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Mapping Data  

Last Updated: Sep 3, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Business Database

  • ReferenceUSA
    ReferenceUSA is the nation’s premier source for business and consumer research data. Powered by Infogroup data, the database is updated monthly and contains detailed information on over 15 million companies and over 260 million consumers. Every record can be exported into spreadsheets and contains accurate latitude and longitude coordinates. The resource is ideal for entrepreneurship activities, students seeking employment, marketing projects, GIS mapping efforts and demographic research.

Research Tip: Concerns about hosted data

Because Fusion Tables or GeoCommons host data and make it public, there are some questions that researchers should consider, particularly related to Copyright, Privacy and other issues.

For funded or human subject research, the research methodology, including data collection and analysis methods, may be subject to federal laws, local rules and IRB guidelines.  Data that is already publically available is not a concern, but collected data may be problematic:

  • Confidential or private data - if this data is used, use of Fusion tables or other sites should be approved and indicated in the data management plan
  • Use of purchased data may be subject to license agreement with restrictions on who and how it is accessed so you may need to refer to the agreement or contact the vendor/copyright holder
  • Use of graphic output from Fusion Tables in presentations or publications may also be subject to use terms.

Access to the data in Fusion Tables can be limited to the Google account holder and whoever they designate. However, because there is not a license agreement, Google may use it for promotion purposes including placing ads on your maps and using your content for their own promotional or research purposes.


Using Fusion Tables (in Google)

Fusion tables is an application in Google that allows the visualization of data:

It has multiple capabilities:

  • Hosting data
  • Merging or combining data sets
  • Charting or graphing
  • Mapping
  • Publishing

Mark Thomas at Duke has developed a superlative guide on using Fusion table to map data:


Tutorials on Fusion Tables



GeoCommons is a site that also hosts and maps data as well as making it publically available. Ther are a number of functions:

  • Upload and access data
  • Filter data
  • Map (which can also be done temporally)
  • Share or embed data and maps


GeoCommons Demo


ArcGIS Explorer Online

ArcGIS Explorer Online is a free mapping site from ESRI.  It allows users to map and share data with such feature as drag-and-drop symbols, time-enabled mapping and presentation sharing.


More Advanced GIS - ESRI

For more information on advanced GIS, please refer to the Map & GIS Library.  The gold standard for mapping data – Geographic Information Systems or GIS – is ArcMap from ESRI.  The Map & GIS Library offers a numbe rof resources and services in support of GIS research:

It can manage large datasets and has many features that allow analysis and representation of the data in a geospatial context.  However, it does require an investment to develop the familiarity with the system to use it - At a minimum, 25 hours to become capable in the basics.  Generally, it would be a solution for a long-term project or an individual who wanted to acquire and use this skill regularly. '


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