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Location Data Knowledge Base

Data methodologies, and Release schedules.
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When using the Demographic Analysis tools in the Alteryx Designer there are two types of variables you’ll be able to utilize from the Allocate Engine: built-in and virtual variables. Built-in variables are the most granular demographic measures the engine offers and virtual (custom) variables are calculated from these built-in variables. If you’re interested in taking a look at the underlying formulas that constitute these variables, there are two ways to do so:   Through the Alteryx Data Products GUI   You can find the Alteryx Data Products Allocate Interface in your start menu   From here just locate your variable in the “Variables” tab   Then select “File” and “Variable Information”     The Allocate Metainfo tool In the Allocate Metainfo tool select “Variables”     After running the workflow, the list of variables in your chosen dataset will be output, along with their constituent formulas (if they are virtual variables) You can also create your own custom variables! For your reference, a list of demographic variables that are included in the Alteryx Data Packages can be found here.
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Read this alert if using the CAPE Population Summary report from Q1 2016 or Q2 2016!
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What we mean by "2015B" demographic estimate?
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Question I have CAPE installed and a newer version of a VGF (with updated names) is available in a new install.  I uninstalled that version of the data, ran the new install but the old VGF names are still visible.  I reran the install twice.  What am I doing incorrectly?  I notice when I run the install, the process happening more quickly than usual. Answer More than likely you have an incidence of Alteryx open (employing an Allocate tool) when running the install.  Alteryx can prevent files from being overwritten, especially when reinstalling data.  Before running a data install, close all open Allocate and Alteryx programs.  The closure should allow the updating to happen as expected.
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When you drag and drop an Allocate Report tool onto the Alteryx canvas or are browsing reports in the Alteryx Gallery, do you feel overwhelmed by the number of Allocate reports visible?  Your next question might be, "what's included in each report?"  The report name helps somewhat but not always and there isn't a listing in Help to guide you.    Attached is a spreadsheet on the available reports grouped by Type (List, Rank, Summary, Comparison) and displaying report name, description and check marks in columns for key content items (Age, Employment, Income, Retail Demand, etc.).   If you have questions or comments, feel free to contact    
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Here we are in 2015.  The 2010 Census is five years behind us and the 2020 Census is five years away.  Have you wondered about the next Census?  How will data be collected?  Will the questionnaire catch up with current technology?  What happens to non-responders?  Since much of our demographic data is based upon the results from each Census (whether from the Census Bureau or demographic vendors like Experian), I went looking on the Census Bureau's web site for a preview of coming attractions.  And I found a page at A cost-effective 2020 Census answering my questions.    The decennial Census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. If you answered the Census in 2000, you took black/blue pen to paper for either a short or long-form questionnaire. No Internet access back then.  In 2010 you still used a black/blue pen on paper and answered 10 simple questions even though the Internet was integrated in much of our day-to-day life.  Are we relegated to a black/blue pen on paper to answer the 2020 Census Questionnaire?  Based on information at, the next Census will encourage self-response via the Internet.  Nice!  And for those who do not respond, other existing governmental data may be used as a supplement.  This equates to cost reductions with fewer physical offices, fewer staff and less followup with non responders.  In 2010 there were 500+ Census offices and more than 750,000 staff on the ground.  The 2020 Census may have as few as 150 Census offices and 200,000 staff on the ground.   Technology may also influence another component of the U.S. Census - the Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) database.  These are reference maps, created for the Census, used to visualize geographic and statistical data.  Maps are the basis for companies such as TomTom who offer enhanced versions for licensing and inclusion in navigation products.  Alteryx users can find mapping layers in the Map Input, Reporting and Browse tools as backdrop references for spatial objects.   As referenced on, existing maps and address lists may be updated using technology, data and GPS to collect interviews efficiently.  In the past enumerators walked EVERY block in EVERY neighborhood in the United States gathering responses and information.  You can read more about the Census Bureau's 155-year history of mapping here:  155 years of mapping   From what I read, these changes have the potential to save taxpayer dollars, maintain a high level of accuracy and make responding to the Census easier.  So what happens next?  Testing these new processes began this year on a small-scale and national basis.  On April 1, 2017, Congress will be delivered the 2020 Census "topics."  On April 1, 2018, "question wording" will be delivered.  April 1, 2020 is Census Day!  On December 31, 2020 apportionment counts are delivered to the President.  Results of the Census were historically not instantaneously available but were released over a period of a few years.  But who knows what WILL be available in another 5 years. is an excellent resource for information on the Census, American Community Survey (ACS), geographies, news and events. 
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If you can't find the ZIP code you are looking for, it is likely that it is a ZIP point, ZIP codes are assigned to military basis, college campuses and other large facilities. These ZIP Codes are not registered by default, to be added to Allocate they have to be registered. For this you will need to have Admin rights to your computer to do this. If you don't, you could try right clicking on the Allocate product and selecting Run as administrator. If this does not work, you will need your IT to register the file for you. First, open the stand alone Allocate product (outside of Alteryx):                                                 Choose the dataset you are using in the first window:                       Next, go to the Pick Geography tab and go to File > Manage Virtual Geographies…                       The below window will pop up, click on Register:                                Go to the Program Files (x86)AlteryxDataProductsPortfolio[your dataset]Data folder (or the folder for the dataset you are using):                        And select the ZIPs with Points VGF files, click Open:                        You will see that the Zip Codes w/Points is now loaded in the list, click OK:                                  Allocate will say it needs to restart, click OK. Once open again, go to the Pick Geography tab and the Zip Codes w/Points is now selectable and will also be available in the Allocate tool within Alteryx.                       
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Census data is calculated based on census designated boundaries which range in increasing size from Blocks - Block Groups - Tracts - Counties - etc.  However, when solving most business issues, custom polygons are often used.  Since custom polygons almost never perfectly mirror Census Blocks, a method to subdivide Blocks must be created. Block Centroid Retrevial Alteryx utilizes Block Centroid Retrieval when allocating demographic data to irregular polygons such as custom radii, ZIP Codes, and custom trade areas.  For the US datasets, this retrieval is based on the centroids of the US Census 2010 Blocks.  Each record is tagged with the percent of the household and population it represents as a fraction of its associated block group.  Development changes in the years since the census are not reflected in this inventory of block centroids.   To address this requirement, Alteryx designed a methodological approach to update block groups to reflect areas of growth.  By utilizing the Experian household database of 127 million U.S. consumer households in conjunction with the Census Bureau, Alteryx has created additional points, within the block inventory dataset, utilized by Allocate to represent population and household growth during the time since the previous census.
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