Library Faculty Recommendations: SimplyMap

SimplyMap image of S.E. Virginia and N.E. North Carolina with census tracksWritten by Marta Lee, Associate Librarian

A new Library database, SimplyMap, by Geographic Research provides Regent students and faculty with powerful tools for creating professional quality thematic maps and reports using demographic, business, and marketing data. SimplyMap turns complex data into valuable information that can be easily accessed and stored through a web-based, user-friendly interface.

SimplyMap creates a base map for the user to visually display material available from the census bureau. Variables include data from 1980, 1990, and 2000 censuses; data estimates from 2007 and 2008; as well as projections for 2011, 2012, and 2013. Users may also research consumer expenditures, business counts, market segments, retail sales, and quality of life. SimplyMap makes these complex data sources understandable and communicable through maps, tables, and reports.

As an example of the power of SimplyMap to enhance a research project, my most recent article, “Wild West Libraries” involved a study of public libraries in southwest Kansas. SimplyMap allowed me to show the percentage the population by county living in rural areas:

SimplyMap demographic analysis of SW Kansas

To begin using SimplyMap, log in from the Library database page. After logging in, you will need to set up a personal account in SimplyMap. After viewing the introductory video about the database, I recommend taking it for a spin and making a few maps. SimplyMap has a very gentle learning curve, and after 15-20 minutes you should have the know-how to dazzle your next PowerPoint audience with a professional looking thematic map!