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Making Data Work for Your Geospatial Challenges

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Anyone who has looked at flood data knows that FEMA is not the answer. It's not that FEMA doesn't try to accurately map what they believe to be floodable areas. It's that FEMA is politically driven. As a city, you do not have to participate in FEMA mapping. Why would you not participate? Well, properties in flood zones tend to have lower valuations, and lower valuations tend to generate lower taxes. Even as an individual you can exempt yourself with a LOMA. A LOMA establishes a property's location in relation to the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).  LOMAs are usually issued because a property has been inadvertently mapped as being in the floodplain, but it is actually on natural high ground above the base flood elevation.

Melissa customer wanted to sell flood insurance to prospects that were in flood zones but not likely to flood and not in flood zones but likely to flood. They had three primary targets, properties in 100 year flood zones that were not likely to flood, properties in a 500 year flood zone that were not likely to flood, and properties in FEMA minimal risk zones that were likely to flood. The customer realized that they needed a way to understand the current FEMA designation for the target properties but also have an independent flood likelihood evaluation of the property. For them, we created a sample set of customers utilizing HazardHub risk data that looked something like this:

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Then they created a targeted list by selecting B and C score prospects from the 100 year and 500 year flood plains and D and F score prospects from the minimal risk flood zones. This scoring and these selections are available nationwide and provided the customer with the ability to selectively target the types of customers that they were interested in from a risk exposure perspective. While this example discusses flood, this works for any natural hazard where properties are exposed, both personal property as well as commercial property.

If you have data challenges to solve, perhaps the Melissa team can offer the location intelligence solution needed. Melissa supports geospatial professionals in the goal of mapping innovation in location-based services, analytics and decision-making powered by location intelligence. We provide a wealth of location data enrichments including global geocoding to derive latitude and longitude from an address, and geo-enriched data for IP addresses. We offer other types of specialized data including U.S. property and mortgage data (type and number of buildings on a parcel, property age, construction, sales value, and more), demographics (household income, marital status, residence data, credit information, and more), and risk and natural hazard information (wind, water, ground and wildfire) that can be linked to location data to reveal relationships and trends. Our data feeds easily into popular data visualization and analytics platforms for ease of use and up-to-the minute accuracy. When you need to solve global challenges with geospatial technology, turn to Melissa - your single, trusted source for authoritative reference data. 

Written for Directions Magazine - Header Image via @directionsmag

 

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By Bud Walker, Vice President Sales & Strategy, Melissa 

Nobody has to be reminded that we're in the middle of hurricane season, certainly not if they live in Texas or Florida. They're personally going through the experience of living in the path of lots of wind and water.

For many others, however, including companies and communities, risk comes in many forms, with wind and water joined by such natural hazards as fire, hail, tornados and earthquakes. That's why I'm so excited about a new strategic partnership between Melissa and HazardHub, the leader in geographic risk data.

Our joint new Property Intelligence Solution gives users a way to assign natural disaster risk scores to every single property in the contiguous United States, specific to a natural occurrence. 

Just think of the impact here. Now, individual properties--business or homes--throughout the U.S. can be accurately scored for their risk of particular natural hazards. No more guessing about, "Is my business at pronounced risk of flooding?" or "To what degree is that community prone to tornadoes?" 

Let's see how it works. 

What Melissa brings to the equation is location intelligence. We're talking about things like address verification, geocoding and reverse geocoding, IP location, and U.S. property data enhancements on over 140 million U.S. properties.  

That includes parcel and building information, calculated value, homeowner and mortgage information, sales history and more. In fact, Melissa compiles in real time about 165 different metrics on individual residential or commercial properties.  

HazardHub, in turn, brings to this powerful dataset precise calculations of risk from flooding, wildfire, lightning strikes, straight-line winds, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, damaging hail and more, drawing on such sources as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Geological Survey, state and local governments, and many others. 

What Melissa has done by partnering with HazardHub is to create a single platform for understanding precise property risk for all these types of hazards, and with a precise risk score assigned for any property.  

Data like this, and its accompanying analysis, can vastly improve safety, reduce insurance costs and help drive smarter property decisions.

Think about it:

 ·         Knowing whether or not properties are in a flood, tsunami, fire or earthquake zone can  help businesses better forecast their stocking and customer service needs, including protective and recovery products tailored to specific locations.

·         It can help communities better understand how to allocate disaster resources in advance, such as fire fighters, police and first responders, as well as evacuation shelters.

·         Home and business owners can better decide not only where to live and work but also how to prepare for eventualities, for themselves, employees and families.

 ·         Health care systems can more precisely target those areas--neighborhoods, blocks or even specific buildings--with precise types of services based on risk scores.

·         Private flood insurance presents a significant opportunity for insurers that at last now have the right tools for precisely understanding this type of risk.

And don't think this risk-scoring is a simple or obvious job--you know, like "Yeah, we got it: Florida gets hurricanes and Kansas gets tornadoes!"

Not all coastal properties have the same risk from storm surges, for example. Straight-wind storms are complicated things, arising only in areas where warm moist air meets cooler air sweeping southward. Insights into the possibility of earthquakes derive from complicated measurements of peak ground acceleration measuring ground shaking measured in units of gravity. Fire protection risk scores come from a municipality polygon file to determine in/out and a geospatial call to the fire stations available from the Google points-of-interest (POI) API interface.

I think you get the idea.

We're talking about a interactive combination of deep data analytics, hard science and decades of statistics ... a great step forward in understanding our world and how to be better prepared to live and work in it.

Melissa's property intelligence tools and services are available as software, on-premises and Web APIs, with integrations for numerous third-party platforms, and batch service processing. I hope you get a chance to check it out and the following: http://www.melissa.com/product-index.html.

Bud Walker is Vice President, Sales & Strategy, at Melissa, responsible for managing the strategic vision and next generation capabilities of the Melissa's Data Quality tools and services. He can be reached at bud.walker@melissa.com.

Global IP New Features - Proxy Identification

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Melissa is proud to announce new features for our IP Locator web service. Update 4.0.0.29 introduces the ProxyType and ProxyDescription response fields, that can help identify if the IP is currently under a proxy. These new additions come with no additional subscription or change in request formatting, so make sure your system takes advantage of these new features.

 

ProxyType introduces what kind of proxy an IP is under, if any. The proxy can help give information on reliability of the IP's metadata. For example, it can be said that anonymous proxies are definitively unreliable and can show that the metadata can be useless. Corporate proxies, on the other hand, are more likely to be reliable. Make sure to check an IP's Proxy to ensure the information you are checking is valid.

 

ProxyDescription expands on the details for the ProxyType. For example, a hosting proxy can be used for the purposes for DNS validation or personal VPN needs.

 

Along with ProxyType and ProxyDescription, Update 29 also introduces a new result code 'IS03' that appears when the IP is under a proxy. A recommended practice is to check the results if it contains IS03, then move to examining the contents of the two fields, ProxyType and ProxyDescription.

 

Head on over to our official IP Proxy wiki for more details on the new proxy fields. Our sample code is also updated with the new fields, so be sure to test out the new features.

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