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Tell Me About this Area

This app uses the American Community Survey data to provide users with a quick overview of the demographics, social, economic, and housing statistics of the geographic area that a user is passing through. The application uses a mobile phone’s GPS to determine the user’s geographic location and displays data based on the location. The application would display facts about the community from the Community Facts pages in American Fact Finder.

For example, if I was driving through Silver Spring, Maryland and I opened the Tell Me About this Area Application, it would display a screen with a map of Silver Spring and the total population. The screen would also display 4 buttons to choose from (Demographics, Social, Economic, and Housing). The screens would give information about such as the following:

Silver Spring CDP, MD

Total Population: 71,452

Median Age (years): 33.8

Male Percentage: 48.7

Female Percentage: 51.3

Race: White 45.7%, Black or African American 27.8%, Other Race 13.2%, Asian 7.9%

Hispanic or Latino: 26.3%

Marital Status: ….

Veteran Status: ….

School Enrollment: ….

Ancestry (Top 3): Subsaharan African 8.3%, Irish 7.7%, German 7.7%


The app could even include a game that challenges users to guess certain demographic, social, economic, or housing characteristics of the area. The game could include questions regarding characteristics of the community like total population, average age, sex, language, and ancestry, but should exclude characteristics that would not be appropriate like income and poverty. For example, here are few possible quiz questions:

1. Are there more men or women living in this area?

o Men

o Women

(4 points)

2. Most of this area’s ancestors are from which geographic area?

o Ireland

o Sub-Saharan Africa

o Germany

o Italy

(4 points)

This would generate more interest in Census data, inform users about what types of data Census has to offer, and could potentially make Census data fun (which is hard to do).


Submitted by 1 year ago

Comments (6)

  1. Moderator

    Have you seen Sitegeist from Sunlight?

    It uses the ACS almost exactly as you have described :)

    We will also be releasing our own app called Dwellr next week, which will be similar in a way (though we started development on it more than a year ago. Long before Sitegeist)

    1 year ago
  2. Jeffrey.P.McHugh Idea Submitter


    No I hadn't heard of Sitegeist. It does look similiar. I hadn't heard of Dwellr either, but it's good to know we have something of our own coming out of Census. How about the game functionality? I don't see anything that has that.

    1 year ago
  3. Jeffrey.P.McHugh Idea Submitter

    BTW. Thanks for your feedback!

    1 year ago
  4. Moderator

    There's a game-like aspect to both apps, but not exactly the kind you mention.

    HOWEVER, stay tuned because we've another app on the way that will be more like what you've described :)

    1 year ago
  5. How about we tap into open data from five other Federal Agencies whose data will complement the ACS? Let's expand the "area" beyond ACS. Seitgeist was a great beginning. Can we build upon that concept?

    1 year ago
  6. Jeffrey.P.McHugh Idea Submitter

    Avi, I'm sure we could. What agencies' data did you have in mind?

    1 year ago

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  1. The idea was posted
    1 year ago