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Geographic Terms and Concepts - MAF/TIGER Database

MAF/TIGER is an acronym for the Master Address File/Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing system or database.  It is a digital (computer-readable) geographic database that automates the mapping and related geographic activities required to support the Census Bureau’s census and survey programs.  The Census Bureau developed the TIGER® system to automate the geographic support processes needed to meet the major geographic needs of the 1990 census:  producing cartographic products to support data collection and map presentations, providing geographic structure for tabulation and dissemination of the collected statistical data, assigning residential and employer addresses to the correct geographic location and relating those locations to the geographic entities used for data tabulation, and so forth.  During the 1990s, the Census Bureau developed an independent Master Address File (MAF) to support field operations and allocation of housing units for tabulations.  After Census 2000, both the address-based MAF and geographic TIGER® databases merged to form MAF/TIGER.  The content of the MAF/TIGER database is undergoing continuous updates and is made available to the public through a variety of TIGER/Line® shapefiles.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Geography | (301) 763-1128 |  Last Revised: December 06, 2012