Census has been touting its web site On the Map for some time now and so I decided to take a look based on some blog posts by Sirinya Tritipeskul, particularly this one that looks at jobs along a proposed subway route in Century City, Los Angeles. What was impressive was the ability to map job density all the way along the proposed route.
I was more interested in other aspects of the data - for instance, can it answer the following questions:
1. What has happened to employment in the brewery industry in Milwaukee in the past 3 years (the data is only from 2007-2009)?
2. What would happen to commuting patterns if Montgomery County's largest employer moved to Prince George's County?
Sadly, the data does not allow for such fine grain analysis. Industries only go down to major groups. What would be awesome would be to be able to click on the major industries and drill down to maybe the top 5 of the smaller industries the are part of the major group. Then clicking on the finer category of industries would give the names of the top 3 employers in that geographic region.
The use of maps to present the data is interesting only because it would not have been the first thing I would have thought of as a way to deliver the data.