With Smart Layers 1.0 (formerly known as Smart Columns) pulling demographics for a layer data set became super easy. 

With Smart Layers 2.0, we have added several exciting new capabilities to this powerful feature:

  • POI, Layer, and My Location counts within a defined trade area around all points in a layer, or within all shapes in a layer.
  • Proximity analysis to determine the closest POI, layer point, or My Location to all points or shape centroids in a layer, by either drivetime, drive distance or Euclidean distance. 

Why would I use Smart Layers?

There are countless applications for Smart Layers, but here are just a few you might want to try out:

  1. Visualize key demographic data alongside a 3-D view of your candidate sites. 
  2. Quickly calculate the number of stores your competitors have within each of your territories. 
  3. Look at the number of current store locations that fall within a 5km radius of a set of possible new store locations - avoiding cannibalization is key!
  4. Calculate drivetimes to the nearest coffee shop for a set of prospective office locations -- you have to keep your employees caffeinated!
  5. Find out which of your competitor's stores has the highest Daytime Population around it.

And the list goes on!

Using Smart Layers in PiinPoint

Smart Layers is a powerful tool that works with the following datasets in the platform:

  1. Demographics
  2. POIs
  3. Point-based Layers (both regular and candidate)
  4. My Locations

If you wish to use the feature with demographics or POIs, first ensure that that the variables, brands, and categories you look at are added to the Target Market and POI panels (POIs do not need to be turned on).

 ✅ Want to run Smart Layers on your territories or trade area network? Smart Layers is great for layers that contain drawn shapes.

  • POI, Layer, and My Locations counts will return information for any of those categories within the shape.
  • Proximity analysis will be run from the centroid of the shape.
  • Demographic analysis will be run on each individual shape

Now let's dive in!

STEP 1: [optional] If you wish to run a demographic analysis, add demographic variables 

Pop in a few variables to the Target Market Panel, like Total Daytime Population, family size, etc.

STEP 2: [optional] If you want to run POI counts or proximity analysis make sure the relevant brands or categories are added to your Points of Interest Panel.  

Note: they do not need to be turned on to select them in Smart Layers. 

STEP 3: Open your Layers panel and navigate to the layer set you would like to analyze. 

In this case, I'm looking at candidate locations for a new barbershop concept in Toronto.

For more information on creating or uploading Layers, check out our docs here and get set up.

3. Go into your Layer's Attribute Table.

This can be found to the left of your Layer name in the Layers panel:

4. Your Attribute Table will appear. Select the "Smart Layers" option within the table:

📙 Learn More

  • From the Attribute table, you can pan to a certain point, hide columns, edit the data, do a site tour and more. Learn all about the Attribute table in our docs here.

6. Click on the option to + Add Smart Column

7. Calibrate your Smart Layer. Check out the video below to see some of the options you have for analyzing your data.   


Remember how you picked different demographic variables or Points of interest earlier? Those selections will populate the corresponding drop-downs in Smart Layers.

You also have the option to run counts or proximity analysis for any point based layer or your My Locations (the whole set or a category). 

This gives you a tremendous number of options at your disposal.   

8. Click Confirm.

One you've set up the columns and saved the selections, you'll see the new column show up and it will calculate your queries for each point in the Layer.

🖥 Technical Note

If your results do not fully load in right away, do not fret! They are still loading in the background. You can always close the attribute table and they will keep loading in. You can even close PiinPoint and they will keep loading.  If you have any challenges, please let us know in the Chat or via e-mail to support@piinpoint.com.

Now What?

With your Smart Layers calculated, you can now:

  • Tour through any Layer and see critical data on each site.
  • Rank your set of points based on the calculated Smart Layers  e.g. highest to lowest population, closest to furthest coffee shop, lowest number of current locations in 10km ring
  • Export the data out of PiinPoint for more analysis

Editing Smart Layers

Let's say you add new locations to a column, and you'd like to recalculate the result for each custom column. Simply click on the calculator icon to recalculate the results:

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Still got a question about Smart Layers? Don't hesitate to contact your Customer Success Manager in the app or email support@piinpoint.com.

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