Target Groups

All license levels of Population Explorer, include Target Groups and Items, as these are key features of our tool. Target Groups are a way of organizing your data collections within Population Explorer. They can contain boundaries, custom shapes, and labeled markers.

Target Groups are displayed on the left hand panel under the "My target groups" section. Each Target Group can be collapsed or expanded for access while working on a particular part of your project.

Add Target Groups by selecting “+ Add target group." 

NOTE: You can hide Target Groups by selecting the eye shaped icon to their right. This is a handy way to clean up your interface if it gets crowded.


To pull data from the Population Explorer interface, the user must first define an area on the map. Items are used to help the user define their area of interest. 

You can easily add items by navigating to your desired Target Group and clicking "+ Add item"

Within Population Explorer you can add the following items

  • Add marker - add a marker directly to the map to identify a place of interest. Markers can be labeled and given descriptions 

  • Buffer around point - add a point and define a radius buffer distance around that point. This is helpful for determining populations around business locations.

  • Buffer around line - “add a line and a buffer distance from that line. This is especially helpful for determining populations around a roadway or coastline. 

  • Draw shape - create a custom boundary by drawing directly on the map. This is helpful for determining the population within an area.

  • My shapefiles - upload a custom boundary you found online or created in another program. Useful for determining the populations within zip codes areas, municiple boundaries, or natural disasters. 

  • My marker files - upload markers from a CSV file. This is useful for quickly identifying your business locations for example. 

  • Choose boundary - leverage our extensive database of ready-to-go boundary files based on various administrative, national, and subnational boundaries from around the world.

NOTE: To use My shapefiles or My marker files items, you must first upload these files to your My Data section.




To get started, here is a quick example of how to place a simple buffer.

  • Step 1. Expand the My target groups section

  • Step 2. Select > + Add target group. 

  • Step 3. Under your newly created target group, select > + Add item. The add item menu will appear to the right

  • Step 4. Select the item: > Buffer around point

  • Step 5. As you scroll your cursor over the map, you will now notice that you are dragging a buffer. Simply place the buffer over your location of interest and adjust the radius to your desired distance. Click > Add

Putting it all together


For the use case below, we have four business locations in the California Bay Area. Our goal is to understand the total Bay Area population living within 5km of our business locations.


Step 1. Define the business locations

  • Create a Target Group. For this example we will call it "Store Locations." This group will serve to hold our Marker points. 
  • Use the Add Item menu to select "Add marker" and place a marker on the map for each of four business locations. This can be done by dragging and dropping the marker on the map, or by entering coordinate data in the latitude and longitude fields.

Step 2. Buffer around the business locations

  • Next, create another Target Group. For this example we will call it "Location Buffer." This group will serve to house the buffers around each coordinate point placed in the previous step. 
  • One the Target Group is created, use the Add Item menu to select the Buffer Around Point tool. You can place the buffers by dragging and dropping on the map, or by entering coordinate data in the latitude and longitude fields. 
  • Once the buffer is placed, make sure to adjust the radius to 5km, and click Add. We can now see the population within the radius of the business location.
  • Replicate this process for each of the four business locations. 

Step 3. Analyse the data

  • Once all four buffers have been placed, we simply select the target group "Location Buffers" to highlight all the boundaries within the group. The population statistics displayed at the bottom of the interface are the summation of all the buffers. (NOTE: the PopEx App automatically corrects for overlapping boundaries, so no need to worry about double counting). 
  • You can also download the data as an Excel file for further analysis. Common use cases include age and gender percentage comparisons, or comparing with other business territories.