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Instructions to create a density map using census.gov

To create your own census tract density maps, follow these instructions. This process only works for locations within the United States. You must know the name of the county you want to see, and be able to take a screen capture image using photoshop or another graphics program.

  1. Go to factfinder2.census.gov.
  2. Click “advanced search” and then “show me all”.
  3. Search for topic/table name “GCT-PH1″ and hit “go”, but do not actually select any of the results.
  4. Once the results are listed on the screen, click the “geographies” button.
  5. Use drop-down menu to select “….. County – 050″, then use the drop-down boxes to pick the state and county you want, and click “add to your selections”.
  6. After you’ve selected the county, click “close” in upper right corner of the geographies pop-up.
  7. Click the table titled “Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 – County – Census Tract”
  8. A new page will load. Click the “Create a map” link.
  9. Find the table column for population, under the “density per square mile of land area” header, and click on the 2nd number from top (do not click the top number).
  10. A pop-up will appear. Click “show map”.
    This is all you need to do to create a map. The rest of the instructions will explain how to make it the same scale as the maps shown on BeyondDC and Greater Greater Washington in March 2013. If you don’t care about matching scale, take a screencap and declare victory.
  11. When the map loads, click “colors and data classes”
  12. Change transparency to 0%
  13. Change number of classes to 4 (if it is not already).
  14. Change classing method to “user defined”.
  15. Set the values to be:
    0 – 9999.9
    10000 – 19999.9
    20000 – 39999.9
    40000 – (whatever is the max)
    (If your city has a max below 40,000 you will need to adjust the scale, because the webpage will not accept a null result. You will then have to change the color of the affected tracts using photoshop.)
  16. Click “go”.
  17. When the map loads, take a screencap.
  18. To go back and make another one for a different place, click “back to advanced search” and select a different geography. You will need to remove the county you don’t want anymore from the “your selections” panel in the upper left.

March 26th, 2013 | Permalink
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