This assignment only seems pointless, in that the obvious geographical connotations that are associated with certain regions and their respective demographic compositions are yet again redemonstrated here.
-That we are able, with census data, to pull race data about African Americans, Asians or other race groups off the reliable Census.gov site, and prove those stereotypes to be in some respects, true, demonstrates why this lab was indeed worthwhile.
ASIAN AMERICANS IN THE USA
One might hypothesize, that given Asian Americans are a relatively new ethnic group to the United States, arriving after the predominantly agrarian 1800s, that Asians settled primarily in Cities (around centers of industrial production). Within the context of this map, it is demonstrated that, even though the first waves of Asians hit California, that Asians are now distributed relatively evenly throughout the nation, per national population density, with a relatively large dose of spatial autocorrelation. As per California, the Urban centers are particularly saturated, as almost every county between Marin and San Diego is at least 2% Asian (by pop.)
AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE USA
This demographic spread is fairly predictable. Many African Americans live in major urban zones, as well as in the rural South Eastern United States. We can see a significant clusterings of predominantly African American counties along the Mississippi Valley, as well as the urban belt of the Central South. The converse is true of the Plains States, Midwest and Western states with small proportions and volumes of Black populations West of the Mississippi, excluding parts of Texas, Louisiana, Chicagoland and the urban centers of California.
-A notable caveat: that these maps show Black Populations per capita yet individual county total population may obscure the Black presence in a given county. The average county in Mississippi may have a higher percentage than say, Los Angeles County, of African Americans, but LA has many more actual African Americans via population than the entire state of Mississippi. The dichotomy, via these maps, shows African American populations as either being exceedingly rural or incredibly urban.
As Per GIS
GIS, for me, still needs to develop and polish itself before being unleashed into the hands of students. The interface of GIS was not at all intuitive, and if GIS were brought to a ‘Mac vs PC’ type dichotomy, it would most certainly ‘be a PC’.
Indeed, the rough interface inhibited a general understanding of the lab materials, but provided another layer of disconnect…between the course material and the labs’ purpose.
-GIS felt as though it were two courses, and this sort of fission takes mightily from the value of the course.