Community Assessment Walkthrough

SparkMap uses location-specific data to create maps, assessments, and reports that are used by businesses, nonprofits, governments, health, researchers, and communities to inform and transform their work.

Access 80 core indicators exploring topics in health, economics, environment, education, and demographics. With a subscription, you’ll have access to over 250 indicators – learn more.

★ Useful for all users

View a full walkthrough from scratch

This tutorial will help you master how to create an interactive report for your community. View the video above or follow the tutorial below to learn how to:

  • Select Custom Area – by State and by County
  • Select Indicators
  • View Indicator Information (Data Attributes, Map, Data Source, etc.)
  • Generate an Assessment
  • View Additional Indicators Details (Background and Methodology)
  • Explore Assessment
  • Download Assessment(s) 
  • Check Out Additional Features

Select Custom Area

Under Location, you can choose the desired area either at the County (Figure 1) or State level (Figure 2) and select it from the list below. If you are interested in a particular County (Figure 1), first select the State and the list of counties will populate. Next, click on the bottom right to proceed. 

Figure 1.
Figure 2.

Note: The demonstration is for one County, but you can select more than one with a subscription. Learn more here.

Select Indicators

In Step 2 of the Assessment, you can see all available indicators curated by topic areas. For example, under Demographics (Figure 3) we have “Change in Total Population”, “Population Age 65+”, etc. You can select all Indicators at the top, select an entire category by clicking the checkbox next to the topic area name, or select individual Indicators you are most interested in (Figure 4).

Figure 3.
Figure 4.

View Indicator Information

You can learn more about an indicator data source by clicking on the “i” icon next to the indicator (Figure 5). For example, Data Attributes, Quick View of the Map, Link to Original Data Source, etc.

Figure 5.

Generate an Assessment

Click at the bottom of the Indicators screen to generate an Assessment. Here you can explore the indicators you have selected in context of the location you have selected. Figure 6 shows the first selected indicator “Total Population” and a short paragraph within the context of the selected geography. The same information is reported in a data table. For example, the report location is York County Maine which is compared to the State of Maine and the rest of the United States (Figure 7).

Figure 7. Indicator Description and Table

View Additional Indicator Details

To access the indicator’s background information and methodology click “Show more details” under the data table. Additionally, to explore the indicator within the Map room, you can click “View larger map” (Figure 8).

Explore the Assessment

Scroll down to see the selected indicators within the Assessment. If you want to jump through the indicators easily, click the hamburger menu at the bottom of the page to direct you to a chosen topic or indicator. For example, Figure 9 shows “Children Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch,” – when data is available, indicators will include visualizations such as dials, bar graphs or trends over time. 

Figure 9 – Menu and Additional Visualizations

Download Assessment(s)

You can download the Assessment as a PDF (Microsoft Word and Excel downloads available with a Premium subscription) and will look similar to the Assessment (Figure 10). You can also refine the Assessment with the options available under the “Report Options” dropdown menu. In the example shown in Figure 11, unchecking “Show state data” will hide data for the state of Maine. You can also uncheck population groups and/or map visibility. Finally, you can download “Quick facts” for a one- to two-pager containing a series of data tables for the indicators and “Source and Methodology” to cite the indicator sources. 

Figure 10 – Download as a PDF
Figure 11 – Report Options

Check Out Additional Features

Finally, you can share the report on social media or email and you can print it by clicking the bottom as shown on Figure 12.

Figure 12 – Share or Print

If you need any additional assistance feel free to chat or email us at sparkmap@missouri.edu