Data Updates – Frequently Asked Questions
How will data updates affect my saved Scenarios?
Scenarios always reflect the most current data. Thus, if you create a Scenario in May and your store layer and demographics get updated in June, when you open your Scenario in July the map will display data as of the June update. However, reports are a snapshot in time. If you last ran your report in May it will continue to show May data. Re-running the report will be necessary to reflect the latest data. It is recommended that you download reports and maps so you can always look back at previous time periods.
How will data updates affect my models?
Models, like Scenarios, always reflect the latest data. If demographics change in an area or a new sister store or competitor is added, it is conceivable that your forecasts will change. Models are based on assumptions about what will happen in the future. By updating data, these assumptions are evolving and improving. Just as forecasting tomorrow’s weather is more accurate today than it was two weeks ago due to better data, the expectation is that SiteSeer models should reflect the best data known at the time you run the model.
How do I evaluate and learn from the past if my data is always updating?
Unfortunately, due to the complexities of managing countless historical datasets and licensing limitations imposed by our data partners, SiteSeer is unable to provide the means to revisit the past. We highly recommend that users use SiteSeer’s reports and maps to archive their work. Thus, if a company executive wishes to see what assumptions were used when a model was run three years ago, one can easily produce the history. If you wish to attempt to recreate a historical snapshot, it can be done with some work. If a site is now a store, it will be necessary to un-open (close) the store. Competitive data can also be changed to reflect the stores that were open in the past. Closing and moving stores can be accomplished through the Location Editor found on the Sites tab (pencil icon). Changing other model metrics such as site characteristics, demographics and population will depend on the permissions made available to you during modeling.
I changed my trade area, will that change my reports and models?
Trade areas are a means for aggregating data surrounding a site or store. A primary trade area (PTA) rule usually represents the area where 70-80% of one’s customers come from (or in the case of sites, where customers are expected to come from). Users can change the trade area for a Site using one of the many tools found on the Trade Areas menu. Whether changing the default trade area for a site will change your reports or models will vary. Typically models will use the trade area rule, even if you change it. This is to maintain the purity of the model. Otherwise, users would be able to manually increase the size of the trade area in order to increase a forecast. If you have not discussed with your modeler the ability to override trade area rules in your model, then it is most likely that any trade areas you create are not utilized by the model. Most reports are designed to allow you to select your trade area at the time you run the report. For example, you might have a 10 minute trade area on your map, but choose to run demographics for 1,2 and 3 mile radii. Unlike models, when you are prompted to choose a trade area for your report, it will use the trade area that is displayed on your map at the time you run the report.
The drive time engine changed since last time I opened my Scenario, are my models obsolete?
Unlike custom-drawn and radii trade areas, drive time trade areas use a software algorithm to calculate how far a person could drive/cycle/walk within a given period of time, given certain driving conditions. These “isochrone” boundaries are an estimate based on average conditions – and thus they can be woefully optimistic during rush hour and conservative if your customer visits late at night or hits a stretch of light traffic and green lights. Like any model or dataset, the rules of the drive time engine will change as new roads are added or speeds of roadways increase or decrease. Thus, it is probable that a 10 minute trade area created at one period in time, will look different when one creates that same 10 minute drive time at a future date. In most cases, these adjustments are minor and occur on the edges of the trade area. Likely, then, 90% of the trade area – the core part of the trade area – will be unchanged, even if the edges of the drive time pull further down the highway or add neighborhoods on the periphery. These changes can be enough to change a forecast, but most models can learn and adjust from these changes (machine learning) and others are likely not sensitive enough to dramatically change a forecast (scorecard/hot spot). However, like all data updates, one should plan accordingly before and after updates and it is recommended that models are updated periodically to ensure they are accurate given ever-changing data.
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