Date of Award


Document Type



Environmental Resources Engineering

Thesis Advisor

Charles N. Kroll


To help communities better understand and manage urban forests, the USDA Forest Service has developed the i-Tree software suite ( To include demographic data in future versions of i-Tree, the Forest Service sought a simpler way to obtain geographically-linked data from the U.S. Census Bureau. At present, the Census Bureau has not provided a way to efficiently download specific statistics for large areas. Data from the Census Bureau website is typically spread across many data files, none of which have headers or other ways to quickly reference the data. To minimize errors from manually retrieving and collating the data, I designed the Census Data Extractor, a toolset that uses the R and Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) programs. In the VBA portion, the user selects the statistics that they want from a graphical user interface, and several output files are generated. In the R portion, the VBA output files are accessed and the selected statistics for each data report are consolidated into a single text file. The toolset can be used to obtain data from the 2010 Decennial Census and the 2006-2010 American Communities Survey 5-Year Estimates, which contain the most up-to-date, detailed information available. A case study is presented where demographic data is obtained and compared to tree health data within the City of Syracuse, NY.