Government 90dn Mapping the Census

Lecture 0: Introduction to Seminar

Sumeeta Srinivasan

Outline for Today
Course description
Objectives, lecture format, evaluation and project, schedule

Course overview

Course Objectives
To use mapping as an analytical technique to study Census data To investigate the use of geographic, economic and socio-demographic data from the US Census To enhance the research process through the use of maps and spatial queries To introduce basic Geographical Information Systems software To introduce cartographic techniques


Lab exercises (5):

5 points each for Labs 1-5

Final project:


Proposal (5%), presentation (10%) and report (40%)



Standard Format for Classes

Lecture (1 hour or less) Followed by or interspersed with discussion Discussion: based on article

Lab Exercises (1-2 hours) – All due Nov 20th 2-? hours (may extend beyond class times) that should be ideally returned to the instructor before the next lab

Final Project

Project proposal by November 1st

Should include spatial and non-spatial data description Background research (context) and motivation Research questions, Proposed methodology

Project presentation on December 6th Project summary report Jan 1st



Unlocking the Census with GIS by Alan Peters and Heather MacDonald. ESRI Press (2005)


Making Maps: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS by John Krygier and Denis Wood. The Guilford Press, New York/ London. New Ed edition (2005) Mapping Census 2000: The Geography of U.S. Diversity by Cynthia A. Brewer and Trudy A. Suchan. ESRI Press Edition

Course Topics

1. 2.

3. 5.

Introduction to Census Census Data Basics Data Types Databases Introducing Maps GIS Cartography

Applications Demography Economics Housing and Transportation Research Methods
Writing Proposals and Papers Quantitative methods

How this course (might) fit into your plan of study

Provides general Introduction to GIS software Provides you methodological tools if you are looking at research questions that may be spatial in nature Provides you with an opportunity to explore some rich data sets even if your future research is not spatial Can combine the project with other course projects/ papers/ thesis/ interests Can use other mapping software (Google Earth etc.)

Course description
Objectives, lecture format, evaluation and project, schedule

Course overview

Overview Outline

Why is geographic information different? What is GIS? Social Implications of Mapping

The Vocabulary

Geographic – Earth’s surface and near-surface Spatial – any space (including geographic) Geospatial – synonymous with geographic

Geographic Information is:

Multidimensional Voluminous Requires projection to flat surface Unique analysis methods Analyses require data integration Data updates are expensive and time consuming Map displays require fast data retrieval

Geographic Information System

Container of maps Spatial decision support system:
Method for revealing patterns and processes in geographic information

Planning for Emergency Evacuation

Major natural and human-induced events may necessitate area evacuations GIS can be used to create effective evacuation vulnerability maps based on
Distribution of population Street map

Model demand and impact of bottlenecks on speed of evacuation using standard GIS network tools
Adjacency, connectivity, shortest path network calculation


The Hispanic Population: 1990-2000 Growth and Change


Example (cont)

“Table 3 demonstrates that three of the four regions experienced more than 50 percent Latino population growth between 1990 and 2000. As in the past, the West experienced the largest numeric increase of Hispanics. However, greater proportional growth in the Latino population occurred in the Midwest and South (81.0 percent and 71.2 percent, respectively) compared to the North and West.”


Social Implications of GIS (Maps)

Favors generalization, possibly at expense of minorities and individuals Use is not always neutral and can be applied to military and industrial surveillance Tendency to be technological rather than human need focused Maintains and extends the status quo of societal power structures



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