Welcome to our series on helpful tips for PolicyMap. With over 15,000 indicators of data and many features, we hope our series can help users better utilize PolicyMap. For a complete training, please join a free online session here: Click Here
Did you know when a data layer is added, the Legend will display specific information about the current data layer (e.g. Year, Variable, Range Values, etc) and the range for each color on the map. The legend also gives you the ability to fully customize the map by; changing the year, how the data is displayed by changing the variable, making your own custom ranges, and host of other features.
Depending on the data layer added, you can toggle between available years, quarters, or even months. Some years are only available to subscribers and trial users.
Variable – Changing the variable will change how data is displayed on the map. Each data layer might have specific and unique variables. You can toggle between different variables, including the number, currency, percent, or even the change across years depending on the data layer displayed.
Shade By – gives you the ability to change the geography at which the current data layer is shaded. For example, you can create maps of Philadelphia County by zip code or city, instead of the default shade level of census tracts.
PolicyMap displays data at different geography levels; the zoom level determines what geography the data on the map is shaded by. For example, when looking at the nation, data is shaded by state. As you zoom in, the geography the data is shaded might change to the county, zip code, census tract, and finally block group level as you zoom further in; this also depends on the availability of the data at that geography for each data layer. A great place to see what geographies each data layer is available at is the Our Data page.
Source – The top of the legend will display the data source. Whenever possible, the source is a presented as a live link to our Data Directory with more information about that source.
Clear Data Layer – Select the X symbol to the left of the data title in the legend to remove the data layer.
Subscribers and trial users have the ability to create custom values for each range. To customize click Edit Ranges, and define the values for each range. When you are done editing your ranges, click Apply to show the custom ranges on the map. Restore Defaults will revert cut points back to default.
This unique feature allows a user to define their own ranges for how data is shown on the map. The Edit Ranges can be used for any variable in PolicyMap. Users can create custom ranges for income, percentages, percent changes, and much more.
Subscribers or trial users can also change the color spectrum used on the shaded map. If you do not like our default purple color palette, then you can choose the olive or blue. We will have more added soon.
Another great feature for subscribers and trial users is the ability to increase or decrease the number of ranges shown on the map using the pull down menu. This is helpful if you want to simply the ranges of data or if you need to show more complexity in the shading. Also, 2-3 color ranges are better for printing in black and white. This option is available in Edit Ranges.
Just remember, when you initially load a thematic data layer on PolicyMap, you will see the default settings so make sure check the legend for other options to customized the data layer. To read a full guide on all features on PolicyMap, please look at our Primer available here.
If you wanted to know more about a feature or topic, send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org subject “Tutorial Topics”