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st: merging raster and vector GIS data

From   "Beede, David N" <>
To   "" <>
Subject   st: merging raster and vector GIS data
Date   Tue, 10 Apr 2012 16:46:41 -0400

I would like to obtain elevation data by US Census Block.  The Census Bureau does not provide such data and refer one to the US Geological Survey, but as far as I can tell, the USGS does not provide data matched by Census Block.  On-line searches yielded no such data.  So I think I would need to merge the USGS raster data on elevation (National Elevation Dataset - to the Census Bureau's Tiger shapefiles. 

I believe that one can do this in ArcGIS and other software packages, but I was curious about whether it is possible to do this using Stata.  Existing (and very helpful!) user-written Stata programs either work with raster data (-ras2dta-) or shapefiles (-shp2dta-), but as far as I can tell there is no user-written Stata program that brings data from these two different formats together.  

So my questions are:
1. Am I correct that there is no user-written Stata command(s) that can merge raster and shapefile data into a Stata dataset?
2. If there are no such commands, is there interest (other than my own) in having such a command?
3. Am I crazy to contemplate trying to write such a command?  (This last question is mostly rhetorical.)

David N. Beede, Ph.D.
Office of the Chief Economist
Economics & Statistics Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
Office:  Room 4868A
Mailstop:  Room 4858 HCHB
1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC  20230
Telephone (202) 482-1226 

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