The 2010 U.S. census began this morning in a nearly \$300 million dollar attempt to count the nation's population. The census bureau is sending out forms to nearly 120 million households in hopes that they will top the year 2000 response rate of 67%.
The census is relevant to mappers because much of the information that is collected in done so through geographic units of analysis. We often hear about Block Groups and Census Tracts, well, the census is where we get these terms. The census divides the nation into incrementally smaller units and data are collected from each of these units. Researchers across the United States are waiting for these new data to come out so that they can be used to analyze social phenomenon. I suspect that along with the new census data there will be plenty of new and interesting research projects that are produced using this information. I also suspect that this research will have a nice spatial undertone and many of us mappers will be able to find plenty of good reads. The census bureau is conducting a "mail it back" campaign in order to up the number of individuals that return the census form so that a more accurate depiction of our nation can be created. The census bureau is holding events that include vehicles designed to collect census information and to educate the public about what the census is and how it works. For more information about the 2010 census check out the Census website