Depiction build 12605 now available

Recently two of our background imagery providers changed how they provided their feeds causing them to no longer work with Depiction.  In fact if you tried to use them they could cause Depiction to crash.  We have released a new build that eliminates them from the list until such time as we can figure out how to replace them.  You can get this new build for Depiction, DepictionPrep and the free reader here.

New easier to use 2010 Census data now available

One of the ongoing challenges of using census data with depiction in the past was that you first had to import the census tract shape file and then export it and rename the geoid to EID and then reimport it. Then you had to find the census data by tract and change the GEOID to EID and then import it to merge with the shapes.  This was a fairly complicated and at times messy process.  In looking at the current CENSUS.GOV website, I discovered a file that has the census tract shapes along with lots of data for each census tract.

The url for the website is

You will need to click on the + next to Demographic Profile 1 — Shapefile Format to see the dropdown choices.

Then if you choose the census tracts option that is highlighted to the left, it will download a zip file ( that contains census tract shapes along with census data for the entire USA.  This is a large file 400mb.

You need to extract the file and when you get done you should have the following files in your chosen directory.

When you import this file into Depiction you want to choose the .shp file, the one that is 591mb!  Remember to chose the crop to boundary option.

If you don’t choose the crop to boundary box then you will be loading all 590mb of data and Depiction will crash.

For an experiment I loaded the file for the entire state of Washington which had about 1600+ census tracts and data. It took 1 minute and 8 seconds to load and display. However once it was loaded it was kind of sluggish and if you had other data as well, would be unpleasant to work with.  However, if you were working at a county or even several counties it should be OK.

This is what it looked like.

So the good news is that you can easily import this file for anywhere in the USA and get the census tract shapes as well as population data.  The bad news is that rather than have descriptive property names they chose to use codes.  They include a .xls file (DP_TableDescriptions.xls) that gives a legend for the codes.  It would be possible to export the file to a csv file and copy in the descriptive property names over the codes but would take a bit of effort.

However there is lots of data over 200 data elements.  I’m going to list this all at the end of this post for your information.

I haven’t fully explored the other files they list on the web site but it looks like there is lots of interesting data to be had, and I urge you to explore and see what you can find of interest.  If you find something of interest please share it on our support page.

Below are the data elements that are included in the file.

Universe:  Total population
DP0010001 Total:
DP0010002 Under 5 years
DP0010003 5 to 9 years
DP0010004 10 to 14 years
DP0010005 15 to 19 years
DP0010006 20 to 24 years
DP0010007 25 to 29 years
DP0010008 30 to 34 years
DP0010009 35 to 39 years
DP0010010 40 to 44 years
DP0010011 45 to 49 years
DP0010012 50 to 54 years
DP0010013 55 to 59 years
DP0010014 60 to 64 years
DP0010015 65 to 69 years
DP0010016 70 to 74 years
DP0010017 75 to 79 years
DP0010018 80 to 84 years
DP0010019 85 years and over
DP0010020 Male:
DP0010021 Under 5 years
DP0010022 5 to 9 years
DP0010023 10 to 14 years
DP0010024 15 to 19 years
DP0010025 20 to 24 years
DP0010026 25 to 29 years
DP0010027 30 to 34 years
DP0010028 35 to 39 years
DP0010029 40 to 44 years
DP0010030 45 to 49 years
DP0010031 50 to 54 years
DP0010032 55 to 59 years
DP0010033 60 to 64 years
DP0010034 65 to 69 years
DP0010035 70 to 74 years
DP0010036 75 to 79 years
DP0010037 80 to 84 years
DP0010038 85 years and over
DP0010039 Female:
DP0010040 Under 5 years
DP0010041 5 to 9 years
DP0010042 10 to 14 years
DP0010043 15 to 19 years
DP0010044 20 to 24 years
DP0010045 25 to 29 years
DP0010046 30 to 34 years
DP0010047 35 to 39 years
DP0010048 40 to 44 years
DP0010049 45 to 49 years
DP0010050 50 to 54 years
DP0010051 55 to 59 years
DP0010052 60 to 64 years
DP0010053 65 to 69 years
DP0010054 70 to 74 years
DP0010055 75 to 79 years
DP0010056 80 to 84 years
DP0010057 85 years and over
DPSF2.  MEDIAN AGE BY SEX [3]  (1 expressed decimal)
Universe:  Total population
Median age-
DP0020001 Both sexes
DP0020002 Male
DP0020003 Female
Universe: Population 16 years and over
DP0030001 Total:
DP0030002 Male
DP0030003 Female
Universe:  Population 18 years and over
DP0040001 Total:
DP0040002 Male
DP0040003 Female
Universe:  Population 21 years and over
DP0050001 Total:
DP0050002 Male
DP0050003 Female
Universe:  Population 62 years and over
DP0060001 Total:
DP0060002 Male
DP0060003 Female
Universe:  Population 65 years and over
DP0070001 Total:
DP0070002 Male
DP0070003 Female
DPSF8.  RACE [24]
Universe:  Total population
DP0080001 Total:
DP0080002 Population of one race:
DP0080003 White
DP0080004 Black or African American
DP0080005 American Indian and Alaska Native
DP0080006 Asian:
DP0080007 Asian Indian
DP0080008 Chinese
DP0080009 Filipino
DP0080010 Japanese
DP0080011 Korean
DP0080012 Vietnamese
DP0080013 Other Asian
DP0080014 Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander:
DP0080015 Native Hawaiian
DP0080016 Guamanian or Chamorro
DP0080017 Samoan
DP0080018 Other Pacific Islander
DP0080019 Some Other Race
DP0080020 Population of Two or More Races
DP0080021 White; American Indian and Alaska Native
DP0080022 White; Asian
DP0080023 White; Black or African American
DP0080024 White; Some Other Race
Universe:  Total races tallied
DP0090001 White alone or in combination with one or more other races
DP0090002 Black or African American alone or in combination with one or more other races
DP0090003 American Indian and Alaska Native alone or in combination with one or more other races
DP0090004 Asian alone or in combination with one or more other races
DP0090005 Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone or in combination with one or more other races
DP0090006 Some Other Race alone or in combination with one or more other races
Universe:  Total population
DP0100001 Total:
DP0100002 Hispanic or Latino (of any race):
DP0100003 Mexican
DP0100004 Puerto Rican
DP0100005 Cuban
DP0100006 Other Hispanic or Latino
DP0100007 Not Hispanic or Latino
Universe:  Total population
DP0110001 Total:
DP0110002 Hispanic or Latino:
DP0110003 White alone
DP0110004 Black or African American alone
DP0110005 American Indian and Alaska Native alone
DP0110006 Asian alone
DP0110007 Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone
DP0110008 Some Other Race alone
DP0110009 Two or More Races
DP0110010 Not Hispanic or Latino:
DP0110011 White alone
DP0110012 Black or African American alone
DP0110013 American Indian and Alaska Native alone
DP0110014 Asian alone
DP0110015 Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone
DP0110016 Some Other Race alone
DP0110017 Two or More Races
Universe:  Total population
DP0120001 Total:
DP0120002 In households:
DP0120003 Householder
DP0120004 Spouse
DP0120005 Child
DP0120006 Own child under 18 years
DP0120007 Other relatives
DP0120008 Under 18 years
DP0120009 65 years and over
DP0120010 Nonrelatives
DP0120011 Under 18 years
DP0120012 65 years and over
DP0120013 Unmarried partner
DP0120014 In group quarters:
DP0120015 Institutionalized population:
DP0120016 Male
DP0120017 Female
DP0120018 Noninstitutionalized population:
DP0120019 Male
DP0120020 Female
Universe:  Households
DP0130001 Total:
DP0130002 Family households (families)
DP0130003 With own children under 18 years
DP0130004 Husband-wife family
DP0130005 With own children under 18 years
DP0130006 Male householder, no wife present
DP0130007 With own children under 18 years
DP0130008 Female householder, no husband present
DP0130009 With own children under 18 years
DP0130010 Nonfamily households
DP0130011 Householder living alone:
DP0130012 Male
DP0130013 65 years and over
DP0130014 Female
DP0130015 65 years and over
Universe:  Households with individuals under 18 years
DP0140001 Total
Universe:  Households with individuals 65 years and over
DP0150001 Total
DPSF16.  AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD SIZE [1]  (2 expressed decimals)
Universe: Households
DP0160001 Average household size
DPSF17.  AVERAGE FAMILY SIZE [1]  (2 expressed decimals)
Universe:  Families
DP0170001 Average family size
Universe:  Total housing units
DP0180001 Total:
DP0180002 Occupied housing units
DP0180003 Vacant housing units:
DP0180004 For rent
DP0180005 Rented, not occupied
DP0180006 For sale only
DP0180007 Sold, not occupied
DP0180008 For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use
DP0180009 All other vacants
DPSF19.  HOMEOWNER VACANCY RATE [1] (1 expressed decimal)
Universe:  Owner-occupied, vacant for sale only, and vacant sold but not occupied housing units
DP0190001 Homeowner vacancy rate (percent)
DPSF20.  RENTAL VACANCY RATE [1] (1 expressed decimal)
Universe:  Renter-occupied, vacant for rent, and vacant rented but not occupied housing units
DP0200001 Rental vacancy rate (percent)
Universe:  Occupied housing units
DP0210001 Total:
DP0210002 Owner-occupied housing units
DP0210003 Renter-occupied housing units
Universe: Population in occupied housing units
DP0220001 Owner-occupied housing units
DP0220002 Renter-occupied housing units
Universe: Occupied housing units
Average household size-
DP0230001 Owner occupied
DP0230002 Renter occupied

3 Imagery Background tiling sources not working.

Depiction attempts to use free data sources in order to keep the cost of our product as low as possible.  On occasion these sources stop providing the service or change how you access them.  A few years back we lost the topographical map source. Recently 3 of the imagery background tiling sources have stopped working.  The only one that is still working is the MapQuest imagery tiler.  We are attempting to resolve this and hope to have them restored or removed from the list.

June 24th Webinar video on using Shapefiles now available.

The June 24th Webinar on using Shapefiles with Depiction is now available here.

You can download the powerpoint .pdf used in the webinar here.

You can download the American Fact Finder quick user guide here.

I learned something from this webinar. In the past when editing the exported csv from a shapefile, I always used a spreadsheet program but there is a problem with this method in many cases because complex shapes will create more lat/long sets than can be contained in a single cell. This messes up the file and those shapes won’t be reimported.  However, a webinar attendee suggested using a text editor to edit it.  Not sure why I hadn’t thought of it but that solves the problem.  And since you are only changing one field in the first row from “some property name” to “EID” it is pretty simple to do.

May 28th Webinar recording now available.

The May 28th webinar which was a demo and Q&A about the Depiction version 2.0 is now available and can be found here.

How to create your own background tiler.

A few weeks back I posted how a German fire department was using Depiction.  He had discovered a way to take maps and make them into background tiles.  He has written a paper on how he did that and has graciously allowed me to share it. You can find it here.

A user story.

Recently a long term Depiction user wrote to me how she was using Depiction.  She uses it for a variety of different and unusual reasons and just shows how flexible Depiction is and as she points out is ‘more than mapping”.

I am not a GIS expert. The concept of a story was puzzling to me and using maps was just as puzzling. After I retired I wanted to write stories about my family and activities. At first I thought I needed to have a file with a name for my stories. After using Depiction for awhile I found that using maps was far better as one can remember much easier the people in the story by the places they have lived at or been to. I can insert pictures and copy large amounts of information into my Depictions. I can use Depiction for my personal preparedness which is always there when I want to access it because the information is saved in a Depiction on my computer. I can use Depiction to plot out locations and scenarios when I see major news stories. I find it much easier to add a location as Depiction places the location directly on the map.

With Malaysia Flight 370 in the news, I used Depiction to follow what was going on. It was so much easier than using the online maps which are too “busy” for me. Since I already had the Depiction on Flight 370 saved to my computer, I did not have to recreate the maps again which made it much easier to follow. I could just open up my Depiction each day and add information. Using the coordinates and locations given on the news, I was able to follow along to see what was going on and make my guess as to where the plane was. With the elements available I was able to key in important information. Using the Route elements I was able to see the distance involved which helped to see where the plane might be located.

Depiction is more than Mapping. It is fun to create maps, write notes, and visualize what could happen in familiar surroundings. It is like a game for me sometimes such as searching for treasures. I have used Depiction work on contests for locating treasures. All the info I key is right there and I can continue again without having to take notes again as they are already there which has saved an enormous amount of time. I can use Depiction as an address book. I just key in names, addresses and other info and I know where it is because it is in the location my Depiction is saved so I don’t forget. Using my home address to start I put in addresses for people all over. I just key in an address and Depiction locates it for me. I then use the element properties for keying in all the information.

Now I am retired and look forward to using Depiction for writing my stories! I hope all of you that are using Depiction,  enjoy it as much as I do.

Video of Depiction Webinar by Michael Craig of Pemstar now available.

This webinar was about how Michael Craig used Depiction more than mapping software during the planning for and as a common operating picture and situational awareness tool to support the New Jersey MACC for the SuperBowl 48. You can watch it here.

April 22nd Webinar – Michael Craig and the Big Game

Please join us on Tuesday April 22nd, 2014 at Noon PST/3pm EST for another informative Depiction 101 webinar.

The webinar will be how Michael Craig, Owner of PEMSTAR was asked to be the GIS Technical Specialist for the MACC (multi-agency coordination system) for SuperbOwl 48. The MACC is the fusion center for all emergency medical and health service. It was assigned to monitor, support and coordinate all incidents within New Jersey and New York. Michael Craig used Depiction as his primary GIS mapping software. Michael used almost all the assets that Depiction has to offer, publish to web, live reports, customizable elements creation and more. The Department of Health and Human Services, FDNY, New Jersey EMS task force, FEMA and the New Jersey Department of Health were just some of the event participants. During the week of the SuperbOwl, Michael Craig not only had to coordinate the SuperbOwl events but a quarantined cruise ship, and a large number of white powder incidents.

If there is time available we will also be available to answer general questions.

You can register here.

Email from a German Fire Department using Depiction

Hi Richard,

I want to give you some information of our first “proof of ability” of the Depiction software we bought some time ago.

The county Freudenstadt (115 055 inhabitants, 870.68 km² area)

did a region wide exercise with a simulated winter storm event.

The proposed situation was that a winter storm with heavy snowfall and strong wind crossed the county.

Rising temperatures and beginning rain complicated the situation.

The local fire brigades are confronted with flooded roads and cellars, damaged buildings, traffic accidents and so on.

The dispatchers of the rescue coordination center (red cross/fire dept.) were faced with over 560 calls for help during the 5h exercise.

Over 850 firemen were sent out to help the resident population.

The fire brigade from Dornstetten used the Depiction software to manage the 36 events in their municipal area.

The incoming tasks were put into the depiction and geolocated automatically.

We used a user created element for representing a tasks location.

The ongoing state of such a task was shown by different colors.

Red: -new alert

Yellow: -work in progress

Green: -work done

The vehicles assigned to that tasks, were placed at the task areas location, when the message from the crew came to our local headquarter, that they start their work there.

So we were able to keep control over our resources and open tasks without any problem.

Our mobile command center was used as telecommunication center. All decisions were taken in the so called “Führungshaus”.

This was installed in our fire station. There we run the depiction software on a laptop with a connected beamer to have an actual operation picture available.

A second Depiction application in our mobile command center was updated via the Live Report function.

So the guys in the field were informed about the ongoing efforts nearly in real time.

This was the first time we used Depiction under real life crisis conditions and it worked like we expected.

Best regards,

Frank Ruegner