A Few Words About Attribute Data

A Few Words About Attribute Data
Attribute data is your non-spatial data.  It is information about the data you are interested in mapping (but is not itself a geographic place name – zip code, town, address, etc.).  Examples include program facility names, the number of participants from a single zip code, town populations…there’s really no limit to the kinds of information you can map!

What is most important, in terms of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), is that every unique feature in your attribute dataset can be associated with a geographic unit.  This spatial component is necessary to map your data.  For a coherent and comprehensive map, this unit needs to be the same for every feature in your dataset.  Geographic units might be zip codes, towns, counties, states, or any other defined area.  If you do not have a single common geographic unit but you want to include all of your data points, use the largest geographic level as the unit of your map.  For example, if your dataset includes both town and county locations, all of your data will be mapped at the county level.

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