Help Topics

Divided into three topic areas: Getting Started, Maps and Data, and Reports.

Getting Started with Scan/US:

Using Scan/US Overview

The Overview page describes all the help pages, and links to them.

Basics 1: Layers and the main screen

This is the Basics 1 tutorial. It shows parts of the main screen, basic layer concepts, and a first run-through on site express.

Basics 2: Customize your map

The Basics 2 tutorial has more information about map customization. Layer control, label placement, basic legend editing, and how to use pre-existing themes to make your life easier.

Basics 3: Polygon editing

The Basics 3 tutorial shows how to create polygon areas. Also covered: naming your polygons and polygon layers, project folders, and what "Autosave" does.

Basics 4: Thematic Maps with Strata Manager

Two tutorials show how to use Strata Manager in Classify by Value to create colorful density area maps and categorized location maps.

Classify by Value 1: Strata Manager for Areas

Classify by Value 2: Strata Manager for Locations

Basics 5: Group by Object and Classify

The Basics 5 tutorial shows how to use Group By Object to create a colorful Microgrid density map ONLY within your polygon or ring area. Picks up where Basics 3 left off.

The ten top-level menus of the Scan/US menu system, menu by menu.

Customize Map Layers

More about how to customize map layer appearance, and save a theme.

Maps and Data: Importing, Exporting, Examining data

This section is about the mechanics of data. Importing, examining, comparing, and exporting.

Working with Excel

The rules of working with Excel. Where to put stuff, and how to get it into Scan/US. Covers both location files, and key-matched data imports to existing areas.

Import Locations

Import locations, and export the data around those locations.

Google Earth

Export your analysis to Google Earth, in polygon-plus-data form.


How to work with Benchmarks -- built-in datasets (and user-defined ones, too) that you can compare against any object or group of objects.

Quicklook (a tour)

An around-the-world tour of the Quicklook demographic-data examination facility.

Mass drive-time production

Suppose you have thousands of locations, and you would like to know the population within 15 minutes driving time of each location. This example.

Data from other layers

Scan/US automatically aggregates MicroGrid data to created objects such as rings and polygons you create. If you want a different data source, this tells you how.

Create Layer from group

Scan/US has a powerful grouping tool to create groups. Now you can use groups to make a permanent polygon layer based on ZIP, County, Census tract, BG, or MSA groups.

Export by ZIP

If you want to group objects by ZIP and export them, this tells you how.

Export cross-reference

Sometimes you need a cross-reference between a geographic layer, and a point layer which you have loaded. This tells you how.


The report help pages focus on output: Reports, maps, and exports which output data. They are covered in three categories: Site Express, 'basic' reports, and more-complex "multiple object" reports.

Site Express

Site express covers site reports starting with street address (or lat/long) and ending up with formatted demographic site reports, showing demographic data for either rings or drive-time polygons.

Basic Reports (1-object reports)

Basic reports cover reports from Quicklook, Profile reports from the report menu, more about Site Express, and Export Data (including templated export via Excel template).

Advanced Reports

Distance reports, Thematic maps, Comparison report, Benchmark report. Export Data is covered as a report, since the ability to select and save a set of data items makes Export Data repeatable for each of a series of demographic data studies. Data-labeled maps are also covered as a multiple-object report, in which up to five data values can be displayed for each geographic object.

Three-ring site reports with Comparison Reports

Comparison reports are designed to do a full-on comparison of a series of objects with one or two un-varying objects. However, they can also be used to do a three-ring or three-drivetime comparison. This help page shows how to do that.