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Waidner-Spahr Library

Sociology: PolicyMap

Global Inequality

About PolicyMap

PolicyMap is a data mapping tool for reseachers that allows you to create customized data-enhanced maps--no knowledge of GIS is necessary. 

It provides neighborhood-level data on an array of topics and disciplines including political science, sociology, public health, economics, law, policy, environmental studies, and business. 

PolicyMap Overview

Quick Start PolicyMap Video (4 minutes)

Getting Started with Mapping

Search for a Location

To search for a location, enter an address or geography type into the Location Bar. Geography types other than specific address include zip code, city, county, state, census tract, congressional districts, and metro areas.

PolicyMap Location Bar example

Add Data

Add data to your map by selecting a category from the categories listed above the map (e.g. Demographics; Incomes & Spending), or by using the Search Data tool to enter keywords.

Top navigation of PolicyMap, with an arrow pointing to data categories appearing across the top of the page: Demographics, Incomes & Spending, etc.

Map Features

It is possible to visually isolate data to a specific location, overlay boundaries, toggle data displayed for a data layer, and alter base map settings to include or exclude roads, town names, etc.

Print or Save Your Map

Once you have created a map, added the datasets you'd like to dislpay, and made customizations, you can save a copy of your map. To do so, use the Print icon, located near the top right corner of the page.

Print icon: Print Icon

Create an Account

You do not need to create an individual PolicyMap account to use most features of PolicyMap.  However, if you would like to save any maps in the system so that you can go back and edit them, or if you would like to upload your own data, you will need to create a PolicyMap account.

To do so, click on "Create Account" in the top navigation of the site, near the Dickinson logo.

Once you have an account, you can save items under "My Saved Work."


Making a Report

The Reports feature allows you to create a detailed report for a location. Available reports include:

  • Community Profile Report: Provides up-to-date information on population, racial composition, age, income and workforce.
  • Community Health Report: Provides information about the health, demographics and conditions of a community. Currently available for counties and census tracts only. 
  • Rental Housing Report: Provides rents by bedroom size, income, and affordability data.
  • Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) Report: Summarizes the number, typical amount, and type of home mortgages originated, including high-cost lending activity and high-interest loans by race.

Access Reports by clicking on the Reports icon in the top right corner of the page.

Top navigation of the PolicyMap site, with an arrow pointing to the Reports icon.

Data Sources

Data Directory

The PolicyMap Data Directory provides a list of the type of data available, broken into the main navigational categories shown at the top of the PolicyMap site (e.g. Demographics; Incomes & Spending).  For each category, a table indicates the data years available, as wel as the location-level that can be provided (e.g. national, state, county, census tract).

A view of part of the Demographics table in the Data Directory.  An arrow points to "Detail: Total Population," a link to more information.

For each type of data, there is a link to details about the sources of the data provided by PolicyMap.  In the example above, you can click on "Total Population" to see a detailed explanation of the source of the Total Population data: Census: Decennial Census and American Community Survey (ACS).

Upload Your Data

Data Loader

It is possible to load your own data into PolicyMap to enhance your maps. You can, for example, load address-level data from a spreadsheet file. 

Questions? Ask!

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Jessica Howard

Mobile Librarian Hours:Mondays, 1:30-3 p.m.: Denim/The Quarry

Librarian Office 8, Main Level (Map)
(717) 245-1918