Getting our there to maintain the assets of busy working people is a fertile – and potentially lucrative – area for the service sector, either directly or on a franchise model basis. We’re increasingly being asked whether we can help quantify the potential market for a given geographic area. As usual, the answer is broadly “yes”!

At the simplest level, you could do this yourself. Here we’ve simply inspected a freely available aerial image and tried to identify any property which has a pool of some sort – the blue squares – the dots are included to give an idea of how many properties there are in a typical Aussie suburb, there are 978 here. We spotted 21 likely pool properties – or 2.15%. Print it off, and off we go on the bike with our “local pool cleaning service” flyers!

Quick and easy – visual inspection approach..

Of course, if your aim is more ambitious – whole suburbs, postcode areas or cities, the task becomes a little more daunting and that’s where we might be of assistance.

Here we’ve taken the sample above and extrapolated the numbers to the entire postcode.

We can provide the household numbers from the most recent Census, or as here perform a more accurate up-to-date address count..

There are also options to process aerial / satellite imagery to extract such information. Of limited value for pools as the techniques depend on digital spectral or thermal signatures and pools come in many colours and temperatures. Panels perhaps a little more scope, though again varying inclinations and bearings are problematic for automated approaches. We wouldn’t generally recommend it as the imagery must be bought and then processed (sorry, images from Google / Bing don’t have the necessary separate channels required for analytical image processing).

Possibly the best option is to pay for third party commercial data already assembled to support such objectives. We used a sample from a national provider and integrated it with our national address database, to produce this informative summary.

Optimum solution to counting solar panels or swimming pools..

A full size A3 version of this map is available for download. Of course there are additional costs involved with such an approach. The third party data must be paid for up-front; as yet, those prices are not published, but are based on geographical area of interest and turnover. We can get you a price with those two variables and as always MapMakers Australia do not add a margin to third party costs.

With these two examples, it is clear there will be significant variation in the rates of pool installation, depending where in the country we’re looking. For example, if we were to extrapolate to an urban postcode a short distance away in metropolitan Adelaide, also with approximately 22,400 homes, but using the local sample installation rate of 8.6%, the number of potential pool clients would be 1,926 – a much more attractive business proposition than the 482 for the Melbourne metro postcode of 3806 using the local installation rate of 2.15%! Similar variations will no doubt apply to the uptake of rooftop solar panels.

As is almost always the case, many ways to skin the cat and as usual when leveraging digital spatial data, you tend to get what you pay for!