Census Bureau Tract Coding Resources

Date: Wed Mar 27 07:38:30 1996
From: "Paul Manka" 
Subject: Improved Tract Coding Resources
Currently there is nothing directly accessible at the Census Website that allows you to determine the census tract for an address. The Census Bureau does offer the Census Tract Street Index Version 2 (CTSI) product which was designed specifically for this task. It is contained on six CD-ROM discs which sell for $90 each; $400 for the entire country. They are described in the Marketplace section of the Bureau home page URL: http://www.census.gov/ftp/pub/mp/www/rom/msrom12c.html. The CTSI software would have to be re-written to be Web accessible. Census is considering re-writing but would do so only if production and maintenance costs can be recovered from Internet users by offering it as a paid service.

CTSI was created specifically to meet the needs of mortgage lenders for compliance with the Federal Reserve's Regulation C, which implements the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975. The Bureau depends on the revenues created by the sales of the CTSI products to pay for the products' production costs. If we lost all revenue from these products, we would not be able to provide new versions. We believe that financial institutions are getting an very useful tool at a very reasonable price.

Keep in mind that the CTSI files can code only city-style types of addresses. The coverage in CTSI Version 2 by county varies from 0 to over 98 percent depending upon the mix of city-style and rural addresses. The date of the address coverage is April 1990, which means that new streets and other related changes won't be shown in this product. We are planning to issue an updated version within the next year. The precise timing will be driven by availability of staff resources for this work.

For counties or county equivalents that have a large number of rural addresses, we recommend LandView II as a complementary product. First and foremost, it can create a map showing major/minor roads along with tract/BNA boundaries for every county or county equivalent in the U.S. Beyond the mapping function, it has a function that will locate a given street on a map, thus showing the user the appropriate census tract/BNA number. This product effectively replaces the paper census tract/BNA maps that have to be plotted on demand. We have a demo version of this product that can be downloaded from URL: http://www.census.gov/ftp/pub/geo/www/tiger. These data are contained on 11 CD-ROMS for the entire United States, at a cost of $95 each or $795 for the entire set.

If you need LandView data for only a single county or county equivalent, RTK Net, a non-profit group web-site, provides the public with the capability of downloading the LandView software and files. URL: http://www.rtk.net.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

Paul Manka
Products and Services Staff
Geography Division
(301) 457 - 1128

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http://merrill.olm.net/pdocs/feas/pop/ctsi.html 5/17/96