To access Social Explorer through the Penn Libraries website, click on the "Connect to resource" link located in the "Online" box on the right side of your screen.
You will then be asked to enter your PennKey and password.
Mapping with Social Explorer allows users to:
Create and customize thematic and interactive maps that explore historical and modern US census data down to the street level (where available).
Navigate current and historical demographic data and surveys.
[Image: Percentage owner-occupied housing, Philadelphia, ACS 2014.]
Reports allow users to:
Create data reports at all geographic levels, including state, county, census tract, block group, zip code, and census place. Data are available for export as .png image files or as PowerPoint presentations (.xml files).
Export, save, and print reports, presentations, and graphics. High-resolution images are available and any presentation can be exported directly to PowerPoint.
Exercise: Mapping Unemployment Rates
This exercise will help you understand how to map demographic data at a particular location and time using Social Explorer. While this exercise is specific in scope, what it teaches can be applied to a broad range of projects.
For this exercise, we will use the "Bubbles" map feature to visualize unemployment rates and populations. The size of the bubble correlates with the number of unemployed people in each county, while the color correlates with the county unemployment rate. While the "Bubbles" map feature is especially useful in representing this kind of data, other maps may call for Social Explorer's other forms of data representation: "Shaded Area" and "Dot Density."
*Number and Rate of Unemployed by County, 2014*
1. Access the SE homepage through Penn Libraries, click on "Change Data" and then "Browse by Category."
2. Move the date slider to 2014 (the most recent year for which ACS data is currently available) and select "Unemployment" from the list of categories.
3. Under "ACS 2014 (5-Year Estimates)" and “Civilian Population in Labor Force 16 Years and Over" click on “Unemployed." You may have to scroll down a bit to find this particular set of data. You can also filter this set of data out by typing "Civilian Population" into the search bar.
4. From the legend in the upper-center of the map, click on "Show data by State," turn the automatic geography selection off, and click on the button next to "County." You can also play around with your data and see what happens if you press "Show data by State," but to move on to Step 5 leave it set to "County."
5. Select the "Bubbles" visualization tab ("Shaded Area" is the default.)
6. Click on the bubble size tab, and click to add percentages. Move the slider from "Smaller to Bigger."
7. Adjust the colors to your liking. (The map above uses the "Plum" color scheme.)
BONUS: As stated at the beginning of this exercise, Social Explorer offers two other forms of data representation: "Shaded Area" and "Dot Density." Test them out on this map and see how they look and feel. Can you think of other types of data that might be better represented using "Shaded Area" or "Dot Density?" Hint: "Dot Density" tends to work better at the "County" and "Census" levels, so think small.
Exercise: Mapping Historical Data
This exercise will help you understand how to create a report that maps changes in demographic data over a period of time.
Below is a famous map showing the distribution of the population living in slavery at the time of the 1860 census, taken from the Library of Congress' American Memory digital collection (you can read about this map in a New York Times article). For this exercise, we will recreate this map as a slideshow from 1790 to 1860, using census data in Social Explorer.