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Access American Community Survey Data in Esri Business Analyst

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Today,Esri released its innovative American Community Survey Population Summary and ACS Housing Summary reports, containing data from the 2005–2009 ACS five-year period estimates. Esri added value to the ACS data by offering the data for nonstandard geographies and simplifying use of the ACS margin of error (MOE). The reports are available immediately to guest users and subscribers of Business Analyst Online (BAO).

Esri is offering the ACS data in geographies that are not supplied by the Census Bureau such as ZIP Codes and user-defined polygons, including drive times, rings, and custom trade areas. To do this, Esri's data development team created an algorithm to calculate the ACS MOE for these areas. "More than half of data users employ rings, drive times, and hand-drawn shapes," says Catherine Spisszak, Esri data product manager. "Esri is the only vendor to provide access to ACS data for these nonstandard geographies." Esri also provides the ACS data for standard census geographies such as states, counties, census tracts, and block groups.

To simplify understanding and use of the ACS data, Esri's data development team created a system of color-coded reliability symbols that quickly identify whether users can rely on the ACS sample estimate based on the size of the sampling error. "Our clients asked us to simplify using ACS data," says Spisszak. "Esri responded by adding easily understood symbols that alert users to the reliability of the estimates. This innovation eliminates the need for our clients to interpret the ACS MOE themselves and provides them with more accurate data for better business decisions."

Business Analyst Desktop users can access the ACS data by choosing the Show Online Reports option from Preferences. Business Analyst Server users can integrate the ACS data and reports instantly via the Business Analyst Online APIs.

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