MapCompiler: Assembling a GIS Project

.. visual analysis of geographic-demographic-economic patterns is an important part of the data analytics process.  The ability to easily combine and flexibly explore relationships among geographies is equally important.  Use GIS tools to perform these tasks and benefit from collaborative planning and analysis results.

This section summarizes use of “mapcompiler” operations to develop reference or analytic map views for small area geography like that shown in the following graphic.  The graphic shows block groups (red boundaries, yellow labels)  and census tracts (blue boundaries, white labels)

Study Area with Block Groups and Census Tracts Layers
This “application” has been developed to examine characteristics in the vicinity of the red marker (1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA). This location and vicinity are used for illustration. It is easy to see what block group and census tract contain the location of interest. Other locations could be added.

— view developed using CV XE GIS software.

The methods described here can be applied to any location in the U.S. While these steps illustrate use of small area geography, the resources and methods apply to geography and shapefiles on a global level. They include geography ranging from all U.S. counties to the world by country.

Assemble the GIS Project
A first step to view a map of small area geography is to acquire and assemble layers/shapefiles into a GIS project.  Visually compare the geographic relationship between block groups or census tracts by using the CV XE GIS GeoGateway feature. The GeoGateway feature can be thought of as a “mapcompiler” — selectively add shapefiles as layers to a GIS project.  These operations are summarized here and presented step-by-step in this related Web section. The GeoGateway feature is available in all versions of the CV XE GIS software.

Cupertino, CA Study Area
The graphic below shows the start-up view of the GIS project used in this application.

— view developed using CV XE GIS software.

The red marker shows the location of 1 Infinite Circle, Cupertino, CA. Census blocks with blue fill pattern are within 1-mile distance from the address/location. Census blocks with green fill pattern are within 3-mile distance from the address/location. Block groups, census tracts and roads will be added to this GIS project through steps described in this section. The resulting views are shown here.

Use these resources and procedures to develop similarly constructed maps for anywhere in the U.S. While the applications shown here illustrate use of map compiler, or GIS project development tool, for block groups and census tracts, the CV XE GeoGateway can be used to select and combine any of the TIGER/Line shapefiles.

GIS Project Start-up & Development
The following steps are required to operationally proceed with mapcompiler steps:
Install the CV XE GIS software (level 1 or higher) if not already installed.
• Unzip the CAPS1 GIS project fileset to the folder c:\cv_caps (new folder).
• Start CV XE GIS; use File>Dialog>Open to open the GIS project c:\cv_caps\caps_06085_zoom1.gis.
.. the view will be similar to the view shown above.

Summary of Steps to Add Layers
1. Start File>GeoGateway; a new form appears.
2. Add the Santa Clara CA census tracts shapefile/layer.
3. Add the Santa Clara CA block groups shapefile/layer.
4. Add the Santa Clara CA edges/roads shapefile/layer.
5. Close GeoGateway form; perform mapping and analytical operations.

Using GeoGateway
This graphic shows the GeoGateway form being used to integrate the Santa Clara County block groups layer into the GIS project.

See the detailed step-by-step operations.

U.S. Urban Areas
Use the GeoGateway feature to develop national scope map views and GIS projects like the one shown below — all urban areas (orange fill pattern). This view can be assembled in a few minutes, starting with the same GIS project used above.

— view developed using CV XE GIS software.

About the Author
— Warren Glimpse is former senior Census Bureau statistician responsible for innovative data access and use operations. He is also the former associate director of the U.S. Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards for data access and use. He has more than 20 years of experience in the private sector developing data resources and tools for integration and analysis of geographic, demographic, economic and business data.

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