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Planning Your Dream Move...

Introduction

Your uncle has just called. He's won the lottery and he's buying all of his brothers and sisters houses anywhere in the United States. He's only paying for one move so he says you'd better do your research.

Terraserver

If you're thinking about moving, it might be a good idea to gather information about where you live now first, and then compare it to where you want to move. Let's start with an aerial and topographical map of where you live. Go to Terraserver. Terraserver is one of the largest online databases on the World Wide Web. At Terraserver, you can obtain aerial, street, and topographical maps of areas in the United States. Click on Advanced Find and put in your address and get an aerial photograph of the area around your home. Print it out. Use the House and Home link and find information on the schools, crime, and demographics about the area . Write the essentials down or cut and paste it onto a Word document. If you use cut and paste, click on the top of the columns that are empty and use the Edit or right mouse menu to delete columns. Save the resulting graph with a meaningful name that you will be able to bring up later. Now click on the Related Images on the left hand side and bring up the the topographical map for your area. Click print and then print a copy of the topographical map.

HUD E-Maps

Now go to the HUD E-Maps site and put in your address. This site has information about toxic waste dumps, air pollution sites, and other HUD and EPA data. Put in your address and look at the map. Click on the i above the map to enable the cursor to get more information. After clicking on a landmark, see what information you find out. To change what the map shows, click on the squares in the visible column on the Legends section on the right side of the map. After you click on all of the items you want on the map, click the Refresh button in the upper right corner to display the changes. Explore this map, print out a copy of it, and write a journal describing what you noticed about your area. (If this site is down, see if you can find similar information using a Google search. If you have no luck after 10 minutes, proceed to the Census site.)

Looking at the top bar, you may notice a Census pull-down. The US Census Bureau gathers a tremendous amount of information about the country's population. Rather than look at the limited set of census data at HUD, we're going to go directly to the Census Bureau for their TIGER data. Put in your address (you will need to put in your state and zip code as well). This site looks a bit simple, but looks can be deceiving.

Use the pull down menu under Census to explore the possibilities. You will find that with pull down boxes you can find information on age, income, education, etc. Use this map to create a list of 20 bits of information about the tract where you live.

Use the Info button and click on map points to identify what they are.

American Fact Finder:The Census Bureau

Some of this information is not very clear. Go to the Census Bureau itself. Select Address Search from the menu at the top of the page. From the map, find the census tract number that you live in the scroll area (See example below)

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The Census tract is one of the smallest areas that the Census bureau keeps track of (it does keep track of blocks within the tract). Now click on the Next button (NOT MAP YET!) In this window you have all of the different data that was collected. There is one set that has 100% of the data and has information about ages, sex, and ethnicity. Another, "sample data", has information that not everyone was asked, but enough were asked to give an accurate reading for the town. Part of this data is shown in the window below:

When you click on the Show Map icon on the right, you get a map like the one below of El Cajon, an area of San Diego County, which shows the percentage below the poverty level:

You can change the map by:

Here's a screen shot of the earlier map at the next to the lowest block level:

Notice that you can choose to save data or to print it.

Assignment: Make five theme maps that you believe show something significant about the area where you live. Print the maps out, but also save maps as PDF and data as Excel data for later use. Write out an explanation of what conclusions you draw about the area in which you live. Discuss how the data either confirms or contradicts what you had previously thought about your neighborhood.

For this week's assignment, you should have:

Moving along to next week...