“Texture”, A Curious Word to Describe a Map

  |   Commercial Real Estate

My friend, David Hicks, pokes fun at my use of the word “texture” as it relates to mapping.

I first encouraged him to use the word during his presentation at Esri’s 2015 Business Summit, where he shared his story about how GIS technology is helping him become a better real estate advisor.

The night before his presentation to several hundred people, we discussed the unique way maps reveal details about demographics and other key market data. When I suggested the word “texture” in this context, David gave me a funny look. And then I explained:

While most real estate marketing pieces only give you basic statistics (e.g. “Total Population = 5,500) for a 1-mile radius ring around a site, data-driven maps help you see the detail behind those stats. Sure, simple radius stats may be useful as a rough indicator of a site’s potential, but map texture reveals the detail that clarifies specific opportunities for a site.

Maps reveal where people live relative to the site (e.g. “mostly to the south and east, and they’ll all be driving past our site to get to work”).

Texture of Population Density

Population Density


Maps clarify who those people are, and what type of retail they prefer (e.g. “Enterprising Professionals who frequent the dry cleaner, pick up their drugs at Target pharmacy, eat at Chick-fil-A, and drop by Starbucks for coffee.”)

Hicks - SAPG Tapestry

Dominant Lifestyles


Through colors and symbols, maps help decision-makers understand and communicate the interrelated details of opportunity for any given site. This is texture. Maps combine demographics and business data with traffic flow, zoning, and competition to help brokers tell true and vivid stories about the sites they represent.

I’m happy to report that David uses the word “texture” regularly these days. Datastory is helping him make textured maps that offer new insight into specific markets. As a result, his clients are making better decisions, faster, and he’s making more money for his business.

Click here to watch David’s presentation at the 2015 Esri Business Summit
Click here to hear David use the word “texture” in a radio podcast
Click here to explore the texture of the marketplace around one of David’s listings: The Shops at Plano Gateway