What is PolicyMap?
PolicyMap is a fully web-based online data and mapping application that gives you access to over 37,000 indicators related to demographics, housing, crime, mortgages, health, jobs and more. Data is available at all common geographies (address, block group, census tract, zip code, county, city, state, MSA) as well as unique geographies like school districts and political boundaries. Data comes from both public and proprietary sources. Many of the public files are available for download for free.
Through PolicyMap, you can access all data in interactive maps, tables, charts, reports and through our unique analytic tool. You can also upload your own address level data and share your data and interactive maps with anyone, anywhere.
You can access the online PolicyMap application by going to www.policymap.com. Some of the data and functionality in the application is available for free; for the proprietary data and our powerful tools, you must be a subscriber.
In addition to individual or group subscriptions, we are also offer university library site licenses, interactive embeddable maps, widgets, and a Data API to pull data directly into your web application.
Is PolicyMap a part of The Reinvestment Fund?
Yes, PolicyMap is a division within The Reinvestment Fund.
Who else is using PolicyMap and what are they using it to do?
Almost 25,000 people are using PolicyMap as either free, basic users or paying subscribers. Users are drawn to PolicyMap for the data, for the tools (mapping, reporting and analytical) and for the ways that PolicyMap can provide data and mapping on their own site. To learn more about how some companies and organizations are using PolicyMap, visit our Client Stories page.
Where can I sign up for a live demo?
We give standard demos/trainings four times per week. To see the schedule and sign up for one of these sessions, visit our Help Page here. If you have a large group and would like a private demo, we can arrange for that as well. Just contact us and we will be in touch.
Where is PolicyMap located?
The PolicyMap team is located in Philadelphia; the developers at 3D-L, Inc. are located in Los Angeles. The application itself sits on the Amazon EC2 cloud.
How long has PolicyMap been in existence?
We publicly launched PolicyMap in May of 2008.
Why did you build PolicyMap?
TRF has long believed that good data drives good decisions and wanted to make good data available to more people through the web. PolicyMap acts as both a source for up-to-date market information and as a tool for strategic planning. It is an efficient and cost-effective means of providing organizations with market data services. PolicyMap allows you to access all of the information you need about a place without having to visit multiple websites or task expert staff with collecting and analyzing data. Uploading your own data allows you to leverage it with our trusted data, giving you a completely self-service online GIS tool.
Is PolicyMap a nonprofit? And, if so, why do you charge for some of your services?
Yes, PolicyMap, as a part of The Reinvestment Fund, is a nonprofit. When we decided to build PolicyMap, we knew we needed to create a self-sustaining business model. That model started out as a subscription-based service where we would try to give out some data and tools for free while charging for others. We've also expanded our offerings to include widgets, a Data API and custom application builds.
I've heard about your supermarket study of food access. How can I get access to this data?
We offer a subset of this data for free, but for the detailed information, including leakage rates, you'll need a subscription. Simply call us once you've subscribed, and we'll get you set up to see the data. It's available by request only.
I'm not sure which indicators I should be looking at to get a snapshot of my area of interest. Can you help?
We are frequently asked this question and, in response, we offer a quick report, our Community Profile, that allows all of our standard and premium subscribers to see quick facts and trends about their area of interest—be it a county, city, neighborhood, or collection of census tracts. Check out a sample here.
Subscription Services and Pricing
What do I get for free on PolicyMap?
For FREE, you can:
- Access all of the public data available in PolicyMap through maps and tables;
- Download much of the public data as csv files in order to conduct your own analysis;
- Save or print maps as high resolution PNG or JPEG files to incorporate in your own work;
- Embed fully interactive maps (complete with source information, legend and title) on your own webpage;
- Email maps to colleagues;
- Save your work into your MyPolicyMap account or on your hard drive as PDFs.
You do need to register on the site to take advantage of these tools, but registration is FREE.
What do I get in a subscription?
For either a monthly or annual fee, you get access to all of the data PolicyMap has to offer, including:
- Home sale stats and trends down to the blockgroup;
- Nationwide school performance test scores school-by-school.
- Unique analytics including low access food areas
In terms of features, you can:
- Upload and share your own data to view on maps and summarize in tables;
- Customize your maps by setting your own value cut points;
- Access our customizable reports that provide a snapshot of up-to-date demographic and economic information, as well as trends in your community;
- Create detailed analytics which allow you to create crosstabs (layering) of up to three datasets.
For the additional cost of becoming a Premium Subscriber, we will upload additional data for you to PolicyMap and build up to three mapping widgets for your website.
An annual standard subscription provides up to 5 people access; an annual premium subscription provides up to 10 people access. Users do not have to be from the same organization within a subscription.
What are the types of subscriptions you offer, and how much does each cost?
Both types of subscriptions, Standard and Premium, give you access to all of the data and tools available in PolicyMap. Proprietary data include home sale statistics from Boxwood Means, demographic estimates and projections from Nielsen (formerly Claritas), transit lines from Urban Mapping, and school performance information from Great Schools. Subscriber tools include the ability to upload and share point level data, generate reports, create and save custom regions, conduct analyses and rank geographies by indicator. You can purchase a Standard Subscription for 1 month for $200, or for one year for $2,000 (a savings of $400). You can purchase a Standard Subscription online by simply using your credit card. An annual standard subscription is for up to 5 people.
A Premium Subscription gives you (and up to 10 people total) the additional ability to send the PolicyMap team data for upload into the application on a quarterly basis. Additionally, as a part of your premium subscription we will create up to 3 "widgets" or interactive mapping tools for your website. These will be delivered to you as an iframe code that you can embed directly on your site. Unlike the embeddable map which gives you a single interactive map for your site, the widget allows you to provide your visitors with up to 15 indicators in a mapping tool (including point level data), set filters, custom break points and more. Premium Subscriptions start at $5,000 annually.
To find out how others are using their Premium Subscription, visit our Client Stories page. To learn more about the pricing, please visit our Pricing page.
We also offer site licenses for university libraries. Pricing for these licenses is based on FTE, please contact us for more details.
All of this information and a pricing chart for subscriptions, is available in a downloadable PDF here.
Can I try out PolicyMap before making the decision to buy?
Absolutely, just sign up for the 7-day free trial and you can explore everything PolicyMap has to offer.
Do you also offer site licenses?
Yes, we offer site licenses. University libraries can get site licenses to PolicyMap so that any authorized user of the library can access PolicyMap. Annual license fees are based on FTEs within the university. Pricing for university licenses are available here.
If you are an organization, agency or company interested in a site license, contact us, pricing varies on these.
What kinds of "customized" services can you provide PolicyMap users?
We provide the following types of custom services:
Data Analysis: TRF can run unique data analyses for you and load the results into PolicyMap. When we load the analysis, you can choose to keep it password protected for your own use or choose to share with an identified group of users or the full public. It is up to you. We can also deliver your analysis as an iframe that you can embed in your own webpage in order to provide interactive maps (widget) to your website visitors.
Custom Reports: We can create a custom report that will allow you to run a report of your own choosing for any geography in the nation.
Customized Widgets: If you want interactive maps (a widget) on your website, perhaps with added features or tools, we can build that for you.
Private Labels: Looking for something more robust than a widget? Call us to talk about private label options.
Data API: If you would like to have us feed some of our data into your web application, you can do that by accessing our Data API. Some of the proprietary data is not available through the API, so please contact us to talk more about the data you'd like to access.
Can you load data for me and how much will it cost?
There is no limit to the amount of data you can upload and share through PolicyMap's uploader feature!
If you are a Premium Subscriber and want to send us data for upload, the cost of uploading your data is included in the price of your subscription, which starts at $5,000 a year for 10 users. There are some limits to the amount you can upload within the subscription. Going over the limit simply means we will need to charge a fee. If you have specific questions regarding a large dataset you'd like to load or if you have a dataset that you'd like to have us feed directly into the application, just contact us to talk more.
Is there a limit on the number of points I can upload myself as a standard subscriber?
No, there is no limit to the number of points you can upload with our data uploader.
I have a dataset that I'd like to see visually in a map and then share that map with others. Can I do that using PolicyMap?
Yes. Standard Subscribers can load point-level data using our data loader. Premium Subscribers can send us larger, more complicated files and we'll upload that data on their behalf. This data can be shared with anyone you choose.
Couldn't I do all of this on Google Maps?
You could do some of the mapping we offer on Google Maps — like embed point level datasets into an interactive map on your website. However Google Maps can only display a few dozen points on the map at a time, while PolicyMap can display an unlimited number. Also, PolicyMap combines this display of points with access to 37,000 indicators of relevant thematic data, as well as many reporting and analytical tools.
If I subscribe for 1 month and upload data, will I be able to see it when my subscription expires?
Yes, the data you upload is always associated with your username. When you log back in with your username and password, PolicyMap will recognize you as a basic user, but you will be able to see any data you uploaded. You will be able to edit the dataset and add new datasets when you renew your subscription.
How should I format an address to ensure the best chance of geocoding it?
We have a lot of information on the best way to format data. Visit our Help page to learn more.
Can I download data?
Yes, much of the public data we make available in PolicyMap is downloadable through our Table Feature. We are prohibited from making the proprietary data downloadable.
What is the simplest way to buy a subscription?
If you want to buy a Standard Subscription, you can purchase one on our site using your credit card. Once approved, your access will begin immediately.
If you want to buy a Premium Subscription, we'll need to sign a subscriber agreement and invoice you for the subscription. Once the agreement is signed, however, we can begin your subscription. (We trust that you'll pay us when you get the bill.)
How can I upgrade from a free basic user to a subscriber?
To upgrade from a Basic User to a Standard Subscriber, just go to the Pricing page on PolicyMap and enter your username and password in the Upgrade/Renew box on the left.
How can I renew my subscription?
To renew your subscription, just go to the Subscriber page on PolicyMap and enter your username and password in the Upgrade/Renew box on the left.
Do you offer a discount price to nonprofits?
At this time, we do not. The only discount we offer is for students. You can see our Student Pricing Page to learn more.
Can I buy subscriptions in bulk and get a discount?
Yes, we have on occasion negotiated the purchase of bulk Standard Subscriptions with foundations and large, national organizations. Just contact us if you'd like to talk about how this might work.
Can organizations share a single subscription?
Yes, organizations can share a Subscription. Under this arrangement, one person from each organization would get access to PolicyMap and one person within the group would be named the data contact for PolicyMap. All conversations between PolicyMap and the group would take place with that data contact.
How secure is my credit card information?
Your credit card information is as secure as it gets. First, PolicyMap receives no record of credit card information. Our bank uses Cybersource to process encrypted credit card information over the web. And, in order for us to use Cybersource, we are tested every quarter by Security Metrics "to ensure that high security standards are maintained".
Can I pay for my subscription by check?
Sure. Just click on the "Subscribe" button from our homepage and after you fill in your information, select "Check" as your payment method. You'll get an email confirming your purchase with an address for sending the check.
Can you send me an invoice?
Yes. If you are buying a Standard Subscription and need an invoice, just contact us. If you are buying a Premium Subscription, click on Premium Subscription from the Pricing page and fill out the information. We'll send you an agreement and an invoice.
Do you offer an institution-wide site license or access across a public library branch system?
At this time, we cannot offer a public library a site license to PolicyMap, given the restrictions on some of our data.
Where do you get your data from and how often is it updated?
Our data comes from over 45 public sources and 20 proprietary sources. As it is updated by the source, we update it for you in PolicyMap. You can see a full listing of our datasets and the frequency with which each is updated by visiting our data directory page.
How do I get updates to your data?
As we update the data in the PolicyMap platform, you automatically have access to it when you login. There is nothing for you to download or install. All you need to do is remember your login information (and if you forget that, just contact us). If you have a PolicyMap widget on a site or are accessing our Data API, that is always updated automatically.
Where can I find more detail about the data available in PolicyMap?
Our data directory contains information and links to the source information for all data in PolicyMap.
Do you have detailed questions beyond what the data directory provides? Just contact us.
Usage Terms and Restrictions
Why does my username need to be my email address?
Your access to PolicyMap is tied to your email address so that you can store saved documents in your MyPolicyMap account and save/print PDFs, JPEGs and PNG files. All print jobs are sent to your inbox using your email address. Using someone else's email address means you won't be able to access your printed work.
Can I share my username and password with others in my office or elsewhere?
How do I cite PolicyMap if I use one of your maps or tables in my work?
Information on how to cite PolicyMap is located on our home page. You can also read it here.
Are you going to sell, rent, or distribute my personal information?
Absolutely not. Your personal information only helps us to learn more about the fields in which users work. We will use your email address only to get in touch with you or to send you updates regarding new features or tools in PolicyMap. That's it.
The widget is an interactive map of multiple layers (up to 15) and points datasets (up to 5) that you embed in your webpage. Generally, Premium Subscribers use widgets to showcase their own data in interactive maps on their webpages. Their widget might include some of PolicyMap's basic data supplemented with their own locally collected data. See examples here.
Why can I embed maps for free, yet I have to pay for a widget? Aren't they the same thing?
An embed map is an interactive map of one layer that you can embed in your webpage or blog. You can, for example, embed a map of population in Dayton, Ohio or high-cost loans in Miami on your page for free. You can choose from any of the public maps available in PolicyMap. That embedded map has a legend, title and source and is interactive. Pan around, zoom in. It all works. Learn more here.
The widget is an interactive map of multiple layers (up to 15) and points datasets (up to 5) that you embed in your webpage. Generally, Premium Subscribers use widgets to be able to showcase their own data in interactive maps on their own webpages. So their widget might include some of PolicyMap's basis data supplemented with their own individually collected data. See examples here.
Can I see examples of your maps on other websites?
Sure. Visit our client stories to see how others are using PolicyMap and to find links to our maps on other websites.
How do I embed a map or widget on my website or blog?
When you create a map in PolicyMap and then select "embed" from the purple bar beneath the map, you'll receive a line of code to embed on your page. That is all there is to it. For the widget, we'll send you an iframe code once we build your widget. That will behave the same way. If you don't know what to do with the iframe code, whoever manages your site certainly will. Learn more about widgets. Learn more about embedding maps
What is your Data API?
The Data API is what we use to deliver data to your web application. If, for example, you already provide your website visitors with Google or Bing maps, you can use our API to pull thematic data into your own maps. Learn more.
How much does it cost to use your API?
Pricing varies and depends on what data you'd like to license through the API, the amount of traffic you expect your maps to receive and whether or not your site is open to the public or password-protected.
I have questions about your API. Who should I call?
You can reach us at our toll-free number (866-923-6277) or contact us for more information.
Which web browsers work for PolicyMap?
PolicyMap works on all web browsers, except Internet Explorer 6. If you are currently using Internet Explorer 6, you should upgrade to a higher version.
I can't access PolicyMap from my office. What should I do?
Some organizations have firewalls in place that prohibit access to PolicyMap. We have some advice on our blog page that should resolve any issues. If you are still having problems, just call us. We are happy to talk to your IT office.
Why can't I print out one of the aerial photos you have from Google?
Google prohibits the printing of their maps from an application like this. If this changes, we will certainly pass on the ability to print aerials to you.
Check out our blog for more tips on using PolicyMap.