Mapchats – Using PolicyMap in the Classroom

PMAP in the Classroom
As a follow-up to requests during our Mapchat on using GIS in the classroom, we’re offering a session on using PolicyMap in the classroom. Mapchats will hear from Dr. Ira Goldstein about how he incorporates PolicyMap in his social science and research methods courses.

IraGoldsteinIra Goldstein, PhD,The Reinvestment Fund and the University of Pennsylvania

Ira Goldstein is President of The Reinvestment Fund’s (TRF) Policy Solutions Team, where he leads all research related to TRF’s organizational goals and mission. Dr. Goldstein is a nationally recognized expert on America’s housing policy issues and mortgage markets and his work has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and has also been included in several publications of the Federal Reserve Board and Banks. For more than 20 years, Dr. Goldstein has served as a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania teaching courses in social science and research methods including spatial analysis. Dr. Goldstein holds a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Temple University.

Here are Dr Goldstein’s course assignments used in his class;

Watch the recorded Mapchats webinar:

You can see the PowerPoint used in the webinar here:

Posted in Data & Features, PolicyMap Messages | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Mapchats – GIS in the Classroom

GIS in the Classroom_2
With the advent of new and better technologies, GIS is becoming much more accessible. Mapchats will hear from professors in various fields about how they are adapting to the fast-changing world of GIS and its application across disciplines.

Panelists include:

AmyHillierAmy Hillier, PhD, University of Pennsylvania School of Design – Amy Hillier is an Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning in the School of Design and holds a secondary faculty appointment at the School of Social Policy & Practice. Her research focuses on racial and economic disparities and access to services and resources in disadvantaged communities. She teaches introductory-level GIS courses in city planning, social work, and urban studies, and most of her own work uses GIS and spatial analysis. Most recently, Dr. Hillier’s research has focused on access to healthful foods and outdoor advertising.



ElainePrewittT. Elaine Prewitt, DrPH, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences – T. Elaine Prewitt is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the College of Public Health. Her research focuses on obesity in African Americans, translational research, nutrition in chronic disease, food and nutrition policy, and health disparities. She teaches courses on grantmanship and funding, nutrition policy and intervention, and advanced methods in health disparities research.


JessicaDeganJessica Deegan, MGIS, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and University of Minnesota – Jessica Deegan is the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Coordinator and Research Specialist for the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. She holds a Master’s degree in Geographic Information Science and a Bachelor’s degree in Housing Studies from the University of Minnesota. Since 2004, Jessica has been adjunct faculty in the University of Minnesota’s Housing Studies program, teaching coursework on GIS and research methods for housing market assessment and analysis.

Watch the recorded Mapchats webinar here:

Posted in Data & Features, PolicyMap Messages | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Love For Thematic Mapping

It looks like we’re not the only ones who love thematic mapping:
Maponics’ Tuesday Term of the Week caught my eye this week.
Optimized-Screen-Shot-2015-02-16-at-12.47.48-PM
Glad to know we’re in good company! The Tuesday blog posts from our vendor of zip code boundaries never disappoints and often describes the things we love about mapping in simple, easy-to-understand language. Thanks to Maponics for contributing to the conversation!

Posted in PolicyMap Messages | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Select release of 2014 Limited Supermarket Access (LSA) data available on PolicyMap

We are pleased to let our users know that the 2014 Limited Supermarket Access (LSA) data are now available on PolicyMap for a select group of states! The release offers a look at the data for five states – California, Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. The analysis is part of The Reinvestment Fund’s (TRF) extensive efforts to address the inadequate and inequitable access to healthy foods in communities across the country. Click here for the full press release from TRF.

Last year, with support from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, TRF announced the creation of ReFresh, “a national initiative designed to improve access to healthy foods in urban and rural communities across the U.S.” The release of the 2014 LSA data will be a great asset for the five CDFIs in the Refresh initiative. The data for these states are available in PolicyMap’s Analytics tab, as well as on the Refresh grantee websites. Click here to see Finance Fund’s LSA widget for the state of Ohio.

Along with this select release of the LSA, we are equally excited to announce that we have updated the Grocery Retail Locations data on PolicyMap with 2013 data! With these data, provided by Trade Dimensions, users are able to select and see only the limited-service stores or the full-service stores. We also included the ability to filter by type of grocery retail location, so you can see whether a site is a full supermarket, dollar store, natural/gourmet foods store, etc. Have fun exploring the availability of grocery retail locations in your neighborhood using the map below!

Also, it is worth noting that a full national release of the 2014 LSA analysis is expected in the spring. In the meantime, for users outside of the 5 Refresh states, the 2011 LSA will remain available for the whole nation on PolicyMap. This can also be found in PolicyMap’s Analytics tab.

Posted in Analytics, Data & Features, Dataset Announcements, Taxonomy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

HMDA 2013 Data Now on PolicyMap

The eagerly-awaited 2013 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (or, HMDA) data has arrived on PolicyMap and is available to all of our users for free. We greatly anticipate the HMDA data update every year because it gives such a compelling account of what the mortgage market is doing and how it reflects the overall housing market’s climb out of the recession.

This year’s HMDA data did not lack for interesting trends. Across the nation, 2013 saw an overall decline of loans, but a promising 13% increase in purchase loans. The number declined overall primarily because of a 23% reduction in refinance mortgages, as a result of higher interest rates.
And after an increase in Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and other government-insured loans throughout the housing crisis, government-insured loans decreased in 2013, possibly due to a rise in mortgage insurance premiums associated with FHA loans. This trend is particularly remarkable because of FHA’s recent role in the housing market: just two years ago it accounted for around half of all loans in the market. Notably, high-cost lending that had dried up during the recession has begun to increase, albeit very gradually.

Data mapped by PolicyMap, an online GIS mapping tool.
Posted in Dataset Announcements, Lending, Maps | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

2013 CRA Small Business and Small Farm Lending Update!

CRA small business and small farm lending data are now updated on PolicyMap with the most recent (2013) data! While the early years following the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) were focused largely on tracking home lending, over time there has been growing interest in the role of accessible credit in other areas, such as small business and economic development, in revitalizing neighborhoods. As a response to this, 1995 CRA revisions included small business and community development disclosure requirements.
Continue reading

Posted in Data & Features, Dataset Announcements, Lending, Taxonomy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Announcing HIV diagnoses, updated data on persons living with HIV

HIV/AIDS is an ongoing epidemic in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collects, maintains and publishes data on the 1.1 million people living with HIV, as well as new diagnoses reported every year. On PolicyMap, under Health and Infectious Disease, you can now view the rates of HIV incidence and prevalence per 100,000 people. New to PolicyMap, HIV incidence data are available for 2008 through 2012. With these data, you can explore which communities continue to be most affected by the epidemic, where these communities are located and how the rate of infection has changed over time.

The CDC notes that the rate of incidence of HIV is higher in certain risk groups; namely substance users, youths aged 13-24, African-American individuals, and men who have sex with men. The following chart displays data on new infections in 2010 for each risk group.

Source: CDC. Estimated HIV incidence among adults and adolescents in the United States, 2007–2010. HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report 2012;17(4). Abbreviations: MSM, men who have sex with men; IDU, injection drug user.

Source: CDC. Estimated HIV incidence among adults and adolescents in the United States, 2007–2010. HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report 2012;17(4). Abbreviations: MSM, men who have sex with men; IDU, injection drug user.

Continue reading

Posted in Data & Features, Dataset Announcements, Health | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How Data Is Made: School District Poverty

Otto von Bismarck said that laws are like sausages: it’s better not to see them being made. But by that logic, data is like ice cream, crayons, glass, and beer: One of the most popular factory tours around. One of the sausage-ier datasets we have on PolicyMap is our map of school-age poverty, measured by school district, which comes by way of the Census’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE). Last summer, I got to take the factory tour of SAIPE, at the National Center for Education Statistics’s STATS-DC Conference.

PolicyMap already has lots of poverty data straight from the Census and American Community Survey. That’s all sitting in plain view in the “Incomes & Spending” menu. But hidden away in the Education menu, under “Student Populations,” is “Students in Poverty.” How is this different, you might ask, from the Census’s “Percent of People in Poverty Under 18”? Continue reading

Posted in Data & Features, Education, Taxonomy | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Symptoms of an epidemic: measuring the flu season

Chances are, if you live in North America, you know someone who has been sick with the flu recently. The spread of influenza is a seasonal concern for healthcare workers in the United States. Although many people contract and spread influenza throughout the year, flu season typically begins in late November or early December and spikes early in the following year. A year ago, in January 2014, nearly ten percent of all deaths in the U.S. were flu- or pneumonia- related. Several signs indicate that this current flu season may be even more severe than the last, due in part to a less-effective vaccine. (Note that it’s still important to get vaccinated for the flu every year!)

The Centers for Disease Control leads national influenza surveillance that tracks multiple aspects of the spread of the flu each season, including the strain of the flu and how it affects the population. This surveillance helps healthcare workers track the severity of the flu and respond accordingly. The two measures we have on PolicyMap are visits to health centers for flu-like illness (flu activity) and the geographic spread of the disease – whether epidemiologists consider it to be sporadic, locally concentrated, regional, or widespread.
Continue reading

Posted in Dataset Announcements, Health | Leave a comment

PolicyMap at ALA Midwinter, Booth# 5028

ALA_MW15_logo_COLOR

Are you attending the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Chicago, IL between January 30th and February 3rd? Come visit PolicyMap in isle 50, booth 5028! Learn how PolicyMap is a multi-discipline tool that professors from many subjects can utilize.

Start a free trial for your entire university, simply by stopping by our booth.



Posted in Conferences | Tagged , , | Leave a comment