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Making Sense of Census Mapping with OpenGeo Suite

Every ten years, the US census collects a staggering array of information about the population, collates it, and then releases it in raw form. It is a truly majestic compendium of data! But, the trouble with census data is that there’s just so darn much of it. Making one map layer for each census variable of interest would be a labor of years: surely there’s an easier way?

Indeed there is, and we’ve built a small example application to show how to do it:

  • Get some data from the US Census
  • Join it to a layer of US county polygons
  • Apply a dynamic data normalization strategy
  • Add a pretty theme
  • Build a light user interface to switch between variables
  • Profit!

With the Suite, we were able to build a quick Census mapping application very quickly!

  • OpenLayers 3 gives us a light map frame and connects to a drop-down to choose layers, while
  • GeoServer gives us a rendering engine, and lets us pass dynamic SQL to
  • PostGIS, which normalizes the data for consumption by a single standard thematic style.

You can learn how we did it and build one yourself, or click the picture below to try it out!

Census Map