Massachusetts Census and Google Fusion

2010 Massachusetts Census Results by Town  – Google Fusion

Population | -5,000 | 5,001 -30,000| 30,001-75,000 | 75,001-125,000|+125,001

About a week ago I read a post from James Fee about a really impressive mash-up displaying the 2010 US Census redistricting data.  The mash-up came from WNYC displaying NYC’s 2010 US Census redistricting data by census tract. The development of the mash-up was explained in detail in a blog by John Keefe.

The map authors used Google Fusion to serve their data.  As we know Fusion allows for data with a spatial component to be easily mapped in Google Maps, but polygon mapping is limited to large geographic extents, like states or countries.  This limits users who may want to map data that doesn’t fit this mold.

The authors of the WNYC map needed more geographic detail, so they imported a number of census tract shapefiles into Google Fusion using a tool called Shape to Fusion.  They then merged several tables with the spatial data and then visualized it using Fusion’s visualization tools.  Shape to Fusion provided a great work around.  This online tool loads a zipped shapefile into a table in the user’s Google Fusion account, creating a geometry column.  The geometry column can then be mapped in Google Maps.  Brilliant!  The concept of storing geometry in a database isn’t new, but Shape to Fusion’s capabilities in the Google Fusion interface are slick.

So, after reading John Keefe’s blog I wanted to try it our for myself.  First, I went to MassGIS and downloaded town boundary data that included population counts from the 1980 to 2000 census.  Next, I downloaded the 2010 town census data from the Massachusetts Secretary of State.  After I loaded the 2010 census data into my Google Fusion account I used the Shape to Fusion tool to load the zipped shapefile into my Google Fusion account.   I merged the spatial data and the census data based on the town field and presto, web maps.

Following the advice of John Keefe‘s blog I created a separate table for each layer I wanted to map and the results are below.  Now, I don’t have the bells and whistles that the WNYC map has yet, but I was able to generate four embeddable maps in minutes that fit well in a blog format.  In fact, it probably took me longer to write this blog than it did to create the maps.  When I get some free time or when SF1 comes out I’ll build a more robust mash-up using this technique.

Here are the maps.  The user can click on a town a get some basic information as well.

1980 Massachusetts Population

Population | -5,000 | 5,001 -30,000| 30,001-75,000 | 75,001-125,000|+125,001

1990 Massachusetts Population

Population | -5,000 | 5,001 -30,000| 30,001-75,000 | 75,001-125,000|+125,001

2000 Massachusetts Population

Population | -5,000 | 5,001 -30,000| 30,001-75,000 | 75,001-125,000|+125,001

2010 Massachusetts Population

Population | -5,000 | 5,001 -30,000| 30,001-75,000 | 75,001-125,000|+125,001

Get mapping!