Have your neighbors taken out sub-prime mortgages? Do they support Obama or McCain? What kind of work do they do?
PolicyMap.com can help answer these kinds of questions -- not for specific people but for the neighborhood as a whole.
The website, launched last month by the nonprofit Reinvestment Fund, allows anyone to create custom maps comparing selected areas on variables that range into the hundreds, including mortgage types, political contributions, occupations, home values, crime, race, incomes and education levels.
You can view color-shaded maps of specific neighbor- hoods or pull back to see the state, or even the country as a whole.
Drawn from diverse sources, PolicyMap's data vary in timeliness and geographic precision. Some information comes from the 2000 U.S. census, but presidential campaign contributions are current through March 20 of this year. Income levels can be viewed by neighborhood; crime data are offered by county.
Although much is available for free, paying subscribers can get more current data and future projections.
-- Scott Wilson