Stratasan's Demographic Data: [The Many Reasons] Why We Use Esri

Stratasan's Demographic Data: [The Many Reasons] Why We Use Esri

By Jason Haley

One of Stratasan's most powerful assets is our demographic/psychographic data [check out our six-part Tapestry series here]. Using this data in tandem with our state, federal, and proprietary datasets we create actionable healthcare market intelligence from the block group level to the national level. What you might not know is that this annual demographic/psychographic data comes from Esri, the market leader in both GIS software and data. Most of our customers know that we use Esri for our demographic and psychographic data, but not everyone knows why.

The answer to this question is multifaceted. First, Esri ranks #1 in vendor accuracy. This means that of all the annual demographic datasets available, Esri's is the most accurate. Secondly, they have a large quantity of age/sex/race/psychographic variables within their data that cover more than 3,900 attributes. Third, Esri provides their data in GIS files compatible with ArcMap, also an Esri product, which Stratasan easily integrates into our map-based products. And finally, the data comes with Esri's psychographic masterpiece: their Tapestry segmentation data.

To better illustrate the aforementioned points, let's break them out individually and investigate what makes Esri’s datasets so great. After all, the proof is always in the pudding:

(SPOILER ALERT) Esri Data is #1 

In an effort to obtain an unbiased look at the quality of their demographic, consumer, and business data, Esri commissioned a blind, independent study to investigate the quality of their data and the data of four other vendors. These five datasets represented the best available options for annual demographic/psychographic data updates. 

Now before you raise your red flag claiming strong Esri bias within the study, let's examine how the study was conducted:

  • It was a blind study conducted by 4 credentialed researchers, experts in small area forecasts and measures of forecast accuracy
  • Data from each of the five major data vendors, including Esri, was benchmarked against results from the 2010 Census
  • The identities of the four other vendors were not, and will not be, revealed
  • The entirety of the study was conducted with US data from 5 geography levels: national, state, county, census tract, and block group.

These four pieces of key information reinforce that the study was not a publicity fluff piece. This was Esri choosing to go head-to-head with their competitors in a fair fight. When the dust settled and the results were published, Esri was the most accurate at EVERY geographical level.

This chart shows the precision scores for each data vendor by geography. The lowest score indicates the most precise data (the highest accuracy):

ESRI_DataAccuracy

The results here speak for themselves. Stratasan prides itself on being accurate. It's a no-brainer to go with the Esri data, and that's just the first reason we chose them to be our vendor! If you'd like to check out the study for yourself, you can find it here.

There Are Over 3,900 Variables At Every Geography:

Esri's demographic data has 1,682 unique data variables at every geography. In addition to this, their Tapestry/lifestyle/business data has around 650 variables. Finally, Esri makes 2010 Census and American Community Survey (ACS) available in their data as well. This combines to over 3,900 variables.

Furthermore, this data comes with a polygon and a centroid point layer for every standard geography. These geographies include: national, state, CBSA, county, ZIP code, census tract, and block group. The polygon versions of these layers allow us to make choropleth maps and run/symbolize analysis in our products. The centroid layers are useful and have powerful applications when looking at the number of people affected within a certain area, or to summarize large amounts of data based on a locational analysis.

Stratasan takes the large number of variables and their variations at every geography and plugs them directly into our products. This not only enhances all of our products, but also allows us to forge new and creative analyses with the many options the data provides.

You can find a list of all the available 2017 demographic data attributes here in PDF form.

The Data Comes In A GIS-Ready Format:

On top of being the most accurate and providing a wide variety of data attributes, the data comes in a GIS-ready format. We see this as the “cherry on top” of our high-end, artisanal data sundae. You might be asking yourself, “Why is this guy so excited that he compared data to ice cream!?! You don't mention ice cream unless something is REALLY good.” Well, this is as good as ice cream, let me explain why.

In addition to using Esri as our main demographic/psychographic data vendor, Stratasan uses Esri as our GIS software vendor. This means that we utilize data that is designed by the same company that makes our mapping platform. As you can imagine, this allows for near seamless integration, combined support, and increased productivity. And we don't use Esri's ArcGIS mapping platform only because of this. We use it because it's also the best mapping platform on the market.

For those of you keeping track at home, that's the best data AND the best mapping platform.

 It Includes Esri's Psychographic Tapestry Segmentation Data:

If you've ever talked to anyone on the Stratasan team you've probably heard us gush about Tapestry data [You can check out our six-part Tapestry series here]. Tapestry data is what tells us WHO your patients are, and informs us of behaviors within your markets. We are also able to run it in tandem with our proprietary datasets to create the analysis and results by which both our customers and our competitors know us.

If we’re still using the sundae example, the fact that Tapestry data comes included in the Esri deliverable would be like getting free reign at any sundae toppings buffet and as much of them as you'd like. Tapestry data is a valuable resource and is the Gummy Bear/Oreo crumb/Heath piece topping of Esri's dataset [These are my sundae topping preferences and do not reflect the sundae topping preferences of my employer. But, you should try it! ...In moderation of course!].

To conclude, Stratasan chooses Esri to be our demographic/psychographic data vendor because their data is the most accurate, provides a large amount of data fields in all of the standard geographies, it comes GIS-ready out of the box, and it includes their Tapestry dataset. For us, the decision was easy. Hopefully, you can agree after reading this. If you have any questions about Esri's data or what we do with it, feel free to contact me at jhaley@stratasan.com. I would be happy to answer any questions or comments you might have.

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Article by Jason Haley, Manager, Customer Success for Stratasan

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