Each month, we feature a new blog related to SparkMap features, unique data sets, building data interpretation skills, and more! Is there a topic you’d like us to dive into? Feel free to contact us.  

Digging Deeper into the NCCPI 3.0

Shaye Morrison
February 24, 2023
The National Commodity Crop Productivity Index 3.0 is an invaluable tool to evaluate soil productivity. In this blog we discuss background information on the index, reasons to use it, and how to interpret it in our Map Room.

SparkMap’s 2022 in Review

Shaye Morrison
January 6, 2023
2022 was a big year at SparkMap, thanks to you! Internally, we added more members to our team, underwent a full site refresh to unveil in 2023, and developed more multimedia content to enhance your SparkMap experience.   We weren’t the only ones busy on SparkMap this year! In our 2022 Review, we’ll   Highlight the...

Tracking Data Trends Over Time: Enhancing Data Literacy pt. 3

Shaye Morrison
November 10, 2022
Focusing on trends in data over time is interesting and impactful. Understanding which job sectors have grown in the last five years, illuminating areas of increased health disparity, or tracking migration patterns within the country are important for community development, resource allocation, and legislative efforts. While it’s easy to assume data from the same sources...

Will you survive the Zombie Apocalypse?!

Shaye Morrison
October 25, 2022
Can you survive the Zombie Apocalypse? Using the Map Room, chart your route to the nearest hospital, supermarket, drug stores, and warehouse stores to ensure you can get supplies. Find out how!

Where’s the Food? Part 1: Finding and Using Data on Food Retailer Locations

Jordan Rhodes
October 12, 2022
Whether you work in healthcare, community planning, or community improvement programs access to reliable food is a must. In this blog series we highlight different food layers available on SparkMap and how they can be used to benefit your community.

4 Ways to Enhance Your Data Visualizations

Melissa De Bartolomeo
September 26, 2022
In this piece, we consider some of the best practices of data visualization and offer 4 key tips to improve your data viz usage.

Public Education Funding and Student Outcomes

Shaye Morrison
August 30, 2022
The debate around public education funding and student outcomes is longstanding. In this blog, we discuss important background information on where SparkMap's public education revenue and expenditure data comes from, what it covers, how it is linked to student outcomes over time, and how you can use SparkMap to dive into the link between public education expenditures and outcomes in your community.

Enhancing Data Literacy pt. 2: Interpreting Maps

Shaye Morrison
August 11, 2022
Creating lasting change in your community is only possible when you have an accurate understanding of its strengths and needs. In other words, you need community-level data in order to determine outreach needs, pinpoint service areas, and identify areas in which your community already excels. We believe the best way to do this is through...

My World’s on Fire, How ‘Bout Yours?

Shaye Morrison
July 27, 2022
In this blog, we highlight frequently updated wildfire and drought data layers. Whether or not your community is directly impacted by wildfire season or drought, our climate data can help you stay safe and spur positive community resilience.

Enhancing Data Literacy with SparkMap

Shaye Morrison
July 12, 2022
At SparkMap, we’re passionate about impacting communities based on high-quality data. Since you’re here, you probably feel the same way. However, we know that understanding and applying data can be tricky. So, we’re starting a blog series dedicated to the foundations of data literacy. Through this blog series, we hope to empower you by enhancing...

The National Commodity Crop Productivity Index (NCCPI)

Melissa De Bartolomeo
June 22, 2022
The NCCPI is a robust and valuable dataset - learn more about it and how to access it on SparkMap.

W.E.B. Du Bois & Data Visualization History

Jordan Rhodes
June 9, 2022
In this blog we discuss history of data visualization with a particular focus on the fascinating work of W.E.B. Du Bois.

American Community Survey 2016-2020 data has arrived! Here’s what you need to know.

Shaye Morrison
May 26, 2022
We have updated the American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates on SparkMap! Read more about what the ACS is, what exactly has been updated on SparkMap, and how these changes impact you.

The Health, Environmental, and Economic Impacts of Commuting

Justin Krohn
March 11, 2022
Commuting to work has significant impacts on personal health, the environment, and the economy. Learn more with SparkMap data in this blog!

Advancing Demographics: Expanding Race and Ethnicity Measures in the US Census

Shaye Morrison
February 25, 2022
The US Census Bureau has changed demographic questions in response to a changing country. Read more about how these changes reflect increased diversity of Americans, why these modifications matter.

Heart Disease – Designing Community Interventions

Melissa De Bartolomeo
February 14, 2022
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. How can we use maps and data to understand where our most at-risk communities are and what interventions may help?

Building a Multi-Layer Map: Part One

Jamie Kleinsorge
January 25, 2022
In this blog series, “Building a Multi-Layer Map” we will explore answers to core map-making questions, unpack some best practices, and highlight how you can use SparkMap to tell a story, rooted in data, about your community. 

A Year in Review: Looking Back & Gazing Ahead

Shaye Morrison
January 7, 2022
In this blog we take a look back at all that you accomplished in 2021 and preview what's to come in 2022. Thank you for being part of SparkMap. We can't wait to see what you create this year!

Hyperlocal data in the Map Room – looking for Nonprofits near me

Melissa De Bartolomeo
December 9, 2021
Learn how to use the Select Data tool in the Map Room to see data in context of a specific region or distance from a point. In this example, we'll look at the data for 501(c)(3)s and (c)(4)s that are within 1 mile of an address.

Community Assessment 101

Shaye Morrison
November 24, 2021
Our Community Assessment tool provides those in healthcare, non-profit, and local governments with the data they need to make reports highlighting community needs and areas for improvement. Let's create a Community Assessment in 6 easy steps!

Diabetes: Assessing Risk Amidst the Pandemic

Elisa c
November 10, 2021
People with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop serious cases of COVID-19, including hospitalization, than those who don’t have diabetes. But, how can healthcare providers identify those with diabetes and determine strategies to support them? SparkMap can help!

Map Room 101

Shaye Morrison
October 28, 2021
Use the Map Room to tell the story of your community in a compelling and visually interesting way. Learn how to add data to a map and explore some basic ways to understand that data.

Selecting Data for a CHNA: Five Best Practices

Jamie Kleinsorge
October 7, 2021
Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs) have evolved in many ways over the last ten years. We're excited to share 5 best practices we’ve learned for selecting CHNA data.

Choosing the Right SparkMap Product for You

Shaye Morrison
September 28, 2021
What brought you to SparkMap? Was it our mission to bring you all the data you need, ready to go, all in one place? Was it the 279 indicators you can use to create Community Assessments? Or, perhaps you were interested in using our Map Room to tell the story of your community through some...

New Census 2020 Redistricting Data Available!

Justin Krohn
September 1, 2021
On August 12, the U.S. Census Bureau released the most comprehensive set of data yet from the 2020 census. Demographic data was released at the “census block” level, which is the smallest unit of geography the census defines for public use (see below resource for more information) .

COVID-19 in Your Community: Get the Latest Data

Melissa De Bartolomeo
August 19, 2021
As we witness COVID-19 variants sweep through the country, we recognize that data for decision-making is more important now than ever. Learn more about what's happening in your world with data around COVID-19 Vulnerability, Vaccinations, and Hospitalizations.

FEMA National Risk Index

Melissa De Bartolomeo
July 28, 2021
What are the riskiest disasters that communities should be prepared for and where should resources be allocated? The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released a new index - the National Risk Index - to help communities mitigate disasters with more specificity.

U.S. Drought Monitor (or, It’s a Dry Heat)

Melissa De Bartolomeo
June 28, 2021
One of our frequently updated datasets, Drought Intensity from the U.S. Drought Monitor, is unfortunately coming into greater use as drought conditions intensify across the United States. Learn more about the dataset and it's uses.

Environmental Data and Park Access

Melissa De Bartolomeo
June 10, 2021
Research, and personal experience for many, has shown the positive relationship between time outdoors and our physical and mental health. Learn how to use the Map Room to access environmental data and make the case for parks in your community.

Understanding Access to Mental Health Resources

Elisa c
June 1, 2021
In order to maintain positive, long-term mental health outcomes in communities around the nation, organizations and governments need access to up-to-date, reliable, and accurate data to effectively allocate resources, programs, and training opportunities for those who need it most. Read this blog to learn how to use SparkMap tools and resources to build a case for funding.

The American Rescue Plan Act

mel debartolomeo
April 29, 2021
With a relatively sudden influx of federal dollars for communities to allocate, it will be crucial for decision makers to use relevant and reliable data to make informed decisions. SparkMap’s data and analysis platform is a crucial resource for helping local governments identify the needs of their communities.

ZIP Code Data Now Available in the SparkMap Assessment

Melissa De Bartolomeo
April 27, 2021
For the first time ever, SparkMap is offering ZIP code breakouts for nearly 100 of our indicators. Get data for every ZIP code in your assessment area - view alongside our dynamic data visualizations or download for offline use.

Explore the intersection of poverty and education: SparkMap’s Vulnerable Populations Footprint Tool

Melissa De Bartolomeo
April 8, 2021
Identify Vulnerable Populations with the SparkMap VPF Tool and help change health outcomes in the communities you care about.

COVID-19 Spread and Long-Term Consequences

Elisa c
March 18, 2021
COVID-19 has severely affected the economy, health, and mental well-being of every community around the United States. SparkMap provides real-time data sharing, analysis, and visualization—key strategies for an equitable and speedy recovery. This blog shows how our map and assessment tools are used to understand COVID-19 cases and its consequences.

To Avoid Gender Bias, We Need Sex-Segregated Data

Melissa De Bartolomeo
February 25, 2021
Are you focused on expanding, understanding, or analyzing women's opportunities in the economic sector, do you want to support the implementation of gender-focus policies in the US or at the local level? Learn about how you can access sex-aggregated data on this week's blog in honor of Women's History Month.

BRFSS Demystified

Melissa De Bartolomeo
February 24, 2021
If you’ve existed in the health space for any period of time, you’ve probably heard of BRFSS data, but what is it, really? Learn more about the importance of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Announcing the SparkMap Blog!

Melissa De Bartolomeo
February 23, 2021
Welcome knowledge-seekers, problem solvers, and changemakers!