[OSGeo-Discuss] Population statistics in GIS Softwares

Parv Aggarwal Parv at latinoccu.org
Sat Jun 3 10:04:27 PDT 2017

Hi all,

I know the census geocoder can get lat/long and FIPS codes, up til 1000 entries... 1) what's the best free alternative for over 1000 entries which still preserves data privacy? 2) what's the best way to batch map/convert FIPS codes to zip codes or vice versa? I need to create an equivalency to  be able to simultaneously view census and our own population data.


From: Parv Aggarwal
Sent: Monday, May 22, 2017 11:59 AM
To: 'discuss at lists.osgeo.org' <discuss at lists.osgeo.org>
Subject: Population statistics in GIS Softwares

Hi QGIS Community,
I'm Parv, an analytics intern at the Latino Community Credit Union here in North Carolina. I'm tasked with finding and using GIS software to visualize both US Census data and our membership data at micro levels to determine best locations for expansions. As per my instructions, this means being able to:

-          Visualize Hispanic or Latino population by smaller units than zip codes.  We have worked with Census tracts in the past and that is ideal, but there are even smaller areas with population data, like census blocks.  If we can see in a map where the higher number of Latinos live and also see the streets so that we can imagine potential locations and draw areas around them, we could identify optimal locations.

-          If we get a proposal for a location, for example a realtor contacts us and says "I have a great place for rent at 1309 CĂșcuta Dr," we should be able to enter the address in the software and define an area around it, draw that area and know how many Latinos live there.  The areas could be circles, free shape forms, circles cut by major highways or barriers we would think people wouldn't cross...

-          Of course we should be able to add our own data to the software, like those addresses of our current members, and be able to look at, say, total balances of members who live in a defined area.

As we're a non-profit, we prefer Open Source Ware over high cost ware like ArcGIS. I have installed QGIS and am currently exploring its capabilities via the user guide/training manual. I know I first have to do a join on census csv population data and tract or block shapefiles. Assuming I'm able to do that, I am trying to find relevant sections that would show me how to do this micro level aggregation of population data. I believe in ArcGIS this is called "create buffers around a point" but I am not sure if this is the relevant way to do it in QGIS or not. I searched for buffers in the training manual but I still can't tell if it means the same thing or is relevant for my purposes. I'm also going through the vector analysis and processing sections but end up getting lost on what's relevant and what's not. I wanted to ask if QGIS was indeed the best suited software for this purpose or is there something simpler out there I should check out instead.


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