CNET Editors' review
PolicyMap is a collection of real estate, civil, and financial systems built into a mapping and charting engine. It can locate superfund sites; show you crime stats; tell you about mortgage originations (including things like subprime mortgages to various demographic groups), and age and educational background. The data is at a variety of resolutions (some is per ZIP code, some by census tract) and timeliness.
In many data sets you zoom into deep detail on your information. You can also build charts, for data sets with information over time, and generate preconfigured "community reports" for particular regions or any areas you define. Needless to say, the one thing PolicyMap is not lacking is data. It's also free to use, if you are accessing public data. Some data sets, such as home sale statistics, require a paid membership, for $200 a month.
Unfortunately, despite all of the data and all the options to display it, a few useful views are missing. For example, while you can easily see the percentage of people per census tract within a certain age range (such as 18 to 34), there's no report that I found that can help you visualize average age. And here's a tip: Don't press the back button to try to undo a mapping step; it doesn't work as you expect and will just get you lost.
PolicyMap lets users explore geographic information through maps, tables, and reports. PolicyMap is a tool for all of you who wished there was an easier way to incorporate the power of data into the decisions you make. It's fast, efficient and captures data in visually powerful ways through custom maps, tables, reports, and our new analysis tool, Analytics.
PolicyMap uses cutting edge technology that allows us to display highly sophisticated, fast and draggable maps in ordinary Web browsers. We call this technology and our platform "PMap". The ability to dynamically render and customize thousands of shaded maps sets this technology apart, making it especially suited to interactive research and data analysis. TRF has partnered with 3D-L, a progressive technology company with expertise in presenting dynamic geographic data in a web-based format. The team at 3D-L supports PolicyMap's day-to-day infrastructure and develops the new tools and functionality as we continue to enhance the site.
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