October 23, 2018, by Erik Larson

Common Struggles Inherent to Local Data

Holes, suppressions, and formats – oh my!

When it comes to reporting economic, demographic and consumer information for sub-county areas, some problems are old and some are new.

An example of an old problem would be data suppressions: limits imposed by government reporting agencies that result in gaps and holes in the data. A new fangled problem would be things like virtual workplaces: is a virtual company (those with employees working in remote locations) still a business in the sense we've traditionally thought of them? How do you count this business compared to a brick-and-morter one?

Solving the complex entanglement of these kinds of old and new problems is inherently difficult. Geography adds further complication as the realities change place to place, and also with community size and makeup.

The rest of this post is focused on solutions to reporting local data. They aren't one-size-fits-all, but they can be tailored to any unique scenario.

Solutions For Local Data Reporting

EXPANDING DATA SOURCES: In Pursuit of Accuracy

With the pace of change in the world, it is nearly impossible to capture a perfect picture of the business community with data. But we can compute the best possible value. We've learned this in real-world client engagements here at eImpact, and then we productized the solution. The key is using multiple public and 3rd party data sources during the analysis phase, as opposed to relying on one "canonical" source and hoping for the best. Examples of data sources include providers of firmographic, business tenant and survey data.


From a team that pioneered analysis for thorny data issues ranging from voters to community health impact, eImpact's small area analysis is truly best-of-breed technology. Our technology alone, however, doesn't complete the solution. The accuracy and "fine tuning" is ensured by data experts dedicated to individual client projects. That means a name and a face you can rely on (not a support line).

DYNAMIC UPDATES: Doing Away With Stale Data

Though it is useful to measure data against a past baseline, we don't want our report to be a rearview mirror. As described above, the pace of change in the world means we need to refresh our data to represent the latest information available. We even added data forecasting to our technology so our clients can see potential future scenarios, and factor this into their plans.

A Live Example

Check out this local report example to get a feel for how eImpact delivers dynamic local data reports. Scroll the frame to view the whole report.

Interested in learning more?

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