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Visual Data Analytics VDA Mapserver
  -- developing insights into patterns, change and trends
  -- geographic, demographic, economic characteristics

.. the world is in constant change. Keeping up with knowing about the where, what, how and how much of change is and might occur can be challenging. "Knowing" is important for many reasons from understanding opportunities that may exist to learning how change might impact us. Visual analysis using interactive mapping is often the most effective and fastest way to answer many types of geodemographic questions. Communicating and collaborating with others can produce better results using maps than using tabular data alone.

Click to start mapserver .. important getting started notes .. usage strategies .. e-mail questions/comments .. Topics

Use VDA in your online meetings. Collaborate on geographic and demographic economic topics.

News/Updates ..
09.04.20. Modifications to Layers .. more in layers section
08.06.20. New Unemployment Rate & Employment Situation 6/20; U.S. by Census Tract .. more in layers section
08.04.20. New Unemployment Rate & Employment Siutation 6/20; U.S. by County .. more in layers section
07.29.20. Login & Registration
07.28.20. Use the Copy to Clipboard Feature to compare areas in a spreadsheet
07.26.20. Updated VDA features and new/extended data/layers
07.20.20. State Real GDP Updated .. 2020Q1 see below

Visual Data Analytics VDA Mapserver. The VDA Mapserver is a learning resource, a tool that you can use for interactive mapping and geospatial analysis using only Internet and a browser. The VDA Mapserver is set apart from related tools due to the scope and style of accessing data for wide-ranging geography and frequently updated demographic-economic subject matter data. Use our unique combination of Federal statistical data with proprietary current estimates and projections.

In the public use form, there is nothing to install. Use VDA anywhere. VDA is available in these forms:
  • Web-based interactive access using a browser and HTML .. get started now, click this link.
  • Installed on your hosted server for your private (e.g., organization-wide) use.
  • Provided as a complete turnkey package for use on your site with related GIS project developer tools.
    .. integrate your own data.

This document provides an overview of the VDA MapServer. VDA has been developed by Warren Glimpse and Takashi Hamilton. All that is required to use VDA is a Web browser. iOS and Android versions are supported. VDA uses the same core structure as the Windows desktop CV XE GIS.

Topics
  • MapServer Start-Up View
  • MapServer User Interface & Operation
  • Layers
  • Application Examples
    - How and Why County Demographics are Changing
    - Real GDP by State
    - Examining Economic Prosperity by Congressional District
    - National/Regional School District Analytics
    - Examining a School District with neighborhood drill-down
    - Examining a Neighborhood
    - Patterns of Economic Prosperity by ZIP Code in Context of Metro
    - ZIP Code Business Patterns in Context of City
    - Viewing Census Tracts in Context of ZIP Codes
  • Usage Strategies
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Support
  • Terms of Use

Visual Orientation -- Start-up View .. goto top
The VDA web-based mapserver start-up view is shown below; use the mapserver operates with most browsers. Access the mapserver real-time to view the graphic shown below interactively. The start-up view is focused on metropolitan areas. This view shows patterns of economic prosperity -- per capita real Gross Domestic Product (MetroGDP 2018) by Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).


.. click graphic for larger view.

See more about this topic -- Metros Patterns & Characteristics and related interactive table

Developing/Modifying the MapServer GIS Project .. goto top
The Geographic Information System (GIS) project used in the mapserver is developed using the ProximityOne CV XE GIS Windows-based software (not required to use the mapserver). The GIS project used by the mapserver is provided in a ready to use form. No knowledge of the Windows-based software is required. Optionally use the CV XE GIS version to modify the GIS project with, for example, a different start-up view or to add other data/geography.


MapServer User Interface -- What am I seeing .. goto top

Login & Registration
Now in a development stage, enter the value "demo" for userid and "demo" for password in the Login screen. Omit quotes.

The mapserver user interface is described below. These are components of an interactive HTML page. The above mapserver graphic shows these elements:
  • Left Control Panel
    - Select dropdown
- Set a selected geography to display attributes of a geographic object clicked in the map window.
- Metros are selected by default.
- When a geographic object is clicked in the map window, its attributes are displayed in the Attribute Panel.
    - Query
- Use a query to find and zoom to a geographic object, then shown in the map window.
- Edit boxes shown to the left of the query/search button contain the value of the geocode used in the search.
- When the geocode has been entered, click the find button to start the search;
    in 2-5 seconds the map window refreshes with a zoom view of the geographic object.
- obtain geocodes from tables in links above the map window.
    - Attributes/Profile panel
- When a geographic object is clicked in the map window, its attributes are displayed in this panel.
- Attributes are displayed for the geographic object as set in the Select Dropdown.
- use CopytoClipboard to copy the attributes profile content to clipboard. Paste in spreadsheet/other application.
    - Legend Panel
- The legend panel is a scroll section; use right scroll bar to navigate vertically.
- When a layer is checked it is shown in the map window.
.. click the checkbox to show (x appears) or uncheck to remove the layer view from the map window.
.. these are temporary/navigational operations to create the desired view.
  • Map window
  • Header Panel, above Map Window, user support/reference links
  • Bottom Panel, below Map Window, navigation tools

Legend Panel & Layers .. goto top
These layers are shown in the legend panel.
  National Scope Layers
    -- States --
  States   Used to show state boundaries
  State Label   State label (STAB) for states
  RGDP 20Q1C x State   State Real GDP thematic pattern
    -- K-12 Schools --
  K12 School Name   K-12 Public School Names
  K12 Schools   K-12 Public School markers
    -- Metros --
  Metros/MSA   MSA Boundary
  Metros/MSA Name   MSA label (name)
  Metros/MSA Pop2019   MSA label (2019 population)
  Metros/MSA $PCRGDP2018   MSA per capita Real GDP 2018
    -- School Districts --
  School District Names   School District label (name)
  School Districts   School District boundaries
  $PSCS x School District   School District Thematic Pattern - per student current expenditure
  County Outline   County Boundaries
    -- Congressional Districts --
  CD Code   Congressional District label (code)
  CD %CollGrad   Congressional District label (percent college graduate)
  $MHI x CD   Congressional District Median Household Income thematic map
    -- Counties --
  Counties Name   County label (name)
  Counties Pop2019   County label (2019 population)
  Counties Unemp Rate 6/20   County Unemployment Rate June 2020 thematic pattern
  Cty Pop Gain 2010-19   County by Population Gain 2010-2019 thematic map
  Cty Pop Loss 2010-19   County by Population Loss 2010-2019 thematic map
    -- Cities --
  Cities Name   Cities label (name)
  Cities Pop2019   Cities Label (2019 population)
    -- ZIP Codes --
  ZIP Code   ZIP Code label (ZIP code)
  ZIP Code Bold   ZIP Code Bold Outline
  $MHI x ZIP Code   Median Household Income b ZIP Code thematic pattern
  Establishments x ZIP   ZIP Code label (number of business establishments
    -- Census Tracts --
  Tracts Code   Census tracts label (code)
  Tracts Hispanic   Census tracts label (Hispanic population)
  $MHI x Tract   Census tract Median Household Income thematic map
  Tract UnEmpl Rate 6/2020   Census tract Unemployment Rate June 2020 thematic map .. more about these estimates
  Illustrative Layers
  Dallas TX Roads   Road segments; intersection to intersection with name
  Dallas TX Blocks   Census blocks label (2019 housing units)
  Dallas TX Block Groups   Census block groups; bolded boundary
  World/Global Layers
  World by Country   World by Country by Province/State
  Country Projections 2050   World by Country Demographics label (population 2020)
  Base Layer   Web-based topography tiling
  States1   States

Other layers can be added, in a manner similar to using CV XE GIS. Using the interactive version, explore checking the layers on/off.

Modification to Layers 09/04/20 .. goto top
The three Dallas layers listed above have been replaced with:
- Houston, TX Roads (this layer is actually all of Harris County, TX)
- Houston, TX Blocks (this layer is actually all of Harris County, TX)
- Block Groups -- now U.S. national scope coverage.
These are large files with applications intended at the metro or county level. To get started exploring use of these layers and data, it is suggested you first proceed as follows:
Start the mapserver -- even if in operation, restart.
Step 1 -- Optionally uncheck the Metros layer in the Legend Panel.
Step 2 -- Select ZIP Code in Select panel (upper left)
Step 3 -- Click the Find ZIP Code in the Query section (upper left, below Select)
    .. the view refreshes focusing on ZIP Code 77072
    .. optionally use any ZIP code in Harris County
Step 4 -- Click these three layers on in the legend panel (toward bottom), pause for refresh display between each:
    .. Block Groups
    .. Houston Blocks
    .. Houtons Roads
Experiment using these layers, checking on and on in legend panel
Step 5 -- optional click in that ZIP code area, in the map, to show the ZIP code study area.     .. using the ZIP code as a first step is arbitrary.
    .. it could be any "smaller area" such as a metro, city, county, tract, something smaller than state.

Using Clipboard Feature .. goto top
Use the CopytoClipboard button to copy the attributes profile content to clipboard.
- paste the copied content in spreadsheet/other application.
- the CopytoClipboard button appears in the expanded Attributes section.

The following example illustrates copying/pasting the attributes for the Dallas and Houston metro into a spreadsheet. Optionally add other data and create computed values.

.. click graphic for larger view.

Examining How and Why County Demographics are Changing .. goto top
.. more on assessing the pandemic impact in an update to this section.
Create a national scope county demographic change thematic pattern view, showing how and why population is changing. Proceed as follows.
Start the mapserver -- even if in operation, restart.
Step 1 -- Optionally uncheck the Metros layer in the Legend Panel.
Step 2 -- Check these layers on:
    .. Cty Pop Gain 2010-2019
    .. Cty Pop Loss 2010-2019
Click + button at left of checkbox in above two layers (expands legend showing the interval/section colors and ranges).

Map window refreshes with this view:


.. click graphic for larger view.

See more about this topic -- How and Where County Demographics are Changing and related interactive table.

Examining How Real GDP by State is Changing .. goto top
.. more on assessing the pandemic impact forthcoming in updates to this section.
View national scope GDP change thematic pattern view. Proceed as follows.
Start the mapserver -- even if in operation, restart.
Step 1 -- Optionally uncheck the Metros layer in the Legend Panel.
Step 2 -- Check these layers on:
    .. State Label (wait for map to refresh)
    .. RGDP 20Q1C x State (wait for map to refresh)
    .. Click + button at left of checkbox in above layer (expands legend showing interval/section colors & ranges).
        - labels show 2020Q1 real GDP; underlying GDP data update quarterly.
Step 3 -- View state data profile; tabular data.
    .. Select State in Select dropdown at top left.
    .. Click on New York State to show data profile in lower left panel.
    .. See the real GDP quarterly change values for each quarter 2019Q1, 2019Q2, 2019Q3, 2019Q4, 2020Q1.

Map window refreshes with view shown below.


.. click graphic for larger view.

See more about this topic -- State Demographic-Economic Trends.

Examining Economic Prosperity by Congressional District .. goto top
.. more on assessing the pandemic impact forthcoming in updates to this section.
View national scope GDP change thematic pattern view. Proceed as follows.
Start the mapserver -- even if in operation, restart.
Step 1 -- Optionally uncheck the Metros layer in the Legend Panel (recommended).
Step 2 -- Check the layer $MHI x CD
Step 3 -- Click the [+] button to left of layer name (expanding/showing the interval view).

Map window refreshes with view shown below.


.. click graphic for larger view.

See more about this topic -- Congressional Districts.

National/Regional School District Analytics .. goto top
More on assessing the pandemic impact in forthcoming updates; check back.
Proceed as follows.
Start the mapserver -- even if in operation, restart.
- optionally uncheck the Metros layer in the Legend Panel.
- in Select dropdown (top left) select School District.
- click the $PSCS by School District layer on in the legend panel.
- click the [+] button to left of layer name (expanding/showing the interval view)
- the map window refreshes to show the view shown below
- Per Capita Current Spending (2018) by school district.
- Optionally click on a school district; the attribute panel populates with the attributes.
- In this example, Broward County, FL was clicked.
- Examining the Attribute grid, it can be seen that
    the total population of the district is 1,909,151 with total enrollment of 279,156, among other attributes.
- As navigation aids, zoom to an area of interest and click on the School District Names layer
- Zoom/navigate to any district, view the thematic pattern, click on the district of interest to view the Attributes.


.. click graphic for larger view.

See more about this topic ...
-- Financing Americas Schools.
-- See related interactive table.

School District Analytics .. goto top
More on assessing the pandemic impact in forthcoming updates; check back.
  .. examining vulnerable populations in the school district community and neighborhood drilldown.
The following steps illustrate how to locate/focus on a school district and examine sub-district demographics.
Proceed as follows.
Start the mapserver -- even if in operation, restart.
Step 1 -- Optionally uncheck the Metros layer in the Legend Panel.
Step 2 -- Click the Find School District button (above legend)
    .. use the default value 4807830 (Alief ISD, TX; Houston area) .. could be any school district; illustrative codes:
        - Edgewood ISD, San Antonio, TX -- 4818150
        - Wichita USD, KS -- 2012990
        - Fairfax County, VA -- 5101260
        - find code for school district of interest - view list.
    .. wait for map to refresh with zoomed view of this area.
    .. Optionally click free select button below map window to remove selection highlight.
Step 3 -- View demographic profile for district; compare to another.
    .. select the School option from the select dropdown (top left above search tools).
    .. click in Alief ISD district in the map window to show tabular profile in lower right panel.
    .. See in the Alief ISD profile that there the ACS 2018 5-year estimated total population is 286,463
        with median age of 31.6 year.
    .. click in Fort Bend ISD, south; see total population is 411,424 with median age of 36.1 years.
Step 4 -- Drill-down to neighborhood/tract .. check these layers on:
    .. School District Names (wait for map window refresh)
    .. School Districts
    .. $MHI by Tract
    .. now you can see patterns of economic prosperity by neighborhood.
Step 5 -- View a profile for a selected tract.
&nbs p;   .. select the Tract option from the select dropdown (top left above search tools).
    .. click any tract in the map window to show tabular profile in lower right panel.
    .. suggest the one highlighted/by pointer in the finished view below.
    .. See in the profile that there are 6,041 Hispanic population
        of the total 3,439 population in this tract (48201433003)
Step 6 -- Labeling tracts with a demographics.
    .. click on the Tracts Hispanic layer.
See the view with tracts labeled with Hispanic population.


.. click graphic for larger view.

See more about this topic and a school district in context of other school districts
-- School District Demographics.
-- Get codes for any school district.

Neighborhood Analytics .. goto top
More on assessing the pandemic impact in forthcoming updates; check back
Create a view of sub-county neighborhood patterns. Proceed as follows.
Start the mapserver -- even if in operation, restart.
Step 1 -- Optionally uncheck the Metros layer in the Legend Panel.
Step 2 -- Click the Find Cty button (above legend)
    .. use the default value 48201 (Harris County, TX) .. could be any state+county code
        - find a stcty code for a county of interest - view list.
    .. wait for map to refresh with zoomed view of this area.
Step 3 -- Check this layer on:
    .. $MHI by Tract
    .. wait for map to refresh with tract/neighborhood thematic pattern map.
    .. expand the layer attributes by clicking + at left of $MHI by Tract legend name.
    .. now you can see patterns of economic prosperity by neighborhood.
Step 4 -- View a profile for a selected tract.
    .. select the Tract option from the select dropdown (top left above search tools).
    .. click any tract in the map window to show tabular profile in lower right panel.
    .. suggest the one highlighted/by pointer in the finished view below.
    .. See in the profile that there are 3,336 Hispanic population
        of the total 5,953 population in this tract (48201211100)

.. click graphic for larger view.

See more about this topic and a tract in context of other tracts
-- Census Tract Demoographic-Economic interactive tables.

Examining Patterns of Economic Prosperity by ZIP Code .. goto top
More on assessing the pandemic impact in forthcoming updates; check back.
The graphic below shows patterns of median household income by ZIP code area
in the Atlanta metro area. The pointer is located at the boundary for the metro.
Proceed as follows to craete this view.
Start the mapserver -- even if in operation, restart.
- uncheck the "Metros/MSA $PCRGDP" layer in the legend panel.
- check the "Metros/MSA" layer in the legend panel.
- use the Zoom tool to navigate to the Atlanta area.
- use the Select dropdown (top left) to select ZIP Code.
- check the "$MHI x ZIP Code" layer on in the legend panel (lower left).
- to view a tabular profile for a selected ZIP code, click on that ZIP code area.
    .. illustrated green hatched ZIP in view below.
- click Attributes panel (above legend panel) to show tabular profile for this ZIP code.
    .. see that the median household income (MHI) for ZIP code 30039 is $66,774.
- create similar views for areas of interest

- click graphic for larger view

ZIP Code Business Patterns in Context of City .. goto top
More on assessing the pandemic impact in forthcoming updates; check back.
Proceed as follows.
Start the mapserver -- even if in operation, restart.
- optionally uncheck the Metros layer in the Legend Panel.
- in Select dropdown (top left) select Cities.
- key in 0666000 (San Diego) in the City Query box below the Select dropdown;
    then click the Cities search button.

The view below shows patterns of the number of business establishments by ZIP code in context of a selected city.
- San Diego is the "selected" city; blue cross-hatch.
- ZIP Code layer code and Establishments by ZIP Code layer are checked on.
- pointer at La Jolla location showing that ZIP Code 92037 has 2,489 business establishments.
- in this view the attributes profile is for the city; set select to tract and click tract for tabular profile.

.. click graphic for larger view.

See more about this topic ...
-- ZIP Code Business Patterns.
-- See related interactive table.


Viewing Census Tracts in Context of ZIP Codes .. goto top
More on assessing the pandemic impact in forthcoming updates; check back.
In this example, VDA is used to show attributes of census tracts intersecting with a ZIP Code.
Proceed as follows.
Start the mapserver -- even if in operation, restart.
- key in ZIP code 85258 in the ZIP query edit box; Click ZIPCode query button.
- 85258 is located in Scottsdale, AZ, this operation works with any ZIP Code area (not P.O. Boxes).
- the Map Window refreshes with a zoomed in view of this ZIP Code, shown with blue cross-hatch pattern.
- in the Select dropdown (top left), select ZIPCode.
    click in ZIP Code 85258 in the Map Window, a profile of that ZIP code appears in the Attributes panel.
    in the Attributes profile, see that there are 1,704 business establishments in this ZIP code.

- add census tracts ...
- in the legend panel, click checkbox to turn on/show these layers:
    Tracts code
    Tracts Hispanic

The view in the Map Window should appear as shown in the graphic shown below.
- The blue hatched area is ZIP Code 85258.
- Tracts are shown with black boundaries with two labels:
    tract code (upper label) .. the tract code for the upper left tract is 216813
    the Hispanic population (lower label) in the upper left tract is 154.

Get a profile for a tract ...
- in the Select dropdown (top left), select Tract.
- click in the tract 216813 in the Map Window; the tract now shows as selected (blue cross-hatched).
    the Attributes profile now shows the total population of this tract to be 4,149.

.. click graphic for larger view.

See more about this topic ...
-- Equivalencing ZIP Code and Census Tract Geographic-Demographics.
-- See related interactive table.

Usage Strategies .. goto top

Login & Registration
Now in a development stage, enter the value "demo" for userid and "demo" for password in the Login screen. Omit quotes.

Start-up. The start-up view may change from time-to-time. Right now it is focused on metros -- while much of this document shows the start-up as Congressional Districts. Get the Congressional District view with these steps:
  • uncheck the metros layer in the legend panel.
  • check on the $MHI x CD layer.
  • click the expand button [+] to the left of the $MHI x CD layer name.

Device. While VDA operates on iPhone, Android, iPad and other tablets, desktop/laptop PCs or Macs are recommedned.

Start-up. Unless you are interested in Congressional Districts, first steps might be to uncheck the $MHI x CD layer (removes view from map window) and clicking the expand button to left of $MHI x CD layer name (removes interval view so more of the legend is visible.

There are many aspects to consider with regard to usage strategies. A primary consideration is use of some of the larger, more detailed, layers. For example, the tracts and school district layers are very large. Displaying these layers at the national level will work, but it will be slow and possibly of little utility.

Before checking these layers on, in the legend panel, possibly first zoom-in to a broader area of interest. For example, you might want to view school districts in context of a county or congressional district.

Frequently Asked Questions .. goto top

Q. What is a Geographic Information System (GIS)?
A. See About GIS.

Q. What is a GIS project?
A. A GIS project is a text file that contains start-up settings to be displayed in the Map Window.
    These include the geographic extent and settings for how each shapefile or other geographic resource
    are used by the project and initially displayed in the map window and legend panel..

Q. Can I modify the VDA GIS project?
A. Not in the mapserver but the GIS project can be modified using the related CV XE GIS software.

Q. How do I get geographic codes used in the search tools?
A. Use the links above the map window to view an interactive table with area names and codes.
    Also shown here: Congressional Districts .. Metros .. Counties .. School Districts .. Tracts ..

Support .. goto top

  • Participate in a Weekly Web Session. Get answers to your questions. See VDA in operation.
  • Participate in the Using GIS and GeoDemographics course.
  • Join the User Group to receive updates.
  • Send your question through the Contact Us form.
  • E-mail us with questions or comments.

Terms of Use .. goto top

  • VDA is a proprietary resource developed by Warren Glimpse and Takashi Hamilton.
  • There are no warranties relating to any aspect of using VDA or related data or materials.
  • The VDA user (you) are solely responsible for any use made of VDA or related data or materials.
  • The nonsubscriber version of VDA is for personal use only.

We value your opinions and want to make VDA responsive to your needs. Please share information on how we can improve VDA. Thank you.  


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