How do I best specify the information product I need from

Four basic factors determine the content of information:

  1. Subject Area
    (detailed by Subject Categories, Table Titles and Variables in our Data Catalog)
  2. The Information Items given in the form of Table Titles and/or parts thereof
    (e.g., Population aged 65 years and above)
  3. Data Geography
    (e.g. Suffolk County, Cambridge City, Charlestown neighborhood, Harvard Square Business District or ZIP Code 02118)
  4. Time period
    (e.g., 2000 or 2010, or 1990 or recent estimates for 2008 or 2009)

Please note that the Glossary section provides most of the important definitions and clarifications with reference to US Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Assessing, Health Utilization Data, Retail Market, etc.

For guidelines on the form or type of presentation, in the form of tables, charts, maps and profiles, please refer to the galleries section.

If you are not conversant with all or any of the technical terms above, merely provide BSG with a general description of your needs and we will work with you to determine the content and form of information that best serves your purposes.

Question: How do I identify/describe the geography?

Categories of geography can be listed and detailed as follows:

  1. Predefined area
    (Identify these areas by name and/or ID number)
    1. Towns, Cities and Counties
    2. Postal ZIP Codes
    3. Federal, State and local legislative districts
    4. Administrative Zones specified by School Department or the Police and similar public entities
    5. Planning Districts and neighborhoods with official demarcation
    6. Census geography that primarily includes census tracts, census block groups, census blocks and PUM Districts
    7. Service areas of CDCs and Health Centers
  2. Semi-defined area
    (Identify these areas by name and boundaries that suit your purpose, unless there is an official version)

    These are loosely defined areas with no officially designated boundaries. Name of the area may be in use but its operational boundaries vary from one user to another.

  3. User-defined Area
    (User of data can define the area of interest by specifying the defining characteristics)
    1. Radial Area (Give the Mailing address of the location and the length of the radial distance)
    2. Drive-time Distance (Give the Mailing address of the location of store or amenity and the drive-time to that location in minutes)
    3. A unique area you define by way of visible physical boundaries on ground.
      (Give the most commonly used physical boundaries such as streets, streams, rail tracks, parks, identifiable buildings, urban spaces and structures)

Question: How can I find information for a business district, neighborhood/community?

Boston Studies Group presents data for many communities by making use of officially defined census geographies and many other administrative and electoral units such as ZIP codes and Electoral Districts. The various geographic areas, described with maps in Data Geography, will help you to determine the type of geography that serves your purpose and help identify the geographic boundaries of your study area. However, you may often require data for a unique area in terms of boundaries. In such cases, Boston Studies Group uses geographic information software to customize the relevant information based on the boundary details you provide.

Question: What are the time periods and years for which data are available?

Data availability by year is given in the Data Catalogs section. However data for many other years, particularly historic data will be provided on request subject to availability.

What are the key specifications to get the information in presentation formats such as charts, maps and profiles?

Data Sets/Tables

Our data sets will be provided conforming to your specifications of thematic subjects, content, geographic areas and graphic formats as shown in the Galleries section. Please note that direct copies of source data without any added value will not be provided except in cases of public domain data.

Tables require a select group of variables as rows and their attribute values under labeled columns. After data extraction, there will be grouping of data to categories and also in comparative formats where years, geographies, or racial groups show comparison of characteristics. Such grouping and comparisons will be indicated in your info-request.

Chart Making

From broader variable lists and their attributes a selection of variables and attributes will be used for chart making. In this summarizing process it is essential to compile the dataset, simplify them to meaningful tables, which can then be presented as charts. Users are strongly advised to go through the Chart Gallery and identify the chart that conforms to the type of preferred table.

Map Making

On the basis of variable list and their attributes from the data catalogs you should indicate the one or more variables and attributes for map making. For map making the dataset may be grouped into classes and will have mappable reference to geographic locations or areas.

For presentation purposes, you should indicate the size and scale of the map. Special attention may be paid to the color scheme/codes.


Images are available to 300 dpi resolution and in jpg formats. On request resolutions may be modified or formats converted to tiff or png or gif.

Profile Making

Profiles include two or more of the following components:

  1. Tables
  2. Charts
  3. Maps
  4. Images
  5. Diagrams
  6. Text Blocks

Components included in the profile and their lay-out will be completed in consultative steps involving sketches and drafts.

For all presentation purposes, you should indicate the size and scale of the copy. Special attention may be paid to the color scheme and titles.