January 25, 2017 – Lisa Miller, Data/GIS Director, reported that since its launch in 2010, the web-based data portal for our region, www.GreaterQCRegion.org, has housed data for the five-county region, Illinois and Iowa, and the U.S. Users can select an area and get a quick report with key indicators or dig deeper into the data and get detailed reports or time series for these data.
While the website is a great resource, it needs an overhaul as its underlying technology is becoming obsolete. Being mobile-responsive is critical these days, and the current website does not support this. In addition, it’s very laborious to keep the data up-to-date.
Staff will work with Far Reach Technologies, Inc. to upgrade the technology to a modern platform and implement tools that allow the data to be updated automatically. The data reports on the website will be redesigned to make them more graphical with data visualizations. The site will get a new look, and data will be expanded on the site, if funding allows. Staff has been working with major consumers of data in the region for input into the project.
In regard to other data tools, staff recently replaced Emsi Analyst with Chmura JobsEQ, which provides many of the same features at an approximate annual savings of $4,000. With JobsEQ, staff are able to provide demographic and economic overview reports and also model economic impact on an area with the potential gain or loss of jobs. Modeling is based on the number of jobs in an industry(ies) and is done at county-level, showing the impact in direct, indirect, and induced jobs and sales in that industry(ies). In addition, forecasts and trends are available on many factors, including employment, wages, occupations, industries, industry clusters, and location quotient.
Infogroup ReferenceUSA Gov is a web-based database with a listing of over 24 million businesses, which staff use to generate top employer lists for various communities and the region, or to query employers by company name, business size, type, sales volume, year established, etc.
With Esri Community Analyst, staff have access to thousands of data variables and can visualize them on a map, generate many quick reports on these data, or get market information around a location. The Marketplace Profile is a useful report that shows gaps in the supply and demand for various retail industries in a community or region.