I love that Zillow just…

…opened up their neighborhood boundary data.

Having lots of experience dealing with graphical files of this nature (I was once considered a GIS-expert back in my engineering/planning days), I am positive that Zillow will have a massive amount of work on their hands should they start to get any data files returned with different definitions from users, but the idea is great.

One question for someone who has the tools to play with the data.   Are their neighborhood definitions free-form or are they based on an existing geography like zip codes or census block groups?

(Thanks Jon for the find!

8 responses

  1. Dustin-

    Leave it to a company with millions and millions of dollars (and a couple of employees) at there disposal to do what I have been trying to do with our Madison, WI real estate blog for some time now. At this point we only have a few Waunakee neighborhoods done using Google maps but it has been in the plans to continually add more. Looks like they will be focusing on larger cities like Madison, WI and not getting to the smaller communities for a bit at least. I think that I will keep doing our own thing here for now but will definitely keep an eye on what they are doing.

    Real Estate like we all know is local in nature. Community and neighborhood boundary maps just seems to make sense for someone searching online.

  2. Dave Balaishis Avatar
    Dave Balaishis

    Based on a quick look in the California shapefile, I think they’ve used a combination of both pinning the boundaries to census tracts and major roads and freehand drawing in some cases – but it varies from location to location, so I’m not sure whether the co-relation with census tracts was deliberate, or just a function of the fact that tracts are defined to follow the same features and commonplace boundaries.

  3. “Are their neighborhood definitions free-form or are they based on an existing geography like zip codes or census block groups?”

    As Dave mentioned, a little of both. When we started the exercise of mapping these neighborhoods, we definitely tried to get them to conform to census tract boundaries — but we found that in many cities, neighborhood boundaries cut across census tracts. So there is definitely some freeform boundaries, which we tried to map to streets where possible.

  4. This is great news! I think I could really use this as I was trying to think of a similar way I could do this with a user-built system. Now it should be much easier to classify. If only I still had ArcGIS!

    Zillow is officially on my cool list now.

  5. […] this kind of valuable geo-data to the wild. It’s way above my head, but I’m sure someone out there will have some ideas on how to use […]

  6. Just to let everyone know… If you’re looking for a mapping/imaging expert in the real estate space, then Dave is the man!

    I may have provided some inspiration for mapping products at Move, but Dave is the person who took my chick-scratch ideas and turned them into useful products on numerous occasions! .

  7. I know it may not be as “cool” as giving things away, but Maponics will pay you for your neighborhood boundary work:

  8. Thanks Darrin for stopping by… It’s definitely an interesting approach that you’re taking to getting neighborhood data!

Leave a Reply