Deep Insights

When calculating distances on maps, often we simply compute the ‘as the crow flies’ distance: the length of the straight line that links our origin and destination. For human-centric uses, this is rarely the correct approach as it ignores the fact that we cannot walk on water or pass through solid walls. Instead, we have to navigate among obstacles such as buildings and one-way streets. For many tactical business decisions, we need to use the distance someone would
actually have to walk or drive to get from A to B, which can dramatically change the results.

To solve these problems, we introduce isolines. Isolines are a way of measuring how far a person could realistically go from a location in a given time with all the buildings, streets, and other obstacles in their way taken into account. Since they can go in many directions, the lines are the boundary of the surface of all possible end points.

CartoDB’s Time and Distance Isolines is a strategic approach to routing that saves time and resources. This technology offers forward and reverse measurements of distance to accurately run calculations up to the minute and meter level of detail. Determine how long it takes to go to various location points via walking or driving using spatial data and the area covered by a specific distance to empower your business analysis and intelligence, instead of just knowing raw distance.

If augmented with other data such as age, income, or ethnicity, time and distance isolines help you understand behaviors, patterns, and trends. Click on any stop along the New York MTA’s ‘L’ line and our powerful interactive dashboard will refresh with real-time trade areas showing all key demographic aspects related to target users that fall within trade areas to be analyzed. This is essential for choosing whether to open a new business or branch, setting prices, optimizing your distribution channels, or knowing your target audience, and making strategic location-based decisions, among others.

Time and Distance Isolines functionality is in beta, and can currently only be used with Nokia HERE basemaps. In using the service, you agree to the HERE terms and conditions.

Contact us if you want to start using the CartoDB's Time and Distance Isolines:

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Start calculating trade areas on demand using tons of your business data for analysis and view it as one point or a polygon for optimum data and geospatial analysis.

Happy data analyzing!