Basics - getting started
The maps section of Social Explorer allows you to visualize thousands of variables of data.
Social Explorer maps present census data in a clear, visually comprehensible manner. Maps can be made on a variety of subjects with data from several censuses. Maps can then be used to make reports or slideshows, which can be exported to other programs.
To open the map application, click on the “Maps” button on the blue bar at the top of the home screen, then select the group of censuses you would like to use.
Below is an overview of the tools available in the map application.
Social Explorer makes it easy to navigate maps using 3 tools: zoom-in, zoom-out and pan.
To zoom into an area, you can click on the map while the zoom tool is selected, or you can click and drag a rectagle around the desired area, as shown below.
As you zoom, smaller geographic areas will appear. For example, in the default view, information for counties will be displayed. As you zoom to a smaller area, information for census tracts and other smaller regions will appear.
To zoom out, select the zoom out tool and click on the map. To move your view of the map without changing the zoom level, select the pan tool and then click and drag.
Hint: You can hold the “space” key to pan at any time. To temporarily switch from zoom in to zoom out, hold the “Ctrl” key.
Previous and Next Map
The previous map button returns you to your last view of the map. Once you have gone back, the next page button returns you to more recent maps.
The initial view button returns you to the default view that was first shown of the continental United States.
Understanding the Legend
The legend at the side of the map allows you to choose which census the data comes from, a general subject, and a more specific subheading under that subject. It also shows how the colors of the map represent the data, and gives a key for symbols and lines on the map.
The lower part of the legend summarizes what is being shown on the map, and shows what numbers each color represents. This sample shows that the user selecting from the menus above has made a map showing the percent of couple married without children from the 1990 census tract. Below that, it shows the range of numbers or percentages represented by each color on the map.
At the very bottom of the legend, there is a key explaining the symbols used on the map.
Choosing a map
Select the area you want data for using the navigation tools.
Choose the census you want the data to come from, from the first menu at the top of the legend.
Then choose the subject of the data that will be shown on the map, from the second menu.
From the third menu, choose a more specific subject. You can also choose “no data map” to get a clearer view of the geography of your map.
To print, press the “print” button at the top of the map or choose “Print” from the file menu.
You will be taken to a simplified, printer-friendly version of your map and the legend.
Downloading a Map as an Image File
To export your map to an image file, press the “Print” button.
Then right-click the image of your map on the printer-friendly page and choose “Save As.”
Learn how to export a slideshow to PowerPoint here.
Creating A Report
With Social Explorer, it’s easy to turn your demographic map into a data table. After you have made your map, just press “Report” on the toolbar above the map.
Note: Your report will contain the data for the geographies with black outlines on the maps. So, for example, even though data for the counties appears in colors on the map below, the report for this map would list data for the states.
Step 1: In the box that appears, select what kind of data you want in your report.
Step 2: Choose how you would like to select the area. You can either draw a circle around the desired area, or place points on the map.
If you use the circle, the report will include all areas touching the circle, not just those inside it.
Step 3: Select the desired area. You can still change the view of the map while selecting using the zoom and pan tools. To select using a circle, click and drag until the circle encompasses the desired area, then let go.
To select using points, click in each desired area. To end selection when using points, double-click or press “Make Report” in the Report Help box to the right of the map.
As soon as you have selected the area, another window will pop up containing your report and a map showing which areas you have selected. The report will also contain data for all regions that encompass the area you selected.