What is a context area and how is it used?

Defining a context area for your project is optional. A context area provides reference information for areas adjacent to or surrounding your project. A context area might be defined, for example, as the city within which a district-scale project is located, or the county within which a city-scale project is located. See Project Basics and Creating a Project for more information about defining a context area.

The Context Area Land Use layer describes development using the same attributes as the Base Canvas. However, the context area cannot be edited or painted on, or analyzed using the analysis modules. The population, households, jobs, and development associated with the context area are not included in project totals, and analysis does not cover the context area. You can, however, download the Context Area Land Use layer (providing it does not include parcel features in areas for which parcel data are restricted by their source) via layer export or using the data table.

If you want to run analysis for locations beyond your project area, you can consider creating a project that includes those locations within the project area itself. With a broader project area (canvas size allowing), you can then use filters to isolate scenario data and analysis results for subareas within the project.

Note that the context area as defined upon project creation is not referenced by the analysis modules. The Walk and Transit Accessibility modules measure access to jobs and destinations within an "access area" that extends 50 kilometers beyond a project area; while this area may contain or overlap with a context area, it is not the same.

Last updated