Tag Archives: making maps

Researcher & Story Development Tools & Resources

Innovative and results-oriented story writing often requires geographic, demographic, economic and related data. Research results and stories must increasingly use graphics and visual renderings of data  to be effective, retain reader attention and be responsive to needs. A picture is worth a thousand words. In our expanding everything-integrated world, stories must draw on a range of authoritative data resources that can be knit-together.

Journalists and authors require easy and access to these data in a consumable form. Researchers and students share these needs. Grant writers benefit by including relevant data in proposals and well as unique maps and graphics. Economists and analysts creating interpretative summaries of statistical data releases (“how does this impact us?”) require related data and tools to effectively communicate conclusions and inferences.

This section reviews access to a few of these tools and resources that are available to researchers and story writers — as well as tools to map and otherwise visualize these data. These resources offer the customization or specific detail often not available to meet specific needs. Most of the resources reviewed here are available at no fee. Some resources are available only to ProximityOne User Groupmembers. Join the User Group now. See terms of use. See related Web section.

Navigating the Federal Statistical Resources
… topics below include these and a broader set of resources.
http://proximityone.com/fss.htm

Interactive Geographic-Demographic-Economic Tables
… view, query, rank, compare attributes for many types of geography.
http://proximityone.com/rankingtables.htm

Interactive Location-Based Demographic-Economic Data Tool
… key in address, immediate display of ACS demographic-economic data.
… block group, tract, place, county, state data; latitude-longitude, geocodes.
http://proximityone.com/location_based_demographics.htm

Custom Mapping Tools (Windows software tool)
… create custom maps for proposed service areas.
CV XE GIS

Address Code Your Data (Windows software tool)
… show your address/location data on maps.
http://proximityone.com/apigeocoder.htm

Chart Graphics; Population Pyramids (Windows software tool)
… age-cohort chart graphics for your county or school district.
http://proximityone.com/chartgraphics.htm

Demographic-Economic Data Extraction Tool (Windows software tool)
… use this API-tool to extract your selected subject matter data.
… census block, block group, other geographic levels
… Census 2000, Census 2010, ACS 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
… create your own files for use with Excel/other software.
http://proximityone.com/dede.htm

Custom maps can enhance your proposal; make custom map graphics:

Make Custom Congressional District Maps
… create custom maps for individual or custom grouped congressional districts.
… CD 113 and CD 114 boundaries are the same, based on maps submitted by states to the Census Bureau.
http://proximityone.com/cd113_maps.htm

Make Custom City Maps
… create custom maps for cities of interest; examine in context of other geography.
http://proximityone.com/citymaps.htm

Make Custom Metro Maps
… create custom maps for metropolitan or micropolitan statistical areas.
http://proximityone.com/metromaps.htm

Make Custom Neighborhood Maps
… create thematic/pattern maps; access related demographic-economic data by neighborhood.
http://proximityone.com/neighborhood_patterns.htm

Make Custom Block Group Maps
… create custom maps for small, sub-neighborhood areas.
http://proximityone.com/mapping_bg.htm

Make Custom Census Block Maps
… create custom maps for areas by census block – smallest geographic area with detailed demographics.
http://proximityone.com/mapping_census_blocks.htm

America’s Communities Program
… demographic-economic profiles for individual cities.
http://proximityone.com/acp.htm

School District Community Profiles
… demographic-economic multi-part profiles for individual school districts.
http://proximityone.com/sddep.htm

School District Characteristics
http://proximityone.com/sddmi.htm

K-12 Public Schools Characteristics – individual and all schools
http://proximityone.com/k12publicschools.htm

K-12 Private Schools Characteristics – individual and all schools
http://proximityone.com/k12privatecchools.htm

Charter Schools Characteristics & Patterns – individual and all schools
http://proximityone.com/sch1314_charter.htm

County Population Trends; Annual Projections to 2020 by Age Group
… population trends profiles for individual counties … how is school age population changing? 65 & over?
http://proximityone.com/outlook2020.htm
most recent county official estimates – click link in table
county trend profile – example for Cook County, IL; all counties available

Metropolitan Area Characteristics
… geographic & demographic composition profiles for individual metros.
Current Vintage Metropolitan Areas
2015 Updates: New and Modified Metros
Metropolitan Area Median Income and Housing Value: 2013-14

State Legislative District Characteristics
… geographic & demographic composition profiles for individual state legislative districts.
http://proximityone.com/sld2013.htm

Congressional District Characteristics
… geographic & demographic composition profiles for individual congressional districts.
http://proximityone.com/cd113.htm
114th Congressional Districts: Median Income and Housing Value: 2013-14

Census Tract Demographic-Economic Patterns
Main Census Tracts section interactive tables includes all tracts:
General Demographics | Social Characteristics | Economic Characteristics | Housing Characteristics

ZIP Code Demographic-Economic Patterns
Main ZIP Code section … interactive tables include all ZIP code areas:
General Demographics | Social Characteristics | Economic Characteristics | Housing Characteristics

More about ProximityOne Demographic-Economic Projections
Outlook 2020 | Outlook 2030 | Outlook 2060 | Quarterly 3 year
• integrated multi-sourced Situation & Outlook demographic-economic data

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.

Mapping Block Group Data

.. demographic-economic patterns and characteristics can often be “masked” when using larger geographic areas such as counties and metros. Using data for small area geography such as census tracts and block groups can help identify clusters and areas of interest. Now, demographic-economic data for block groups (217,000 areas averaging 1,200 population covering the U.S. wall-to-wall) are tabulated annually from the American Community Survey (ACS). There are hundreds of subject matter items updated annually. Without specialized tools, it is very difficult to navigate through the maze of small area data that are available and make effective use of these data for analysis and decision-making.

Use the combination of API tools and GIS tools described in this Web section to visually and geospatially analyze demographic-economic characteristics of block groups. Covering the U.S. wall-to-wall and averaging 1,200 population, block groups are the smallest geographic tabulation area for data from the American Community Survey (ACS 5-year estimates). Block group (BG) data are also available from Census 2010 Summary File 1 (SF1) for the same block group area geography.

Patterns of Median Household Income
— San Francisco, CA by Block Group

Create map views similar to the one shown here for your areas of interest.

… Click graphic for larger view. View developed using CV XE GIS.

Install Tools
There are two software tools involved to create maps such as the one above for any county in the U.S. using block group level data for multiple years, flexibly choosing among more than a thousand subject matter items. Steps to use two tools are described in this Web section. You can perform these operations for any area in the U.S. and use the resulting maps and data in any manner.
• Demographic-Economic Data Extraction (DEDE) API tool
CV XE GIS software
See the corresponding Web sections above to install the Windows-based software. There is no fee to use these tools to perform operations described here. There are no block group subject matter datasets to download. The steps to use these tools are summarized here.

Get Help Using these Resources
The flexibility and breadth of data selection options afforded by access to thousands of subject matter items from multiple statistical programs requires several steps to use the data in GIS applications. Join us in a Data Analytics Lab session for additional assistance. We can go through/discuss any aspect of steps summarized here. There is no fee for the Data Analytics sessions.

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.

Making Custom Metropolitan Area Maps

The 929 U.S. metropolitan areas are comprised of one or more counties, some with up to 30 counties. More than 93-percent of the total U.S. population live in metropolitan areas. Creating metro maps is often specific to a particular analysis, zoom-view, labeling, combination of different geographies or other considerations.

This section reviews tools that you can use to flexibly develop your own maps that show U.S. metropolitan areas of interest using Geographic Information System (GIS) tools. The GIS resources enable you to view/show the metro boundaries in context with roads, landmarks and other geography. Flexibly add labels. Create pattern views. Add your own data. Metro maps can be saved as a graphic and used in any manner. There are no fees to use resources described in this section. See the  related Web section for more detail on this topic.

Metro mapping makes use of the latest vintage metro definitions (February 2013) and latest smoothed boundary shapefiles (July 2014). See more about the metro shapefile.

Atlanta, GA Metro by County — create similar map view for any metro

Atlanta metro: red/brown bold boundary; counties black thin boundary. Click graphic for larger view with county name labeling; illustrates mini-profile of component county (Fulton). See more illustrative views below.

Steps to Develop Custom Metro Maps (requires Windows computer with Internet connection)
1. Install the ProximityOne CV XE GIS
… run the CV XE GIS installer
… take all defaults during installation
2. Download the U.S. metros GIS project fileset
… requires ProximityOne User Group ID (join now, no fee)
… unzip U.S. Metros GIS project files to local folder c:\metromaps
3. Open the c:\metromaps\metromaps1.gis project
… after completing the above steps, click File>Open>Dialog
… open the file named c:\metromaps\metromaps1.gis
4. Done. The start-up view is shown below with additional instructions.

Using the Metro Maps Projects
There are three metro GIS project files included with the ZIP file. Each GIS project (*.gis) includes the same set of layers/shapefiles. Only attributes of layers set by the CV XE GIS Layer Editor differ. See about modifying layer settings with Layer Editor in the related Web section on this topic.

1. Single Metro — metromaps1.gis
When the c:\metromaps\metromaps1.gis is opened, the view shown below appears. This project illustrates how the CBSA layer query can be set to view a specific metro of interest. See the Layer Editor settings used for this view.

Click graphic for larger view.

2. All U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas — metromaps2.gis
When the c:\metromaps\metromaps2.gis is opened, the view shown below appears. This project illustrates how the CBSA layer query can be set to view all MSAs and/or MISAs on a national/regional scale. See the Layer Editor settingsused for this view.

Click graphic for larger view.

3. All CBSAs in a Selected State — metromaps3.gis
When the c:\metromaps\metromaps3.gis is opened, the view shown below appears. This project illustrates how to apply a CBSA layer query to view all MSAs and/or MISAs in a selected state. See the Layer Editor settings used for this view.

Click graphic for larger view.

Support & DMI Web Sessions
Learn more about using resources described in this section. Join us in a Decision-Making Information Web session. There is no fee for these one-hour Web sessions. Each informal session is focused on a specific topic. The open structure also provides for Q&A and discussion of application issues of interest to participants. We can address your specific questions about using metro and county demographic economic data and related applications.