Common Questions

Commonly Asked Questions

What are the different boundary types and definitions within the Parcl Labs API?

At Parcl Labs we believe context is everything. We have millions of geometry objects that span different definitions of areas. Our most commonly supported geometry objects fall into three primary tiers:

  1. MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area)
  2. Micro Area
  3. Places

We create real time residential real estate price feeds at many different levels of geography. A city is substantially different in size and market dynamics than a metropolitan statistical area. Most real estate stories are hidden due to reporting being done at too high a level of altitude.


The NY MSA is 32x larger than New York City

Most all real estate analytics/reporting is done at the NY MSA level. Far too wide of an area to understand what's happening within New York City, much less the 5 boroughs.

What is an MSA?

An MSA or Metropolitan Statistical Area, is a technical definition from Census. From Census:

The general concept of a metropolitan area (MA)1 is that of a core area
containing a large population nucleus, together with adjacent communities
that have a high degree of economic and social integration with that core.
An MSA consists of one or more counties that contain a city of 50,000 or
more inhabitants, or contain a Census Bureau-defined urbanized area (UA)
and have a total population of at least 100,000 (75,000 in New England).

In short, it's an area in most cases that have at least 50,000 inhabitants.

What is a Micro Area?

The Census definition:

Micropolitan statistical areas—or "micros"—are core based statistical areas (CBSAs) that provide a lens on small-town
America. Micros are delineated for use in collecting and publishing comparable statistical data across federal agencies. These
areas must contain a population concentration, or core, of at least 10,000 but less than 50,000 (while metropolitan statistical
areas must contain a population core of at least 50,000), and consist of the county or counties containing the core plus any
other counties with strong commuting ties to the core counties. Taken together, these requirements typically translate into a
small town and its surroundings.

What is a City?

A city is a subcategory underneath the places designation by the Bureau of the Census. Most places are incorporated.

An excerpt from Census:

The Bureau of the Census defines a place as a concentration of population;
a place may or may not have legally prescribed limits, powers, or functions.
This concentration of population must have a name, be locally recognized,
and not be part of any other place. 

What is GeoJSON?

In our geography endpoint, we return GeoJSON representations of geometry objects. This takes the following form:

  "type": "Feature",
  "geometry": {
    "type": "Point",
    "coordinates": [125.6, 10.1]
  "properties": {
    "name": "Dinagat Islands"

GeoJSON supports several different geometry types:

  • Point
  • LineString
  • Polygon
  • MultiPoint
  • MultiLineString
  • MultiPolygon

The most common objects you will see from our API include Polygon and MultiPolygon. Please refer to rfc7946 for more technical details.

What do I do if I am getting a CORS error?

If you are getting a CORS issue, CORS prevents requests to unapproved servers. Check out this guide for best practices.