Help Notes here is for your successfully navigation on our 2000+ mapping system. Print our Help Notes which include an explanation of the Application Features and Navigation Tools as well as a Frequently Asked Questions section, or click Help button anytime while you navigate 2000+.


1. Application Features


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Map Window

The Map Window displays the primary map and a smaller overview map at the upper left corner of your screen giving you a broader view of the geographic region displayed in the large Map Window and helps you understand 'where you are' in relation to nation as a whole.  see Map above

Notice Bar

Also at the bottom of the map is text explaining what layer is active(displayed). in here, user can see attribute tables of selcted counties and query results.

Legend & Layers

The legend found on the left of the Map Window in a white box explains the mapping features visible on the Map such as county or town boundaries (see Map above).

Once you choose a category and a variable the legend displays the ranges for each attribute as seen in the example below. In this case, Race and Ethnicity has been selected as the category and the variable chosen is Percent Black. Looking at the legend, you notice a color code for the range of this variable, Percent Black. For example, the top pink color represents those towns on the map selected with populations that are 0-1 percent Black.  we used even distribution methold for 10 category in each map legend.

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MSA Layer

If you want to see satellite images or MSA bounday overlay on the map selected, click on the white box labeled MSA on the left hand side of the Map Window under the Choose a Variable drop down menu.  Check this box and then click the Refresh Map button. one of those layers will appear on the map in the Map Window.



2.Navigation Tools  


Located at the top of the Map window, these tools, represented by icons, help you navigate the map. Most of the tools are self-explanatory - similar to those used in other PC software - such as zoom in ( Pan), zoom out  Zoom Out), pan ( Print), print ( Print) and clear ( Clear Selection).  Others are specific to this application and other GIS systems.

Also, if you rest your mouse cursor over the icon on the tool bar, a brief definition appears explaining its use. If you click the tool, a notice appears just below it giving you the option of learning more about this tool in our power point tutorial.

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Zoom In  

The second tool on the bar is used to magnify or Zoom In on the area of interest. Use this tool ( Zoom In  ) when you want to view a smaller area in more detail. Click the Zoom In tool once and then click on the area of interest on the map. This will enlarge the area by a factor of 2 and you can keep clicking till you get the detail you desire. During this process some of the layers disappear while new layers appear.  For example, the first click may show you the data and boundaries for towns and cities, and the second click may reveal data at the level of census tracts.

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Zoom Out  

Moving along you will find the Zoom Out tool ( Zoom Out  ) which allows you to view a larger area in less detail. Click the Zoom Out tool and click the area that you want to view from a larger perspective. It re-centers the map (once you click) and reduces the area by a factor of 2.



In the middle of the tool bar is the Pan tool ( Pan ) which allows you to browse around the map without using the zoom in and zoom out tools- moving the viewable area of the map (left, right, up, down). Click on the Pan icon on the tool bar and move your mouse to the desired area of the map, hold and wait for the new map to load.


Identify ()

Moving to the right you'll find the Identify tool used to view the statistical data for the visible geographic region. The map itself shows you data in categories; the Identify tool lets you see the exact numbers for county visible on the map viewed in notice bar area. Click once on this tool and then click on any spot on the map.  attribute table appears showing information about all the layers of geography for the spot you clicked on.

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Clear Tool ()

After you have used the Identify tool to view information, you must use the Clear Selection tool ( Clear Selection), second from the right of the tool bar, to erase the geography selected in this process. You must also use the Clear tool after using the Select by rectangle, Select by Polygon and Query tools. Using this eraser wipes the Map Window clean of the last selection allowing you to start on a new query or selection.



When you click on this  tool you open a Query box just below the map at the bottom of your Map Window screen.  The query tool can help you find or identify counties that meet specific criteria within the category you have selected.


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Select by Polygon  

This tool ( Select by Line/Polygon) allows you more specificity when selecting a region or geography by drawing an irregular polygon to include areas of interest. With a little practice you can draw a polygon that includes any set of adjacent areas that you wish to see information for.  Then follow the same directions (see above) for Select by Rectangle. After you have used this tool to identify the layers of information, you must use the Clear Selection tool to get rid of or erase the geography selected in this process.


By clicking on the last icon, the print tool ( Print) you can print the map as it appears in the Map Window along with a specific title. When you click on this tool a window appears at the bottom of the Map Window. Use the scroll bars on the right to allow you to allow you to fully view this window.

You can give your map a title by typing it into the field labeled, "Type the title here".

Then click on 'Create Print page' to open a new browser window similar to a print preview one showing the map, Overview Map, and Legend. You can then use the File/Print menu item to send the page to your printer.

To copy and paste data into a spreadsheet, highlight everything in the table, right click your mouse and select copy. Open up Excel, and paste the data into a spreadsheet. Once you've completed this, you can review the various characteristics of these tracts in the spreadsheet. You could save this spreadsheet or import it into another program for further analysis.


Download Data

You can download the data in two ways: 1) by performing a query or 2) by "identifying" the data and copy/pasting the results (revealed in a pop up window) in an excel spreadsheet. You can also go to the Direct Download section to copy the whole data file if you are able to work with large files


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3. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 Q1: What is a web-based GIS?

A Web-Based GIS (Geographic Information Systems) is an Internet-based tool that allows you to display, query and understand spatial data in an easy-to-use browser application that does not require any GIS software. 

Q2: What information can I get from this application?

We have selected some key social and economic indicators that offer important information about counties and towns/census tracts. These include many from the U.S. Census: population characteristics such as population density, population growth, racial composition, and age; economic indicators including median household income, poverty and public assistance rates, and education; and housing information such as median rent, house value, and homeownership.  At the county level there are additional indicators from non-census sources.

Q3: How do I browse the website?

It is highly recommended that you start by reading our HELP page which gives you an overall idea of how to browse the map application, how to explain and interpret the map and data available. Also be sure to review the Navigation Tools section as well. While some of the tools may be familiar to you, some are very specific to GIS applications.

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Q4: What do the icons in the toolbar mean?

See the explanation in the ' Navigation Tools' section.

Q5: How do I use the application to ask specific data questions?

See the description for our Query tool in the Navigation Tools' section.

Q6: What are the definitions of the variables and how do I decide which ones to look at?

Brief descriptions of the variables that you can map on this system are provided on download codebook in download section.  To properly interpret the data you need to understand exactly what information is being provided as it relates to the question you are trying to answer.

For example, let's say you are interested in knowing how the local economy is doing in a particular set of census tracts. The first thing you might consider is what Economic Indicators do we use in this mapping application? What variables and their corresponding data did we look at to paint this economic picture? With a visit to Download codebook in the download section you can review the Economic category and find the variables used, and generally considered relevant to how healthy an economy is, such as rates of unemployment, college-educated population, and public assistance.

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Q7: How can I print the map?

See the "How to print a map" section

Q8: Can I save this map?

Yes! You can save the map by right clicking on the Map Window and selecting 'save picture as'. You can also give the map a title and arrange it for printing.

Q9: Can I download the data?

Yes! You can download the data in two ways - by performing a query or by "identifying" the data and copy/pasting the results (revealed in a pop up window) in an excel spreadsheet. You can also go to the Direct Download section to copy the whole data file if you are able to work with large files

Q10: Where do I get further information? How do I contact the Mumford Center?

Click here for Mumford contact information.

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Copyright © 2006 Lewis Mumford Center. All rights reserved