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New map tool identifies racial diversity patterns across the US

Researchers Anna and Tomasz who developed the new mapping toolUS, September 15, 2014: Researchers at University of Cincinnati (UC) have developed a new mapping technique to track a variety of demographic data across the United States, including racial diversity patterns.

With its 33 categories and 90 m resolution, the new map is the highest resolution map of racial diversity across the entire U.S. currently available to the public.

The new tool is developed by senior UC researchers Anna Dmowska and Tomasz Stepinski. The model was produced starting with demographic maps of the U.S. from the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) at Columbia University.

The researchers then used dasymetric modelling technique to sharpen the SEDAC grids into higher resolution (90 m) maps, which can indicate changes in demography with much higher accuracy than the 500 m grid size of the SEDAC maps. The researchers could identify areas reflecting population density, urban, wooded, open space or agricultural areas basis further satellite information taken from the 2001 National Land Cover Dataset (NLCD).

Stepinski said, “We've now been able to apply this to the entire United States. From a research perspective, this allows us to easily see the makeup of a population from the small scale of a neighborhood to the very large scale of the United States. The demographic data is attributed to areal units the size of a stadium; about 3 billion such units are needed to cover the entire United States."

By merging some of their high resolution maps relating to race and ethnicity, the researchers created a single map reflecting racial diversity. The racial diversity is represented by 33 different categories such as ‘white-dominated, low racial diversity’, "black-dominated, medium diversity" and others.

The latest online tool integrates Google street maps for reference and offers immediate information about the racial makeup of any local neighbourhood within the U.S.

Source: UC