Free Software

acs.R useRs: Share your success stories

Posted by Ezra Glenn on October 20, 2014
Census, Code, Free Software, Open-Source / Comments Off on acs.R useRs: Share your success stories

Have you been using the acs.R package to download and analyze Census data in your work? Do you have a story you’d be willing to share, to help us promote the package and show off all the cool ways people are using open source tools to make sense of data and help inform communities, policy-makers, and researchers? If so, please let us know: email your news or project descriptions to eglenn@mit.edu and we’ll post them here to inform and inspire our readers. Be sure to include good images, news coverage, quotations, or other materials to help tell the story — and feel free to include links, scripts, or examples as well.

Thanks!

PS: Don’t forget to subscribe to the acs.R mailing list to remain in touch with the growing acs.R user community.

New choropleth package in R

Posted by Ezra Glenn on January 22, 2014
Census, Code, Free Software, Open-Source / No Comments

A while back I posted a recipe (based on some great examples on the Revolution Analytics blog) showing how to use the acs package in R to create choropleth maps. Now, through the magic of open-source software development — and the hard work of developer Ari Lamstein and the generosity of his employers — this process has gotten even easier: I call your attention to Ari’s new chorolethr package for R.

Ari is a Senior Software Engineer at Trulia, where he works on data science and visualization, primarily related to real estate and housing markets. As part of the company’s “Innovation Week” he developed the choropleth package, moving well beyond the sample scripts to create a powerful suite of mapping functions. With a single command, a user can now generate maps at the state, county, or zip code level, from any of the data available via the ACS.

http://tech.truliablog.com/files/2014/01/county-income.png

The package is not yet up on CRAN, but Ari promises that’s in the works; for now, you can learn more about it — including installation instructions using install_github() — on the Trulia Tech + Design blog. (I’m of course proud to note that the acs.R package lies at the foundation of these tools, doing the heavy-lifting of fetching and processing up-to-date data from the American Community Survey — but Ari’s work is already moving beyond these humble roots, allowing users to create choropleth maps of any data they can get their hands on….)

To learn more about the types of projects undertaken by Trulia staffers during Innovation week, see this short video. Congratulations — and thanks — to both Ari and Trulia for helping to drive innovation forward in R and other open source projects.