Scan/US documentation

These help files are designed to give you an overview of Scan/US Version 8, and get you started using it in a broad range of areas:

  • The main menu
  • Examining data with Quicklook
  • Producing reports for both single and multiple objects
  • Running Site express to produce reports
  • Importing data files and location files from Microsoft Excel files
  • Making drivetime contours or ring areas en masse using Copy Objects
  • Exporting maps with demographic data to Google Earth
  • Customizing map layers, saving your customizations as a re-usable theme
  • Importing locations and exporting data around those locations
  • Working with benchmarks

Also, there are notes on fairly narrow technical topics:

  • Using data from other layers
  • Exporting a list of places by ZIP code
  • Exporting a point-to-MicroGrid crossreference

If you have never used Scan/US, or if you have used version 7 but are new to version 8, this introductory lesson to the Scan/US main screen, Basics 1, will be very helpful to you.

Follow that with the Basics 2 lesson, a lesson on how to change labels, map symbols, turn on and edit legends, and other aspects of map customization.

Basics 1 lesson: mode buttons, layers, controls

Basics 2 lesson: features, labels, map symbols, legends

Basics 3 lesson: create and edit polygons.

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.

Lesson: Strata Manager in Classify by Value 1: Areas

Lesson: Strata Manager in Classify by Value 2: Locations

If you are already familiar with how the main screen operates, you can continue reading about the Scan/US main menus:

Scan/US main menu

Scan/US has TEN top-level menus. The selections underneath offer nearly a hundred choices. Many of the choices are also available via buttons or other controls appearing elsewhere within the system.

  • Map menu
  • Data menu
  • Objects menu
  • Groups menu
  • Reports menu
  • Annotation menu
  • Tools menu
  • Tasks menu
  • Help menu

This overview of the Scan/US menu bar is a very good first thing to read.

Tour of Scan/US Quicklook

When you choose "Quicklook.." from the Scan/US Data menu, you open a dialog you can use to examine and compare demographic data. You can print reports, export data to Excel, as well as create and save benchmark data for future use.

The Tour of Scan/US Quicklook takes you clockwise around the Quicklook dialog, showing you each aspect. Since you need to operate many aspects of Scan/US in order to use Quicklook, this tour also shows how to select an object, zoom in and out of the map, export and print a simple report.

Since Quicklook can compare grouped objects, this tour also shows how to get into group mode, create two groups of Scan/US microgrids and compare their values.

The Quicklook tour also shows you how to get into "Edit objects mode," create a five-mile ring centered on a point, and compare the demographic data for the ring to a benchmark.

Reports from Scan/US

There are several ways to get a useful report from Scan/US. This section covers these fairly simple methods:

  • Quicklook report: Click on an object, and get the report out through Quicklook, using the buttons at the bottom of Quicklook.
  • Profile report: Select an object (or, in Object Manager, more than one), and choose "Profile Report" from the Reports menu.
  • Site Express: From the Reports menu, choose "Site Express..", and enter your address, selected object (or objects), specify the number and size of rings or drivetimes, and choose the pre-formatted reports.
  • Export data: From the Data menu, choose "Export Data..", and choose the precise set of demographic variables to export to an Excel workbook or other format data file. Save the set of export variables for use time and again. "Export Data" reports are not formatted, but because of the ability to choose the exact same set of data variables, many people think of them as reports.
  • Thematic maps: Create thematic maps, colloquially known as "heat maps", from the Data Menu., by choosing "Classify by Value..." Print maps from the Map menu, by choosing "Print..." or "Export image...". You need to know about printing or exporting images, because at the moment, there are no combined map/demographic pre-formatted reports.

Multiple-object Reports

There are several really powerful options in the Scan/US report facility. This goes through each one of these:

  • Distance report: Choose "Export distance.." from the Objects menu.
  • Thematic maps: Create thematic maps from the Data Menu., by choosing "Classify by Value..." Print maps from the Map menu, by choosing "Print..." or "Export image...".
  • Comparison report: Choose "Comparison report" from the Reports menu.
  • Benchmark report: Choose "Benchmark report.." from the Reports menu., choose "Site Express..", and enter your address, selected object (or objects), specify the number and size of rings or drivetimes, and choose the pre-formatted reports.
  • Export data: all roster objects From the Data menu, choose "Export Data..", and choose "All roster objects on the first panel. Then select the precise set of demographic variables to export to an Excel workbook or other format data file.
  • Data-labeled maps With your desired data layer active, choose "Label Style.." from the Tools menu, and click the "Content" tab. Click the button to the left of "data values" and choose up to 5 data values from the triangle menu.

These are reports which focus on relations between multiple objects.

Site Express page 1

It's actually possible to do a site report right from the first page of Site Express.

This introduction shows you how to:

  • Make a report right away using the current options
  • Start Site express
  • Read what the current options are
  • Make Site Express start automatically when you launch Scan/US.
  • Enter locations using an address, latitude/longitude coordinate, or map selection
  • Understand how good a job Site Express did at finding the location for the address
  • Edit the report title
  • Enter locations using Object manager
  • Find study areas and ring or drivetime layers created by Site Express

Working with Excel

There are lots of possibilities, both for import and export, in working with Excel and Scan/US. We will run through the basics, sketch out some problem scenarios you can avoid, and give you some ideas you can use.

  • Importing locations vs. importing key-matched data: differencies and similarities.
  • Formats to use when putting your data into a worksheet
  • Problems you will encounter
  • An example study: two files from Tito's Tacos
  • Grouping by character-string "codes" in your Excel file
  • How to use Excel to extend Scan/US
  • Exports to Excel

Step by step

These example studies focus on just one or two objectives. They provide a vehicle for engaging a lot of different Scan/US capabilities. Reading through the longer examples should give you a good grip of some of the "power user" capabilities of Scan/US.

Creating drivetime contours with Copy objects

The copy objects command, found on the objects menu, can be used to copy objects to a new layer.

One use is to create a layer of a different type, such as an area layer of concentric rings (the classic 1-3-5-mile ring, for example), or a layer based on drive times from a given point.

This example copies a point layer to a 10-minute drivetime layer, and then to a 1-3-5-mile ring layer.

The example shows how to customize the ring layer font and symbol appearance, and how to examine data for the drivetimes and the ring.

Exporting to Google Earth

In Scan/US Version 8, you can create ring areas, polygon areas based on driving time, as well as groups of ZIP codes, microgrids, or anything else.

You can export all of these to Google Earth. There are two basic ways to do this.

Method 1: Select object, then right-click and choose "Locate in Google Earth"

Method 2: Select Object(s) in Object Manager, then from the Export button at the bottom of Object Manager, choose "Export Objects" OR Locate in google Earth

Variations on these techniques give you a wide range of map output possibilities. This exercise goes through *a lot of them.

How to Customize Map Layers

This exercise shows how to create a map with county boundaries for just three counties, and then customize the borders, labels, and appearance of the counties. The same process is repeated with census tracts.

You will:

  • Select framing mode, and create a study area
  • Open the Map Layers dialog and change the appearance of the map
  • Create a group of counties
  • Change the way counties are depicted in the map
  • Use the object manager to make the other counties disappear
  • Turn on manual label placement
  • Use "group by geography" to create a group of Census tracts, based on what counties they fall within.
  • Customize appearance of the Census tracts
  • Save a re-usable map theme

Import locations and Export Data

This Scan/US session is a four-step study:

  1. Import a list of locations IN to Scan/US .., about 90,000 branch bank locations
  2. Export data that is attached to each location
  3. Create a three-quarter-mile ring around each location
  4. Export demographic data for all of those bank neighborhoods.

You will also:

  • Change the properties of imported data items
  • Create a group of objects to use as an "export filter"
  • Specify data variables for export
  • Create a new study area to examine data close-up
  • Look at exported data to see what it looks like in Excel.

Grouping is used for multiple selection.

Working with Benchmarks

In this introduction to working with benchmarks, you will see how to:

  • Select an object and look at its data
  • Compare the data with the US Summary benchmark
  • Export data, to an Excel workbook, or to a printer
  • Create a new study area focused on a small area
  • Create a group based on ZIPs, and save the demographics as a benchmark
  • Create a 10-minute drivetime area
  • Compare the drivetime area to the ZIP-based trade area which you have saved as a benchmark.
  • Zoom in and out using the zoom slider or the framing mode.

Technical notes on specialized subjects

Here are technical notes on a few more-specialised topics:

  • Using data from other layers
  • Creating a new layer from a group of ZIPs, Census Tracts
  • Creating "just rings and study areas" from Site Express
  • Exporting a list of places by ZIP code
  • Exporting a point-to-MicroGrid crossreference

Data menu: Data from other layers

There are several cases where you might want to use the Scan/US "Data from other layers.." command, which is found on the Scan/US Data menu.

  • Since it's possible to create a custom polygon and not summarize data to it, if you want to see demographics on your polygon, you will have to re-summarize it later on.
  • Although you have specified that data be summarized to the polygon, for some reason when you return to Scan/US the next day, when you restart the program the demographics do not appear on your polygon.
  • The 'default' layer for the data source is Scan/US MicroGrids, but you would like to summarize some other data to your polygon, that you have loaded onto Block Groups.
  • You have loaded a point layer, and want to summarize it to standard Census geography, such as States, Counties, Tracts, Block groups.

Groups menu: Create group layer

A new layer can be created by choosing "Create group layer" from the Groups menu.

The grouping must exist. Groups don't need to be adjacent.

This feature works with groups based on any of these source layers:

  • Census Block Groups
  • Census Tracts
  • ZIP codes
  • Counties
  • County subdivisions
  • MSAs

The type of territories created are non-overlapping.

The new layer's data is based on the grouped objects from the source layer.

Export places by ZIP

Suppose you need a list of PLACES, organized by ZIP code, for a five-county area. This example shows how to organize the task, and then how to use "Export Data" from the data menu, to export only the places that fall within ZIP codes in counties of interest.

Export a point-to-MicroGrid cross-reference

Export cross-reference of points to the MicroGrids within which they fall.

This effectively assigns a grid code to a point.