Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday Data: Social Explorer - Part 2

As introduced yesterday, Social Explorer is an interactive map and data report system meant to give the public access to census demographic data both through the creation of maps and downloadable report spreadsheets.

Via the Reports tab (available at the top of any page on the Social Explorer website), users can access the information that the site has to offer (public users can access only select data from Census 2000, while subscribing users can access all of the site's data). The site has a very useful breakdown of the data available, walking the users through each step necessary to find their desired dataset.  Users have a map to move them through these available options, starting with choosing a census year, then geographic location (entire country, state, county etc), then table content choice (age, population, education etc.), and finally the format of the output data (downloadable excel spreadsheet or web image). In addition to the table content choices described, the site has various other options including all available tables, pre-made tables or a search of available tables.  For users that have a subscription, there are numerous additional options available beyond the basic 2000 census data, including limited census data from 1790-1930, a more complete set of census data from 1940-2000, American Community Survey data from 2006-2009, and religious data from 1980-2000, all of which can be searched and viewed by the steps outlined above.

To get detailed step-by-step instructions on how to create and download reports, visit the Report Help page, which has answers to many general questions and basic problems that the average user might encounter.

To remind those that are members of Rice University, visit the links provided in yesterday’s blog to access the University’s subscription to Social Explorer (on Owlnet computers only).

Below I have displayed one of the possible pathways that can be taken to get data from Social Explorer. (Note the helpful "you are here" links to help define dataset attributes and allow for great ease when changing input values.)