CAPS: Circular Area Profiling System
Revised May, 2018
The MCDC CAPS applications allow users to enter a location (latitude-longitude coordinates or ZIP Code) and up to five radius values. The results are a series of U.S. Census data-based profile reports, one for each radius. The data reported will vary with the CAPS version. All versions (except "classic") provide links to Google Maps to easily obtain coordinates for any U.S. street address.
- CAPS ACS. This is the current production version that works with the latest available data from the ACS (American Community Survey). Uses an algorithm to include or exclude a geographic unit (census tract or block group) within a circle. This module accesses a block-level file with coordinates and 2010 population counts and uses that infomation to estimate the portion of the unit's population within the circle. It then applies that allocation factor to all the data for that unit. This is referred to as BBIA (block-based inclusion algorithm). Highly recommended for small radii of less than five miles.
- CAPS 2010. This version works with census-block-level data from the 2010 census, Summary File 1. This is a good choice if you want just basic demographic data — age, race, sex, Hispanic, etc. — and can live with the fact that this is 2010 data and starting to get old.
- CAPS 2000. This is the orginal, "classic" version of the application, written circa 2002, that works with data from the 2000 decennial census. Unlike the 2010 census version that has limited ("short form" only) data, these reports show a much richer set of data, taken from Summary File 3.
- Batch CAPS. This is different from the other web-based applications. This fee-based service is for users who have large files of point data (typically geocoded address files). The CAPS ACS service is recommended; it makes use of the BBIA logic described above, but is optimized for doing many sites in a single run. Follow the link above for ALPS service details and pricing.