How custom regions work

Why are regions valuable?

Often we are interested in data not for a single place, but for a collection of them. For instance, we might want to define a service area composed of ZIP codes around our store, or neighborhoods that fit a particular demographic profile, or even all the states east of the Mississippi. Here are some examples of regions that Metopio users have created:

  • The target market for a new store
  • The service area for a hospital
  • Census tracts in the Hyde Park/Kenwood neighborhoods of Chicago
  • Rural counties
  • Congressional districts represented by the House Freedom Caucus

When you define a region, Metopio automatically calculates data for that region as a whole. For instance, you might be interested in the average income of people in your store's target market, and how that compares to your county or state as a whole. Metopio does this all for you.

Creating a service area

  1. Click on "Map" in the top header bar.
  2. Click on the button for "See all maps".
  3. Click on the button for "Custom regions".
  4. This will show you a list of all regions in Metopio that you're allowed to see. Click on the button "Create new region" to define your own service area.
  5. Give your service area a name and explain what it represents.
  6. Decide whether the service area should be viewable by anyone, only people trusted by Metopio, or only you.
  7. Define the geographic layer you'll use to build your service area, such as ZIP codes or counties.
  8. Use the drop-down box to add places to your service area. You can click and scroll through all the places in your geographic layer, or type in the box to find the ones you want. There is no limit on how many places you can include in your region, and they do not have to be contiguous.
  9. Click "Create" to define your service area.

Calculating service area data

When you first view your new service area, you'll see a message that data hasn't yet been calculated about it. You can view different topics in your service area, and see color-coded maps of the places in your service area, but not a value for the service area as a whole. To calculate this data, click on the link provided. (It may take a minute.)

End result

After these steps, you can see data for your service area. When you click on a topic, it will show the same map of your service area with the places color-coded by value, and it will also present the weighted average value for the service area, with a margin of error. Even better, it tells you where your service area ranks among all places in the geographic layer you built it from.

Metopio image
Example of a service area in Metopio with data at the ZIP code and service-area level.

Furthermore, you can view interactive charts of data about your service area, and compare your service area to county, state, and national benchmarks, as well as any other place in Metopio. You can even create charts showing multiple regions side-by-side!

Fine print: How does it work?

See this frequently asked question: How do you calculate data for regions?