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Tools for Mapping and Data Sources

An asset map offers visual representation of resources in relation to one another and is a step beyond an environmental scan, which typically gathers written information to identify opportunities and threats. Viewing data on a map rather than on a list or in a table format makes it easier to understand, interpret, and communicate.

The key mapping tool is Geographic Information Systems (GIS), a system designed to capture and present all types of geographical data.  GIS adds geospatial data to the mix and allows for visual representation of the assets that exist. Spatial data refers to a point or place on the earth. For example, school districts have geographic boundaries, as do community-based organizations and other institutions. And populations that are seen as potentially benefiting from comprehensive social and emotional development initiatives can also be spatially plotted on a map.

Both assets and population data about youth as they achieve milestones can be plotted on a GIS map.

Examples of data about assets you are likely to be able to represent on a map include:

  • Overall geographic area
  • Location of schools
  • Target population of resources
  • Amount of money being spent
  • Possibly, the length of time a program has been in operation
  • Some impact data, if germane

In addition, you might collect some basic population data about general/aggregated student characteristics that can be presented as baseline with the map, for example:

  • Where students reside or go to school,
  • Graduation rates
  • Trends in student suspensions and expulsions
  • Health disparities if they exist

Data sources for indicators of individual and environmental health by state, county, or zip code:

The Children’s Health and Education Mapping Tool (School-Based Health Alliance)

National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership









Free, Open-source GIS:







Updated June 2018

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