Redlands, US: Esri launched public trial for its Web-based Community Analyst, which provides information to cities and organisations. The programme incorporates demographic, health, economic, education, and business data, reports and online maps so agencies, charities and policymakers can use it to understand an area and how best to serve it, according to Esri.
“It allows people to understand data better through maps,” said Community Analyst consultant Doug Mende, Director – GIS business development for Statistical Research, Inc., in Redlands. Mende added that the programme is similar to Business Analyst, which corporations have used to determine where to open new businesses.
According to Brenda Wolfe, product manager for Community Analyst, there are three goals of the programme: help an entity decide where to allocate resources, explaining that decision and informing the community about it. “In government, we have really scarce resources, so where should we put them to be most efficient?” she said.
Resources can be money, like awarding grants, personnel, she said. Once the data is used to determine where they are going, it can then be used to explain why, she said.
About Community Analyst, Esri president Jack Dangermond stated, “Knowing the best ways to distribute critical resources will transform communities.”
“We see the audience for this really being anyone who wants to learn about problems, solve problems or just exploring,” said Wolfe. Esri did 10 round of usability tests to make sure the product was easy for non-GIS users to use, she said. Community Analyst uses data gathered by an Esri team, information from agencies such as the US Census Bureau and information contributed by the public through avenues like Esri’s Web portals, Wolfe continued.
People can use colour-coded maps, search ZIP codes, receive summaries and choose criteria through a “smart map search,” Wolfe added.
Source: Redlands Daily Facts