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Ok so as far as my understanding goes the most high resolution dataset available that factors in many other things (other than Census data ) at a 1X1 km resolution is Landscan data created by Oak ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). But, these are not available freely. What is the closest alternative you know of?

I am planning to use US Census Tiger data for 2010 and the lowest resolution it provides is of Census Tracts which are variable in their size (see here).

Can anyone suggest me any other alternative (transformed) datasets ?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

You can download Census Blocks from TIGER; you'll just have to download the data on a state-by-state basis and merge it all together.

EDIT: See this page for block-level shapefiles that already have the population and housing unit counts attached, so you don't have to deal with joining SF1 tables!

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I have to still decide between the two, do you think it is possible to download all Census blocks for USA in one go? –  GeoH2O Mar 7 '12 at 13:09
The reason they're not available in a single file is the sheer size it would be. Some states one their own have nearly 500 MB of data at the block level -- and that's just the compressed shapefile! That said, it doesn't take terribly long to go to the FTP site (linked from the page I referenced in my edit) and right-click -> Save As for the 50 states. In my experience, unzipping the large states is the part that takes the longest. –  nmpeterson Mar 7 '12 at 14:56
There are approximately 8.5 million Census Blocks :-). –  whuber Mar 7 '12 at 15:34
Yes there is a lot of data other than population i see.. –  GeoH2O Mar 7 '12 at 17:54
+1 for merged files... having to put those two files back together can be such an (unnecessary) pain! –  Jeff Bridgman May 14 '12 at 21:57

If you need a gridded data set CIESIN's Gridded Population datasets may be of use. See http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/gpw/aboutus.jsp#aboutTable for more details. The best resolution is 30 Arc seconds.

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This is a very good dataset but the only problem is that 30 arc second is available for the year 2000, i think it will be a while before 2010 data at that resolution will be available –  GeoH2O Mar 7 '12 at 18:35

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