GIS 520 Spatial Problem Solving


Census Data



A North Carolina agency has tasked you with using US Census data that will aid in determining the possible location for a new human resources branch. The county should be in the lowest population bracket (less than 47759), be in close proximity to counties with higher population.

Analysis Procedures

After getting the necessary population data from the 2010 US Census, as well as the corresponding shapefile from TIGER/Line, Open Office was used to extract only the information necessary for processing. The resulting excel file had to then be connected to the shapefile with a county identifier number. The resulting map file was then properly symbolized.


Workflow Diagram




















Map showing county population and the ideal location for a human resources branch.































Application and Reflection

Being able to work with US Census data is very important. Not only is it standardized and readily available, it contains some of the most widely used demographic data available. Many municipalities, businesses, agencies and non-profits use it in various aspects of their business.

Problem Description

A new low-cost grocery store specializing in fresh produce and select well-stocked items wants to find 3 test-market areas in North Carolina to open stores. The only two requirements they have is that the locations be in the lowest income bracket by zip code and that it belongs to a metropolitan statistical area (MSA).

Data Needed

US Census Data for income based on MSA for North Carolina, county zip codes for North Carolina, TIGER/Line shapefile of NC.

Analysis Procedures

Open tabular income and code data in Excel and extract only data that is needed for the analysis. Join the tabular data with the shapefile for NC. Symbolize results.