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Newbie Advice Needed - Census Region Shape Files

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#1
Boomer8450

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Hello all - newbie here ;)

I'm starting on a low-level cartogram project involving the 4 US Census regions (Midwest, Northeast, South, and West).

I'm pretty sure I've got the cartogram software end covered with Scapetoad and/or CART, however I'm hitting a few issues with the shape files - namely, every one I can find has way too much detail for what I'm trying to accomplish.

Can anyone point in the right direction for:

1. (Hopefully) a US shape file that only has the 4 census regions. That's right, I'm looking for a shap file with a grand total of 4 shapes in it.

2. (Better than nothing) A shapefile editing program that can combine 2+ shapes into a single larger shape. Obviously, I'd rather find a file that someone else has already made, but if that doesn't exist, editing US Census Bureau maps shouldn't be to painful.

3. (Weeping) Good (and cheap or free) software to create a new shapefile in, hopefully by layering and "tracing" the regions I need.

I 've played around with fGIS (http://www.forestpal.com/fgis.html), but I can't find any way to combine polygons in it, and creating a new shapefile in it is something I'm not looking forward to.

Many thanks in advance :)

#2
sitesatlas

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Hi Boomer,

I've just uploaded a shapefile to my website at http://www.sitesatlas.com/cartotalk/. I took the State Boundaries layer from the National Atlas, added a REGION field containing the Census Region number (from a TIGER/Line file), dissolved it on that value, and stripped the other attributes. It is unprojected and uses NAD 83 -- here is the original metadata.
Michael Borop
World Sites Atlas
http://www.sitesatlas.com

#3
aug_aug

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Quantum GIS

This is a great open source GIS package that should do what you need and cover any basic needs in the future. It's free and has a large following.

http://www.qgis.org/


#4
Boomer8450

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Hi Boomer,

I've just uploaded a shapefile to my website at http://www.sitesatlas.com/cartotalk/. I took the State Boundaries layer from the National Atlas, added a REGION field containing the Census Region number (from a TIGER/Line file), dissolved it on that value, and stripped the other attributes. It is unprojected and uses NAD 83 -- here is the original metadata.


Wow! Thank you!

That looks exatly like what I need!

(and with enough time, and the grace of google, I might figure out what you said beyond "download this") ;)

#5
Boomer8450

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Quantum GIS

This is a great open source GIS package that should do what you need and cover any basic needs in the future. It's free and has a large following.

<a href="
http://www.qgis.org/" target="_blank">http://www.qgis.org/</a>


Thanks - I'll give it a shot

#6
ProMapper

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Well well...

Working with spatial data and not having Global Mapper, the GIS Swiss Knife. Wow, that would be a good ad phrase for the software. I am not selling it, but mightly impressed with it. Try with trial version. Best....

Anu
http://www.mapsandlocations.com




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