WSB & Associates' New Approach to Data
WSB & Associates Reaches Beyond Census Data Using New Data Tool
Every ten years, the planning and regional development agencies in the Twin Cities metropolitan region are faced with an exciting challenge: Each of the region’s 180-plus municipalities must update their comprehensive plans.
For WSB & Associates, a firm specializing in engineering, planning, environmental and construction services, this oncoming planning season brings with it the opportunity to work with a variety of communities across the metropolitan area. But when one of WSB's clients needs help gathering data for a unique boundary not available in the census, the company must turn to equally non-traditional means of gathering that data.
Karina Heim, planner at WSB, works in the community planning and economic development sub-department of WSB.
“Data should lead every act that planners do,” Heim said. “It’s critical that we have good data and that we can present it in a way that is comprehensible to different audiences.”
Gather lists of relevant data for any community
Compare one location to another location
Compare past data to current data
See how a location has changed or is projected to change over time
Share insights through reports, charts, and interactive maps
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“I would be spending more time on the census website, and it would be complicated by the fact that the geographic area was sort of a non-traditional one, certainly not one that the census has summary statistics for,” Heim said. “I’d be pulling the data by census tract and then filtering out the different census tracts I needed, or something more laborious. I could be using GIS, but if I were to do the whole thing in GIS, it would be a lot more clipping and cutting the data down, and this was much quicker.”
>>To learn more about how WSB is using data in their work, read the full story here.
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