Editor’s Note 11/2/98

By Joseph Schwartz

Directions Magazine is the creation of a long-distance, virtual synergy of an editorial team scattered between the Pacific Northwest and Upstate New York.We are collectively connected through the Internet and motivated by a mission to provide you with accurate, interesting and timely mapping and demographics news.

The Web is a natural publishing medium for Directions.Increasingly, the people and businesses we will report about have used Web for information and business transactions.Private sector companies such as SRC offer custom demographic tabulations online.Vicinity is putting Web searches into a geographic context.The Census Bureau's printed reports are virtually obsolete now that they are available online, instantly and at no cost.Soon, the Census Bureau will break new ground by introducing a new Web-based custom tabulation service, American FactFinder.

Distinctions are blurring between demographic data companies and GIS software providers as more businesses realize that consumer and demographic data gain immense value when they are presented in a geographic context.Knowing who your customers are is important; knowing where they are is vital.Similarly, mapping companies learned long ago that there is a lot more to GIS than locating the positions of oil wells or rivers.

Mapping technology is becoming an integral part of doing business in banking, real estate, and insurance.Educators who recognize the broad applicability of mapping software are creating a growing niche for these products, from kindergarten through graduate school.

Today, Directions begins to address these issues: Scott Elliott and Nora Sherwood analyze recent sea changes in the geo-demographic industry and discuss what they will mean to you.Patricia Braus notes the coming "Age of Arthritis" and shows how it will impact future health care needs throughout the nation.Columnist Larry Daniel illuminates the need for more spatial literacy in the business community.Thomas Exter highlights trends in metropolitan area growth.Meg Ambry brings us up to date on the sampling issue of Census 2000 and Hal Reid emphasizes the need for truly customized information software.

That's only the beginning: We will take advantage of the Internet's speed by putting news and analysis into Directions as quickly as it occurs.And we have no intention of standing still: The publication that you see before you will not be a static document, but a continually evolving news source that will adapt itself to your needs and interests.

Check in with us often and let us know how we can better serve your readership needs.

Published Tuesday, November 3rd, 1998

Written by Joseph Schwartz

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