The People in Your Neighborhood

Whether you're new to an area, or've lived there for years but are still curious about why people are burning crosses on your lawn, it's good to know your surroundings. Check out, and scope out any 'hood in America.The 'Roo is a just-launched Google-map/US Census mashup that guts out cities and towns on an interactive United States map. Links along the left of the page control what data is plotted onto the grid (apartment rent, average commute times, air quality, racial constituency, political affiliations, etc.), which may be zoomed and navigated just like your go-to "S&M pizza parlor" Google map. There's also a search function where you can enter a specific address or zip code -- perfect for seeing if your new girlfriend was raised in a town full of conservative gun-toters or one rife with wealthy, Green Party Asians who don't mind smog.Going forward, the 'Roo plans to expand to include expert Wikipedia-style information -- popular restaurants, best schools, Civil War ghost-haunted barns, etc. Eventually, you'll know more about the city than its locals -- allowing you to tease the Klansmen desecrating your front yard about their high property taxes and overcrowded schools.