Thursday, February 23, 2017

Lab 5 Processing Data

Simply using the U.S. census website one can simply use the search engine to find information regarding FIPS codes. The FIPS county code is a five-digit Federal Information Processing System code, which is assigned to identify counties in the United States. FIPS code are important because they are used for to define geographic location for public systems such as Emergency Alert System (EAS) and NOAA Weather Radio (NWR). FIPS codes are simply an identifier, but there care cases when it is used for class codes meaning different areas in the United States. Click here for more information on FIPS class codes. Searching for FIPS codes is easy as to searching information regarding what FIPS are and what they used for. 

Mapping data is not always a headache especially if you have OCD when it comes to organization, which in that case it would be easy. Mapping the data for North and South Dakota is a difficult task because it is free data from online sources, which are usually messy and disorganized, but interesting information can be analyzed. The free data most of the time will have a feature to download the data in excel where now it is easier to finagle with. Yes there are a few issues to address, which can be a headache, but that’s the idea of mapping. A lot of information online that is not in excel form can still be converted into excel format by using certain features in excel such as the “text to columns” where a table from a website can be organized in cell blocks in excel.

By simply mapping population data from 1900 to 2015 for two states is a lot of work, but interesting work. Patterns are found such as FIPS codes increasing by a number of 2, the amount of time a certain county existed for or vice versa. Some counties ended around the 1970’s and some counties started at the start of the 21st century. Mapping all the counties in the entire US would be one big project because cleaning the data would take long however the work would be fun. What other way of seeing the trends and population movements across the US over decades? Mapping counties is a far better way of seeking population changes over time versus statewide. There are plenty of maps with all the counties in the US, but what if we broke down one of those maps by regions and then by years? It would actually be seen different because instead of seeing a bunch of squares together you will see regions of those squares. Also the data itself would be interesting as well because the you can find new counties and old counties.  

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