• Interactive Census map shows population trends in Bexar County and San Antonio

    Last month, the U.S. Census Bureau announced the latest population figures for Texas, and the numbers showed Bexar County had gained nearly 332,000 people in the past decade.

    But where are all these newcomers moving to within Bexar County?

    Kelly Guckian, database manager for the San Antonio Express-News, pulled together more detailed population figures from the 2010 Census to help show where Bexar County is gaining residents — and where it’s losing them.

    Stone Oak rooftops in San Antonio

    Kelly focused on census tracts, which are geographic boundaries set by the Census Bureau that encompass, on average, about 4,000 people. This allowed her to zoom in on population changes at the neighborhood level. She did the tedious work of compiling and mapping the data, and I helped export it into this interactive Google map that shows how the far West and North sides of the county saw explosive gains in the blue areas, while many inner city neighborhoods in the yellow areas lost residents. Kelly and graphic artist Mark Blackwell also produced maps showing the population trends broken down by race and ethnicity, and MySA’s Mike Howell put it all together in an interesting package online.

    The explosive growth on the county’s outskirts occurred during a decade when city officials emphasized the importance of living near downtown and limiting urban sprawl. Our news story about the Census numbers explored why many people either didn’t hear the city’s message — or ignored it.

  • Mapping voting sites with ZeeMaps

    Somehow my unofficial beat during every election in San Antonio is to roam around and write about the problems and low-voter turnout that afflict our messy Democracy. While on “election snafu” patrol, I was relying on a list of voting sites put out by the Bexar County Elections Department. But the list of locations was in the dreaded pdf form — not a very useful way to see at a glance which sites were in the neighborhoods I was interested in.

    A Bexar County polling site at Las Palmas Library
    A Bexar County polling site at Las Palmas Library
    There are a lot of online mapping tools out there. Today I tried out ZeeMaps, a free service. You upload a spreadsheet with addresses, ZeeMaps geocodes the locations for you, and generates an interactive Google map.

    It was all relatively painless. I ended up relying on this map quite a bit today as I drove around checking voting sites.

    A map like this is useful if you want to see the voting locations in your area. It also helps to show the sheer scale of Bexar County’s network of polling sites.