Using Reference Data

Load ready-to-use reference data to your project.

UrbanFootprint provides ready access to a wealth of curated reference data layers, allowing you to get to work quickly in any area of the United States. Using the Layer Manager, you can browse the data available for your project area, view metadata, and instantly load them to your project.

This article provides information about reference data categories, reference data information, and reference data updates, and steps on how to add reference data layers.

Reference Data Categories

Reference data layers are organized into the categories listed below. The availability of reference data varies based on project location.

  • Administrative Boundaries. Includes jurisdictional boundaries, census boundaries, congressional districts, school districts, and traffic analysis zones (TAZs).

  • Conservation. Includes protected environmental areas as used by the Conservation module (available in California only).

  • Education. Includes public and private schools, colleges, universities, and day care centers.

  • Environment & Land Cover. Includes data describing environmental conditions or environmentally sensitive areas, such as critical habitat, wetlands, hydrography, terrestrial ecoregions, watersheds, and wildlife corridors. Data availability varies from state to state.

  • Equity & Environmental Justice. Includes data describing existing land use or demographic conditions relevant to equity and environmental justice analysis, as well as federal and other designations used for equitable planning and implementation.

  • Health. Includes locations of healthcare facilities as well as public health data.

  • Infrastructure. Includes locations of energy-related infrastructure.

  • Land use. Includes building footprints, points of interest, and reference data for the parcel canvas.

  • Parks & Open Space. Includes parks, open space, and conservation easements.

  • Risk & Resilience. Includes areas at risk of wildfire, earthquakes, sea level rise, floods, and toxic release.

  • Socio-Demographic. Includes census socio-demographic information in individual layers.

  • Transport & Circulation. Includes infrastructure data for all forms of transportation, including public transit, active transportation, roads, rail, ports, and airports. Also includes household transportation survey data.

Reference Data Information

Metadata is provided for each reference data layer, allowing you to browse and view a description, source, scale, last updated date, and a summary of the included columns. The information is also available via the Source tab of the Layer Details pane.

Source. The name and link (if available) to the data source.

Scale. Reference data is typically at the national or state scales.

Last updated by source. The last updated date according to the data source.

Summary Table. Includes information for each attribute column.

  • Column. Includes the names of all columns in the data table.

  • Description. A short description of each column, if provided by the source.

  • Type. The data type of each column. Options include string (general text), int (integer, or whole number), and float (floating-point, or number with a decimal point). The column types determine how columns can be symbolized and queried in filters.

Reference Data Updates

The catalog of reference data is ever-expanding. UrbanFootprint makes frequent updates to incorporate new datasets, and new releases of existing datasets. While users always have the option of uploading their own data, we can also add new datasets as reference data to make them more easily accessible. Data can be made available through the Layer Manager to a single organization, or (given appropriate permissions) made available to all UrbanFootprint users. Contact Customer Support for information.

How to Add Reference Data Layers

To add reference data layers:‌

1. Open the Layer Manager by clicking the + Add button in the upper right portion of the Layer panel. The Layer Manager appears.

2. Search for a layer to add. Use the Search box to find data by title or keyword, or browse the list by category.

3. Click on a layer entry to view its information. Metadata for the reference data is shown.

4. Click the + button for any layers you want to add. You can add multiple layers at once.

5. Close the window. The layer(s) will be added to your project and appear in the Layers list. By default, newly added layers will be hidden. Newly added layers will appear in a project's Layers list for all users.

6. Find your layer(s) in the Layer List and click the Show icon. The layer will be displayed on the map. Reference data layers may come with default symbology. See Symbolizing Data Layers for details on changing symbology. Layer order, symbology, and visibility are unique to each user.

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