I received a nice note from Craig Helmstetter, Senior Research Scientist at Wilder Research. They've just released a new community indicators report called Twin Cities Compass. They're interested in the reaction of the indicators community to their format/structure and the indicator selection -- check out the report in PDF (two pages!) at http://www.tccompass.org/_pdfs/tcc_CompassPoints_2008.pdf.
Here's what I find so intriguing about the report. One of the challenges we have is how to convey a lot of information quickly and clearly so that it captures the imagination and informs the public. Here they have nine elements defining progress for the region:
- civic engagement;
- early childhood;
- economy and workforce;
- public safety; and
Each section has between two and four indicators. For each indicator, there's an arrow showing the trendline -- better or worse. There's a national comparison (one to three "compass rose" symbols showing better, same, or worse), and columns for Y or N under disparities in income, place, or race. Then there's a column for sources, and on the back a timeline of the activities that got them to this point.
The website is where you can find the actual data and more information on each indicator -- http://www.tccompass.org/.
I love the attention to the disparities -- the devil's in the disaggregations, as we've mentioned before -- and the indicator set seems pretty good. There's an opportunity to use sparklines instead of/along with arrows to show trends, which might be interesting in a future report. And the compass symbols are more distracting than information -- I had to keep going back to the legend to figure out what they meant, and since it's printing in color the red-yellow-green color scheme might have worked better. And I wish there were not so many N/A's on the page -- even blank spots would have been preferable/less distracting.
But that's nit-picking. Overall, a really nice effort, especially in putting together a companion printed overview piece with a more in-depth interactive website effort. And with plenty of community engagement. Well done!