Community Geography at IMS

Neighborhood Pulse is an online storytelling platform that uses data, maps, and narrative to highlight important issues in the Portland area. The website is designed to cater to members of the community at large, as well as academic researchers and policy makers. Neighborhood Pulse is designed to be a tool for public empowerment, highlighting issues that affect the people of Portland in order to better understand the neighborhood dynamics in our region.

How can we help you map your community?

Who we are.


Randy Morris is the Community GIS Project Leader at Portland State University’s Institute of Metropolitan Studies, and was most recently published as lead cartographer in Portlandness: a Cultural Atlas. Currently, Randy is working on the Institute’s Northwest Open Data Exchange (NODE) project.


Sachi Arakawa is a student at Portland State University, pursuing a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree. Her background is in Geography and GIS. Sachi is currently a Graduate Research Assistant at the Institute of Metropolitan Studies, and Editor of Neighborhood Pulse.


The Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies (IMS) is a research institute at Portland State University that houses Neighborhood Pulse and several of our sister institutes and publications, including:
Greater Portland Pulse
Population Research Center

How we work.

1 Neighborhoods by the Numbers.

Neighborhood Pulse works closely with Population Research Center (PRC) demographers to display official population data in a geographic form familiar to most people.
Through Neighborhood Pulse, IMS provides web-maps, charts, and tabular data free to the public. For more information about effectively using U.S. Census data in your projects, email the experts at:

2Community Tech Partnerships.

The Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies is headquarters to experts in mapping and spatial analysis, whose job is to bring that expertise to bear in service of the community. To this end, Geographic analysis services and workshops are available to non-profit community groups at little-to-no cost. For more information, email us at: IMS GIS Services

3Sharing Stories and
Sense of Place

One of the primary goals at IMS is to help foster a regional sense-of-place in the larger Portland area. To this end, Neighborhood Pulse serves as a platform for communities to share their stories with others in the metroscape, building networks and understanding, and putting it all in context with data curated by PSU experts. For more information, email us at: Community Stories (