One of my favorite TSCPL databases is BusinessDecision, and one of their most dynamic and illustrative features has been the thematic map. After a 6-month absence, the feature is returning the first part of May, with more options and a much improved interface.
Basically, a thematic map is a map that displays data in shades of color (you can choose reds, blues, greens, and other variations) to illustrate data at a given geographic level – ZIP Code, census block, city, county, or any geographic area you select. The data theme to be displayed can be a demographic theme such as the total population who live in your study area or the economic and ethnic makup of given areas. A Consumer expenditure theme, such as the amount of money households spend on a given consumer good or service in your study area, can be mapped out as well. You will be able to make literally thousands of thematic maps in BusinessDecision.
This type of information is particularly useful in finding where your target market is located within a city, county, or other designated market area. With that information, you can decide which location may be better for your business location, or where you can focus a targeted mailing to reach your best customers. BusinessDecison will incorporate the recent 2010 Census also, which will make it an even better tool for demographic research.
We are very excited about the return of the thematic map feature and will keep you updated on when the feature is available again to the public through our TSCPL databases.