Mapping US Census Data



The objective of this assignment was to learn to navigate and retrieve data from the US Census Bureau's American Fact Finder website, locate the appropriate geography for the date, and create a map layout to visualize the results.


This project was part of the requirements for GIS 520, Advanced Spatial Analytics. The data used for this assignment was obtained from the American Fact Finder website that is provided by the US Census Bureau. The AFF site provides a wealth of data related to the US population, housing, economics, and other geographic information.


The data set that was chosen for this assignment was the distribution of graduate or professional students by census district in Wake County North Carolina. The key points in the analysis of this exercise was the joining of the AFF data set to the appropriate geographic layer and the interpretation of the downloaded data. In order to successfully join the data to a geography, the attributes of each had to be cross checked with each other to ensure there was a common field that would allow the join. Interpretation of the data relied upon the reference data manual that was included from AFF. This reference data provided the key for interpreting the codes that is used to describe the data.


To most effectively illustrate the distribution of the data, two inset maps were created to break the data down by gender. This helps give a more complete representation of the data distribution, as compared to a single distribution that did not consider gender. By providing this level of detail, it could aid in the decision making process for the funding of programs that encourage higher education and professional studies.