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TitleUsing Data Buffet: Geo lists
AuthorPhillip Thorne

What is a geography list, and how does it help retrieve many series at once?


Every time series in Data Buffet is identified with a unique alphanumeric name called a mnemonic consisting of a concept code (or "concept") and geography code (or "geo"), specifying the "what" and "where" of the series.

To construct a basket that will retrieve N related series (same concept, multiple geos), you have three choices:

  • N separate entries, with one concept and N geos
  • One entry, which combines one concept with a geo wild card
  • One entry, which combines one concept with a geography list

What is a geography list, and what can it do?

A geo list is an ordered list of Data Buffet geography codes.  The advantages are:

  • More specific than geo wild cards
  • Can specify an arbitrary list of areas
  • Can mix geo types
  • Can exclude areas from within a geo type
  • Guarantee a particular basket output order
  • Can create and save your own for reuse

You may find geo lists useful for such standard situations as:

  • U.S. counties recognized by the BEA vs. BOC
  • All metro areas and metropolitan divisions in the Moody's Analytics forecast model
  • The G7 countries

Or for specialized circumstances such as:

  • Metro areas in (or partially in) Florida
  • ZIP Code areas in your sales region
  • U.S. states plus Canadian territories in the eastern half of the continent

How is a geo list preferable to a geo wild card?

Wild card expressions have limited specificity, and cannot differentiate between some of our geo types.  For example, our county and metro division (2000) geo codes are both five characters (like PA001 and DMNEY).  You can retrieve all counties limited to Pennsylvania with PA^^^, but to retrieve all counties in all states would require ^^^^^, which would also match all metro divisions.

Conversely, geo lists CT_BEA.LST, and  CT_CEN.LST specifically enumerate counties (the 3,113 and the 3,221 recognized by the BEA and Census Bureau, respectively).

Some geo code types lack hierarchical information.  You cannot retrieve a set of MSAs by state by wild card, because no part of the geo code specifies the state(s) in which each MSA resides.  Instead, you can create and apply a geo list.

How do I use a geo list?

Screengrabs of the Data Buffet geography list module are attached.

Geo lists are located under menu:Tools » Geography Lists.  To examine the contents of a list, press the "magnifying glass" icon on the left side of the item.  This will open a new tab with a table that lists the geo code and geo name.

You can create and save your own custom geo lists.  On the Geography Lists page, press the "Create a new list" button, then follow the prompts.

When selecting series through the catalog and Geography Wizard, geo lists are an option under the "Geography Type" dropdown.

When directly editing a basket, you can replace any single geo code with a geo list.  For example, ET.PA becomes ET.CBSA_MICRO.LST.  Geo lists always end in ".LST" and this is the only situation in which a mnemonic can contain two periods.

When using the basket grid editor mode, an entry with a geo list will be marked as "GEO LIST." Left-click that text, click "view expanded list," and a popup window will show a tabulation of all matching series, with title, geography, and mnemonic.  It will also work if you combine a concept wild card with a geo list.


Geo lists may not be used in:

  • Basket formulas
  • View, Chart or Map modes
  • Catalog searches
  • Moody's Analytics Power Tools for Microsoft Excel