mapping software that can count addresses within an arbitrarily bounded area
February 12, 2011 9:43 PM   Subscribe

I’m looking for mapping software that will let me import addresses from a spreadsheet, plot them on a map, and then allow me to draw arbitrary boundaries on the map and give me the count of addresses that fall within the bounded area. Also, is there a name for this functionality?
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear to Science & Nature (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You could do it with ArcGIS (or, presumably, any GIS software). You can crop a set of points by an arbitrary polygon and export the resulting data table. You could try it with GRASS or another free one, but I don't know the specific techniques with anything other than Arc.
posted by zvs at 10:37 PM on February 12, 2011

That is to say, Arc includes a geocoding library. If some other program doesn't, you can do batch-geocoding from addresses to lat/long pairs using a variety of handy websites (just google "batch geocoding").
posted by zvs at 10:37 PM on February 12, 2011

As for a name for it, I'd call it an Area Of Interest (AOI) filter that you want to apply. Don't know if that's the best name, but it's one I've heard used in applications.
posted by Mala at 4:58 AM on February 13, 2011

If this is industry specific,there are generally boundary files available from a 3rd party source which will work with any GIS package, but if you are really looking to draw a boundary which is non-standard then you may have to make your own, which I can't say would be easy.

What i've done in the past is take zip code level boundary files, and aggregated the exterior boundary edges into my desired area for a custom trade area. It was painful and tedious, but it has since been reused a few times in follow up work. Generally though, i'll just project data onto a DMA and use the existing DMA files I have.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:38 AM on February 13, 2011

ArcGIS will do this. There's a couple of different ways to accomplish it and what you call it depends on the approach you take. It's essentially a spatial query.

If you don't have access to ArcGIS, you could try a free open source GIS program called QGIS. You may have to invest some time in learning the specific way QGIS wants data to be set up, but it's relatively easy (for GIS).

Beyond the GIS route, you might look into data visualization programs like Tableau.
posted by cptspalding at 2:00 PM on February 13, 2011

Microsoft MapPoint is capable.
posted by DrtyBlvd at 4:46 PM on February 14, 2011

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