This web page describes and demonstrates the use of
free US Census TIGER data and ArcExplorter 4.0.1 to:
The street names are missing from these demonstration maps only
because I haven't found the file that has that data.
However, using just three of the files downloaded
for use with ArcExplorer 4.0.1 demonstrates the potential of this
software and data.
However, there is more work to be done which I address in the conclusions
and welcome any help in the spirit it is offered.
- Map all precincts in any county
- Detailed boundries and names of precincts
- Identify specific blocks within a precinct
Getting ArcExplorer 4.0.1
Start by getting a download, ~14 MB, from
of the Java based application.
Java works on both PCs, Macintosh and Unix
systems . . . everyone.
BTW, I have not explored all of the ESRI pages and there is
likly more information available than demonstrated here.
Start with the Java program
For precinct data, start with the
For these charts, I only used:
There are more layers available including state and school
- County 2000
- Voting Districts 2000
- Census 2000 Collection Blocks
Madison County Overview
The follow map was generated after loading the three 'shp' (shape)
files into ArcExplorer from the downloaded files.
It takes a little practice to get the layer order, line size
and colors to work out.
In this example, the areas are made transparent so the lines
from each layer can be seen "stacked" on top of each other.
This chart is just navigating down to my neighborhood.
This chart continues to zoom in and enables the "NAME" field
in the voting area layer.
I'm the poll inpector for "Chaffee School" which is the
first precinct I'm interested in organizing.
This last chart further zooms in and shows the Census indentifier
for each block. The ultimate goal is to identify
the location and political leanings of each voter by
Then we can make sure the Democrats, Independents and
sensible Republicans know what is happening in
Democratic politics and that they are important to
us . . . not only in 2004 national but also local
These maps are 'eye candy' . . . nice to know but lacking the
backend database needed to organize precinct or neighborhood
But they are useful for showing the type of data freely
available from the US Census.
If you are interested in participating in the further
software tools development,
you are welcome to join some of the Democratic groups
working these areas:
If you have specific questions, send them to "bwilson4web" using
the web based, "hotmail.com" account.
- firstname.lastname@example.org - an open list for Democratic
- HSVDems - A list working on automating precinct tools in Madison County
Alabama including folks we've met "in real life."