Monthly Archives: July 2017

Quick update: acs 2.1.1 now available

Posted by Ezra Glenn on July 24, 2017
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Summary: acs v.2.1.0 users who are experiencing problems with acs.fetch (especially on windows) may want to consider updating to version 2.1.1, now on CRAN.

Shortly after releasing acs version 2.1.0, I’d heard from some Windows users that the package was unable to connect to the API to fetch data. After troubleshooting a bit, it became clear that the problem stemmed from the package’s switch to https (which will be required by the Census API in late summer) and its reliance on the RCurl package, which didn’t seem to be playing nicely with Windows https and TLS authentication. Sorry!

To address the issue I’ve modified the package to use the httr package instead of RCurl, which I am told works better. CRAN confirms that this seemed like a wise approach, and some initial user testing confirms this – thanks, user community! The new version (2.1.1) is now live on CRAN; windows binaries expected soon.

If you’ve recently installed or updated to 2.1.0 and the functions are working for you, no need to update again; if you’re getting errors when trying to fetch data, I’d recommend you run another update:

> update.packages("acs", clean=T)

Don’t forget to reinstall or “api.key.migrate()” your api key if it doesn’t seem to have been migrated during install. I also strongly recommend you run “acs.tables.install()” as well – you only need to do this once per installation (or update), and it will really speed up the package.

acs version 2.1.0 now available

Posted by Ezra Glenn on July 11, 2017
Code / Comments Off on acs version 2.1.0 now available

We are pleased to announce the release of version 2.1.0 of the “acs” package, now available on CRAN http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/acs/index.html.

The package allows users to download, manipulate, analyze, and present demographic data from the U.S. Census, with special tools and methods to simplify the tasks of working with estimates and standard errors contained in data from the American Community Survey (ACS).

Important: version 2.1.0 of the package is a “minor update” in terms of features, but it includes a number of low-level tweaks necessary to accommodate upcoming changes in the Census API, including a shift to https transfer. Current users are strongly encouraged to update as soon as possible to avoid problems at the end of the summer.

Other minor changes include (a) removing plyr from a “dependency” and simply importing the required “rbind.fill” function, and (b) updating cbind/rbind options to be consistent with S3 methods.

For more information on the package and the update, please see the “Working with acs.R” user guide at http://dusp.mit.edu/sites/dusp.mit.edu/files/attachments/publications/working_with_acs_R_v_2.0.pdf.

For current acs-package users who are upgrading to 2.1.0:

  • When updating, try the “clean=T” option, which may be able to migrate your census api key:
> update.packages("acs", clean=T)

If this fails to migrate the key, you can always try:

> api.key.migrate()

And, if all else fails, just re-install a key with api.key.install().

  • After installing (and loading) the package, we highly recommend installing acs variable lookup tables on your system – these are not migrated, and installing them greatly speeds up the package:
> acs.tables.install()”

(And since you are installing the table, you only need to do this once — or just once, until new acs tables come out.)

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