Mapchats – The Art of Maps

The Art of Maps

Data is the key to maps. But show that data in a confusing, unattractive, or misleading way, and the power of your data is lost. Normally, Mapchats focus on using good data, but this time we focus on the nuts and bolts of making good maps.

PolicyMap’s popular Mapchats series continued 7/28/15 with a panel of leaders in online mapping, including Robert Cheetham from Azavea, Jake Garcia from Foundation Center, and PolicyMap’s own Bernie Langer. The topics of discussion include picking the right colors for a map, choosing the right map for the right data, and how to make a good map show change over time.

See each panelist and their presentation below:

 

art_of_the_map_panelists_bernieBERNIE LANGER | Data Analyst, PolicyMap

Bernie Langer is a Data Analyst at PolicyMap. He works on keeping PolicyMap’s data library current and simple to understand. Previously, he’s contributed to WHYY News, the Poughkeepsie Journal, and EARTH Magazine. An avid photographer, his work has appeared in various galleries in Philadelphia. He has a B.A. in economics from Vassar College, and is an M.F.A. candidate in creative writing at Rutgers University – Camden.

 

 

art_of_the_map_panelists_jakeJAKE GARCIA | Vice President for Data and Technology Strategy, Foundation Center

Jake Garcia is the Vice President for Data and Technology at Foundation Center, where he builds mapping applications, data visualizations, semantic analysis scripts, and application programming interfaces. He’s previously worked as a geographer and programmer on projects for NASA, Al Gore’s Climate Project, the City of New York, and the U.S. Army. In April 2011, Jake was the lead developer on a project that won the Large Organization award in the World Bank’s “Apps for Development” contest. He has an M.A. in geography from Hunter College and a B.A. in political science from Brown University.

 

 

art_of_the_map_panelists_robertROBERT CHEETHAM | Founder and President, Azavea

Robert Cheetham is the Founder and President of Azavea. Previously, he was a software developer and analyst for the Philadelphia Police Department, the University of Pennsylvania, and the City of Philadelphia, and a Coordinator for International Relations in Konan-cho, Japan. He is a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, and is on the Advisory Board for the Masters of GIS Program at Pennsylvania State University. He has an M.L.A. in Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan.

Below is a list of resources included in Robert’s presentation:

 

Analog: Trees and Branching Structures

Analog: Graphic Transition

Analog: Explicit Geography + Color + Annotation

Digital: Sequences on a Line

Digital: Thematic Overlay

Digital: Split Screens

Digital: Map + Chart

Digital: Map-based Storytelling Tools

Digital: Spatial-temporal forecasting (geography + time + statistics)

Books

Train Schedule Example

Other Resources

 

To check out PolicyMap’s other Mapchats recordings, visit: policymap.com/mapchats

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Winner of the First #DataWiz Contest!

We just wrapped up our first DataWiz contest and wow, the responses definitely set the bar high. We received submissions in the form of tweets, emails, Census FIPS codes, and even original maps. It was, in a word, impressive.

In case you didn’t catch the quiz question, we asked, “What are the most racially diverse places in the U.S.?” Granted, this was an open-ended question and that was intentional on our part. We know that diversity and place can be interpreted in a number of different ways: is diversity most meaningfully measured at the scale of a neighborhood? County? City? The responses definitely reflected this variety. Some people gave the name of a neighborhood, a Census tract ID, or the name of a county.

We defined the answer as: the county containing the Census tract with the highest diversity index value and we used race and ethnicity data from the American Community Survey 2009-2013 5-year averages. The correct answer turned out to be Anchorage, Alaska, meaning that there were actually two winners: Philly’s own Jake Riley and Twitter user @bomberterp. Congratulations to you both!

Both winners will receive some classy PolicyMap swag. Extra nerd points go out to Jake for also submitting a map of the top 10 most diverse tracts and for describing his methodology. Well done!

In case you’re curious, the Census FIPS code of the most diverse tract is: 02020000901. Not far behind were tracts in Queens, NY, Pierce County, WA and Honolulu, HI.

Stay tuned for the next #DataWiz contest!

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Looking for the Local Boundaries?

You might have noticed that our Map Boundaries menu has been cleaned up a bit. We have removed the Local Boundaries menu. As the name implies, these boundaries are mainly localize boundaries and can only be seen if you are in the city or state that they represent which was why we have removed them for all users.

Local Boundaries

We have only removed them from display so don’t worry, they are still there and can be added to your account easily. Below is the list of available Local Boundaries (in alphabetical order) that can be added to your account;
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Americans with Disabilities Act Turns 25

This upcoming Sunday, July 26th marks the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by President George H.W. Bush.  Since its signing into law, the ADA has enabled millions of Americans with disabilities to participate in the workforce by removing legal barriers to employment. This landmark piece of legislation prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities within the workplace as well as in receiving services from federal, state, and local governments.

According to the US Census Bureau, in 2010, there were 56.7 million Americans with disabilities, representing 19 percent of the civilian non-institutionalized population.  Median earning for individuals with disabilities in the past 12 months is $20,885, amounting to 68 percent of overall median earnings, $30,928.

In 2014, 17.1 percent of individuals with a disability were employed and the unemployment rate for individuals with a disability decreased by 12.5 percent from 2013 to 2014. The United States Department of Labor Statistics notes most individuals with disabilities were employed in the education and health services, retail trade, professional and business services, and manufacturing industries.

PolicyMap has several indicators in the Demographics menu about individuals with disabilities. Featured below is the data by employment, displaying state-level data for individuals with disabilities who are employed in the workforce. Zoom in further to see the data displayed at more local levels.

Data mapped by PolicyMap, an online GIS mapping tool.
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July Data News – New Racial and Ethnic Segregation Data

New Racial and Ethnic Segregation Data


New Racial and Ethnic Segregation Data

Turn to PolicyMap for the latest data on racial integration in neighborhoods across the country. PolicyMap now provides an index of segregation that allows users to click on the map and instantly understand the level of segregation and the racial makeup of neighborhoods. Read More

Demographics   Health
NEW Theil Segregation Index
2010 | Decennial Census and PolicyMap

UPDATE Senate and House of Representatives Election Results
2014 | U.S. Election Atlas

UPDATE Diversity Index and Predominant Race Data
2009-2013 | Census’ American Community Survey

  NEW Mental Health Treatment Facilities
2015 | Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

NEW Drug and Alcohol Treatment Facilities
2015 | Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

UPDATE Seasonal Flu Activity
2015 | Centers for Disease Control

UPDATE Sexually Transmitted Infection Incidence
2013 | Centers for Disease Control

UPDATE Medically Underserved Areas
2015Q2 | Health Resources and Services Administration

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Think You Know Data? Show Your Skills In Our Data Wizards (#DataWiz) Contests

Knowing about data is just too much fun. Often, too much fun to just keep it to yourself. We know how you feel. Show off your nerd knowledge in our new series of #DataWiz contests!

We have officially announced our first #DataWiz contest, and it is well underway! The question is: What are the most racially diverse places in America? We’ve had great responses so far – keep them coming! Submit your answers by the stroke of midnight on Sunday, July 26th for a chance to win fame, glory, and even a prize from PolicyMap!

Answers can be submitted via Tweet with the hashtag #datawiz, email at info@policymap.com, and why not, we’ll even accept snail mail for this one. Winners will be announced on the blog on Monday.

 

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The Art of Maps: Making Effective Visualizations

The Art of Maps

Data is the key to maps. But show that data in a confusing, unattractive, or misleading way, and the power of your data is lost. Normally, Mapchats focus on using good data, but this time we’ll focus on the nuts and bolts of making good maps.

Tuesday, 7/28 | 3 PM EST

PolicyMap’s popular Mapchats series continues next week with a panel of leaders in online mapping, including Robert Cheetham from Azavea, Jake Garcia from Foundation Center, and PolicyMap’s own Bernie Langer. The topics to be discussed will include picking the right colors for a map, choosing the right map for the right data, and how to make a good map show change over time.

Click here to save your seat!

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Racial and Ethnic Segregation: In the News and On PolicyMap

Residential segregation certainly has been making headlines over the past month. On June 25th, the Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the Fair Housing Act of 1968 in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs et al., v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. et al., thereby upholding the ability for advocates to quantitatively show that housing practices have a “disparate impact,” even if the original intent of these practices is not discriminatory.

On July 8th, President Obama and HUD Secretary Julian Castro introduced a new rule to “affirmatively further fair housing.” This rule comes after several years in the making and is most notable in that it:

“directs HUD’s program participants to take significant actions to overcome historic patterns of segregation, achieve truly balanced and integrated living patterns, promote fair housing choice, and foster inclusive communities that are free from discrimination” (source: HUD Final Rule).

Both of these rulings attempt to redress and redirect residential patterns of segregation; a widespread by-product of decades of race-based practices such as redlining, contract mortgages, segregated zoning ordinances, and the concentration of tax credits for public and affordable housing in low-income, urban, neighborhoods of color.

The new HUD rule-making also makes clear that a primary aim is to make data-driven analyses and decisions regarding fair housing more accessible. To achieve this goal, HUD is enhancing their existing online interactive mapping tool, where grantees of federal subsidies can assess if housing is, or potentially is not, being allocated in a fair manner across communities.

At the heart of PolicyMap’s work is a similar aim – to provide individuals and organizations the data they need to better understand the social, political, economic and environmental context of life. So, while it was several months in the making, PolicyMap is making a timely release of several indicators that may prove complementary in assessing “disparate impacts” in housing practices.

National Segregation Index
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Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities Now on PolicyMap

Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO) conference in Kansas City, MO. It was a great chance to connect with local health departments from around the country and learn about current trends and challenges in the field. Among the many topics that came up throughout the conference, in sessions ranging from the opioid epidemic to community policing, was that of local public health responses to our communities’ growing mental illness and substance abuse needs.
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Data Update: 2015 CRA Eligibility

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), passed by Congress in 1977, was established to encourage banks to extend credit to low- and moderate-income Americans. CRA requires that financial institutions undergo periodic evaluations to determine whether they are meeting the credit needs of the communities in which they operate, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. The FFIEC released updated 2015 data last week, so we have in turn updated the CRA Eligibility and Tract Median Family Income as a percent of Area Median Family Income data layers on PolicyMap! You can find these data in the Federal Guidelines tab.

So, what makes a census tract CRA eligible? Tracts are eligible if they are low- or moderate-income, or if they are nonmetropolitan middle income tracts designated by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) as distressed or underserved. Low- and moderate-income census tracts are based on a comparison of tract median family income to area median family income:

Low: tract median family income less than 50% of area median family income,
Moderate: tract median family income greater than or equal to 50% and less than 80%,
Middle: tract median family income greater than or equal to 80% and less than 120%,
Any tract with a median family income greater than 120% is considered upper income and is not CRA eligible.

Use the map below to find out which tracts in your target area are eligible for CRA investment.

We hope you find this data update useful! As always, feel free to email us with any questions.

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