A Vision for a 21ST Century MAF/TIGER *
October 19, 2000
Robert W. Marx
Chief, Geography Division
The Census Bureau has always been an innovator and leader in the use of automation to
achieve its goals. In no other area at the Census Bureau has the use of automation been more
far-reaching or more successful then in the MAF and the TIGER data base (called
“MAF/TIGER data bases” for the balance of this document). The MAF/TIGER data bases
have become a national resource. They are used not only to support the various censuses
and surveys at the Census Bureau, but also by other Federal agencies, the Congress,
numerous state, local, and tribal governments, and many private sector and academic
organizations. Primarily, the MAF/TIGER data bases are used to support the mapping,
geographic analysis, and GIS activities of the Census Bureau in meeting the statistical data
needs of its many and varied customers.
Although the MAF/TIGER data bases have been able, thus far, to meet and exceed the
Census Bureau’s Census 2000 geographic requirements, this likely will not be true for the
21ST Century. The current MAF/TIGER data bases must be significantly upgraded and
redone to overcome significant limitations identified by Census 2000 and “launch” the
Bureau’s statistical programs into the 21ST Century.
As currently designed and implemented the MAF/TIGER data bases:
• Limit the sources that can be used to assure intercensal completeness of the Master
Address File (MAF) and integral TIGER data bases and impede the ability of the
Bureau’s data collection operations to adopt an integrated address list / geographic
update / data collection instrument.
• Preclude more effective address list and geographic information partnerships with
those state, local, and tribal governments that have high quality address, street, boundary,
and related geographic information.
• Diminish the ability of the TIGER/MAF data bases to provide the highest possible
quality in the