The Baylor Libraries has added another database to our resources. We now have access to PolicyMap. So, you are probably wondering “what is PolicyMap and how is it going to help me?”. PolicyMap provides demographic, education, health, and geographic data. It offers the user the capability of presenting the data visually through maps, tables, and reports. What this means is that though PolicyMap, you can access data on Income & Spending, Health, Economy, Lending, Education, Housing and Quality of Life and present it visually on maps or in tables. The maps feature allows you to select a location such as a state, county, city, school district, congressional district, zip code, census tract — all the way down to a block group. If I wanted to have a map which displayed the estimated percentage of people in Waco, Texas who have no health insurance, I can type “Waco” in the search box at the top of the screen, select Waco, Texas from the list, then click on the “Health” tab at the top of the page and locate “Healthcare – uninsured – Total” in the box. The resulting map will display location and percentages for uninsured people in Waco, Texas.
By clicking on an area, then scrolling in, you can look at street, census tract and block group level information. Click in an area and a box with information about the area will appear. By clicking on the “See table” link, you can view the table of data for this area. Click on the “Get report” link and you can generate a report on that area. You can build “3 layer” maps which will allow you to select up to 3 different variables and then view on a map where the areas are that contain your variables. Before starting this one, it is a good idea to view the tutorial on creating 3 layer maps. This tutorial is located under the “Support” link at the top of the page.
In addition to the data which can be displayed on a map, PolicyMap also contains information called “Data Points”. This can be the location of places such as hospitals, farmers’ markets, libraries or public schools. These are represented as single data points on the map and can be overlayed onto other data being displayed on a map. Data points are part of the information listed under each category tab at the top of the page. These are different for each category and some categories do not have data points yet.
After you have developed your map(s), there are options to print, email or embed your map. Look for these options in the right-hand corner of your map.
Take some time and try PolicyMap out and see what you can do with this resource, and, as always, if you have questions or need help, please contact your business librarian!