The Nature of Geographic Information

13. Summary

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To fulfill its mission of being the preeminent producer of attribute data about the population and economy of the United States, the U.S. Census Bureau also became an innovative producer of digital geographic data. The Bureau designed its MAF/TIGER database to support automatic geocoding of address-referenced census data, as well as automatic data quality control procedures. The key characteristics of TIGER/Line Shapefiles, including use of vector features to represent geographic entities, and address range attributes to enable address geocoding, are now common features of proprietary geographic databases used for trade area analysis, districting, routing, and allocation.

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