ITHACA, N.Y. — Ever wonder how different types of the jobs are spread out in Ithaca and other cities? Then you’ll love looking through Robert Manduca’s project.


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Bus To Nature: Route 22

The Harvard PhD student has created a “dot map” that plots a tiny dot where each job is geographically based. The data is based off of information reported by employers during the 2010 census. The idea is borrowed from the dot maps of racial groups created by data scientist Dustin Cable.

In Manduca’s job-centric dots map, different colored dots are used to represent different kinds of jobs – red dots for manufacturing and trade, green for health, education and government, blue for professional services (such as lawyers, accountants, and tech firms), and yellow for retail and hospitality.

The underlying data covers about 96 percent of all private jobs, including part-time ones. All government jobs are also reported, except for those in direct service of the military.

Some things are no surprise – Wall Street is covered in blue dots, the Las Vegas strip is sea of yellow specks, and Washington D.C. is as green as a leprechaun’s bottom.

But let’s take a closer look at Ithaca … click on the image to see a somewhat zoomed in version: ​

All four colors do show up in Ithaca in varying amounts. The yellow retail and hospitality jobs cluster around the retail stores of Southwest Ithaca, Collegetown and Lansing village off of 13. A swath of blue professional services dots spackle the Cornell Business and Technology Park near the airport, and some red dots show up here and there, for Borg Warner, the South Hill Business Campus, and along Route 13/Dryden Road.

Then there’s the green dots – we would expect plenty of those. Some of them show up in the right place – ICSD and Cayuga Medical Center’s, for instance. But Cornell’s dots a little more confusing. The campus itself is pretty bare.

Doing a little digging, the data comes from the “Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD)” Census database. Cornell’s payroll office uses a Pine Tree Road address; if this is the address reported to the LEHD, then the jobs are going to be clustered in a space along Pine Tree Road. The large, nearly solid green tract in the map is between Snyder Hill and Slaterville Roads, along Pine Tree. It looks like that’s the census block that reports Cornell’s jobs, and because Cornell employs thousands, all the dots blend together in that little space.

As for Ithaca College, it’s still a bit of a mystery. South Hill is largely absent, and the Danby Road mailing address for IC’s payroll office would suggest there should be something there.

Data quirks aside, it’s a pretty cool visualization of where most of the jobs are in Ithaca and Tompkins County.

The interactive map can be found here.

Brian Crandall

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at