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All demographic and ethographic information is ultimately tied to geography. Even a national average ties a piece of information to the population that resides within the bounds (geography) of the entire United States. Geography is divided into units. Units of geography are shaped and formed for various reasons, usually to address a particular question. Common units of geography include zip codes, census tracts, county boundaries, states, cities, blocks etc. Zip codes are formed to assist the post office in the effective distribution of mail. Census tracts are formed to support legislative and political concerns.
Occasionally, custom units of geography are created to serve specific purposes. PERCEPT creates many study area reports based upon a client-requested radius or client designated polygon.
Radius: The distance from the middle of a circle to any point on the outer edge of the circle. Usually expressed in miles. Can be converted to a diameter by multiplying by two. For instance, a circle with a 5 mile-radius has a diameter of 10 miles.
Polygon: A custom multi-sided area defined by at least three points. Can be any shape, but none of the edges can overlap one another.
PERCEPT  has also created three geographic units specifically designed to assist strategic planning efforts for church and social services agencies.
ImagineArea: An ImagineArea provides a standard planning unit (same size) that is strategically located (optimized) by population centers. In other words, ImagineAreas are designed to encompass as much population as possible in the fewest number of study areas. The primary purpose of an ImagineArea is to support strategic planning efforts for a region. ImagineAreas generally range from three to seven miles in radius. PERCEPT also has developed a national system using 15 mile radii which are referred to as RegionAreas.
FocusArea: Basically smaller ImagineAreas that are used to provide additional detail for certain planning efforts that are larger than a single ImagineArea, but not so large as to require a full ImagineArea Analysis. These are typically created with a 1 to 2 mile radius.
NeighborArea: The NeighborArea is a sub-unit of geography based upon an ImagineArea. When general planning decisions have targeted particular ImagineAreas for further planning and development, a NeighborArea study is completed for each targeted ImagineArea. A NeighborArea provides detail data on an ImagineArea by creating a group of small population centers within it. NeighborAreas generally range from .5 to 1 mile in radius.