Building Footprint : Definition and Why Businesses Need It

Building Footprint : Definition and Why Businesses Need It

Building footprint is a valuable tool for businesses looking to gain insights into a building or its surrounding conditions. When combined with external data, such as mobile data, it can provide valuable insights across various industries like real estate, retail, urban planning, and insurance. In this article, we will provide a detailed look at building footprint, including its definition, acquisition methods, and benefits for businesses.


What is Building Footprint?

In mapping, a building footprint refers to the polygon on a map that outlines the physical boundaries of a structure. It includes information about the size, shape, and location of the building.

Building footprint is more than just simple Point of Interest (POI) data. The polygons in building footprints distinguish buildings from their surroundings, such as trees, parks, roads, and more.

Building footprint is different from building area. While building footprint visualizes a building’s shape and the amount of space it occupies in its environment, building area merely visualizes the overall size of the building.

Using relevant data, building footprint also provides insights into whether a building is a standalone entity or part of another structure.

How to Get Building Footprint Data

There are several ways to obtain building footprint polygons:


The first step is to visit a specific location and enter details about the building’s dimensions and location directly into the map. This helps avoid labeling errors, such as mistakenly identifying a parking lot as a residential house. However, it’s important to acknowledge that this method requires significant effort and time.

Creating polygons from satellite imagery

The next step involves creating polygons from satellite images, taking advantage of the greater availability of such images through open-source data platforms such as Bing Imagery. 

This method enables users to map out more buildings without the need for on-site visits. However, similar to the previous method, since users have to manually trace the outlines of each building on the map, this task also requires a significant amount of time.

Utilizing deep learning

Utilizing deep learning is another approach that can be taken. With this technology, it’s possible to create polygons that represent building footprints in different locations quickly. The current algorithms used for this process can identify buildings automatically with a level of precision that is comparable to human observation.

This approach is also useful for analyzing changes, such as examining changes in land use over time to determine if any buildings have been constructed or demolished. It is an invaluable tool for this type of analysis.

Benefits of Building Footprint for Businesses

In the business context, building footprint serves various purposes and meets different company needs, such as:

Understanding consumer patterns and behavior

Retailers can merge their building footprint with mobility data to grasp consumer patterns and behavior in specific locations.

This integration allows businesses to delve into consumer interactions, such as their proximity to the store, foot traffic volumes, and duration of store visits.

Consequently, this insight aids retailers in crafting advertising strategies or campaigns and better targeting potential consumers. Moreover, businesses can monitor how many of their customers visit competitor stores.

Property risk assessment

Building footprint polygons aid insurance companies in evaluating the risk factors associated with buildings and other properties. These firms need to identify potential areas where accidents or disasters may occur. For instance, they can assess buildings located near rivers to determine their vulnerability to flood damage.

By utilizing building footprints, businesses can assess and pinpoint the vulnerabilities of a location. This allows insurance companies to set appropriate premiums for such areas.

Network infrastructure planning

telecommunications companies can utilize building footprints to plan network infrastructure, strategically placing cell towers in remote or sparsely populated areas.

Businesses can achieve this by comparing tower construction plans with land availability and signal coverage from the towers.

Moreover, businesses must also consider other structures on the site, as the height and positioning of these buildings can impact signal transmission. Therefore, optimizing signal coverage with fewer towers becomes feasible.

Urban planning

In addition to network planning, building footprints can assist governments or private companies in urban land use planning.

Building footprints offer insights into the dimensions and land area occupied by buildings, enabling businesses to plan surrounding infrastructure like electricity, water pipes, pedestrian pathways, and more.

Regional planning also ensures that each building and infrastructure development does not excessively consume land, as open spaces are necessary for purposes such as playgrounds, green parks, and other amenities.

Leveraging LOKASI Intelligence to Identify Property Risks

Insurance companies can use LOKASI Intelligence to assess the risks associated with properties in a particular area. LOKASI Intelligence is a geospatial analytics and location intelligence platform designed to help businesses identify potential disasters or accidents in specific locations.

LOKASI integrates a range of datasets, including disaster records, crime statistics, socioeconomic indicators, Point of Interest (POI) information, and more. This wealth of data enables companies to accurately evaluate and customize insurance offerings based on the unique risk factors associated with specific locations.

Learn more about how LOKASI Intelligence can help businesses by contacting via email: [email protected] or WhatsApp: 087779077750.


What is building footprint?

Building footprints are polygons on a map that show the physical boundaries of a building.

How can business acquire building footprint polygons?

Building footprints data can be obtained through direct surveys, satellite imagery, or by utilizing deep learning techniques.

What are the benefits of building footprints for businesses?

Using building footprints offers businesses a range of benefits, including understanding consumer patterns, assessing property risks, planning network infrastructure, urban planning, and more.

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