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Print Posted By Aaquib Jawaid on 10/11/2017

Mapping expert makes detailed census data available to all Edmonton election candidates

Mapping expert makes detailed census data available to all Edmonton election candidates

Where do Edmonton's young adults live? This density map uses the most recent Statistics Canada census numbers. It was created through the program Map in Seconds, created by Darkhorse Analytics' Eugene Chen.

Eugene Chen hopes his new Map in Seconds program will give all election campaigns the chance to target voters like a professional.

For the first time, he’s taken Statistics Canada’s most detailed age and income information and published it through an online platform anyone can use. He’s hoping it will help candidates zero in to where their potential supporters are living. 

“I think people would want to use it for the election,” said Chen, who is also working on data and analysis for Don Iveson’s mayoral re-election campaign. Chen is the chief data technologist at the local company Darkhorse Analytics.

He made the mapping software because Darkhorse Analytics needed a faster way to visualize data, and published it openly to make everyone else’s lives easier, too. Publicizing the census data is one more step.

“I have the data; I want to make it accessible,” Chen said Tuesday.

The maps are based on Statistics Canada’s dissemination areas, the smallest block of geo-located data it releases publicly. It normally comes as an inaccessible data file.

On Tuesday, Iveson said his campaign was focused on getting a representative sample of the different demographic groups in Edmonton, including those living in social housing and townhouse complexes. 

Last election, he focused on reaching young families. After the 2013 vote, his campaign manager explained they used the municipal census to target the 25 neighbourhoods with the highest number of children under 12 and knocked on those doors throughout the summer and fall.

That targeted campaign helped him land nearly 62 per cent of the vote in a six-way race.

Chen’s new maps have median income, population density, median age and maps of the density of various age groups from young adults to seniors. Links and images are available in the online version of this article at edmontonjournal.com/election.

He hopes the actual platform, mapinseconds.com, will prove useful, as well. It has maps of Canadian provinces, city neighbourhoods, census areas, countries of the world and many others preloaded. The program simply compares a user’s list with the preloaded map and creates a visualization to download. Even without being advertised, the free online tool now has 600 users a week from as far away as Spain and Australia.

“It just makes it a lot easier to create a map,” said Chen. “It really should be as simple as copying your data and pasting it into something.”

Check out the maps

Eugene Chen’s interactive maps were built through mapinseconds.com. Here are images from those maps, and links to the real thing where you can zoom in to investigate areas of interest. Click the headlines to go to the interactive map.

Median income across Edmonton

Median income in Edmonton according to the most recent Statistics Canada census numbers. This map was created through the program Map in Seconds, created by Darkhorse Analytics’ Eugene Chen.

Population density across Edmonton

Edmonton has small pockets of higher density throughout the city, according to the latest Statistics Canada census numbers.

Median age across Edmonton

Median age across Edmonton according to the latest Statistics Canada census numbers.

Highest numbers of residents ages 20 to 34

Highest numbers of residents ages 35 to 49

Highest numbers of residents ages 50 to 64

Highest numbers of residents ages 65 to 84

Highest number of residents ages 85 and older

The geographical distribution of older adults in central and east Edmonton, according to the latest Statistics Canada census numbers. This map was created through the program Map in Seconds, created by Darkhorse Analytics’ Eugene Chen.

Source: Edmonton Journal


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