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Extension and Outreach offers one-stop Iowa data resource center

pdf fileAgDM Newsletter
February 2016

Sifting through numerous websites and an immense amount of data to find local information has been a challenge for Iowans. Now, thanks to a new Iowa State University Extension and Outreach data center, anyone with access to the Internet can find, use and visualize information about Iowa with ease.

The ISU Extension and Outreach data center is currently up and running in beta version at http://indicators.extension.iastate.edu. It contains U.S. Census Bureau Data - 2010 Decennial Census Data and 2010-2014 American Community Survey Data - and has access to Iowa City Government Finance Data. When the agencies release new information, it will be automatically updated on the new Iowa State site.

This one-stop shop for descriptive Iowa data organizes information into the categories of housing; population and demographics; households, families, and youth; education; income and poverty; and workforce. Users can view content, test user interfaces and provide comments and recommendations. The site provides easy-to-follow instructions for creating a free account and using the data center.
In addition, anyone with an account can create four types of custom maps -by state, Iowa county, Iowa zip code, and ISU Extension and Outreach region - using his or her own data and an Excel spreadsheet template provided on the site. Users will find features and tools being added or updated frequently during development. The project is funded by the Office of the Vice President for Extension and Outreach.

"The data center provides one-stop access to reliable, current data about the people of Iowa," said Cathann Kress, Iowa State University vice president for extension and outreach.

"We’re positioning our faculty and staff to be the experts on all things Iowa and a better resource for local decision makers. With our people on campus and in every Iowa county responsible for providing education to solve today’s problems and prepare Iowans for the future - having consistently easy access to the most current data is important."

Data for Decision Makers Reports with specific county, legislative district or extension region data are available from the data center. They contain information on population, demographics and socioeconomic data. Decision makers can generate reports on demand that feature the most current data available for their county.

The data center also supports the Iowa Government Finance Initiative, a program created to help city and county governments more easily access analyses of their financial situation. This program is designed to provide local governments with a wide range of products using local finance, economic and demographic data for the previous five years.

The 2015 Annual Fiscal Reports for all 947 Iowa communities are available from the IGFI website. Project faculty and staff are in the process of creating reports for the county level.

The data center is located at http://indicators.extension.iastate.edu. Users are encouraged to send feedback, data requests and error reports to http://indicators.extension.iastate.edu/data-and-feature-request-poll. Keep up to date on new project features by following the twitter account @ISUExtensionIP or clicking on the "Subscribe to our newsletter" link on the site homepage.

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Sandra Oberbroeckling, Community Relations Specialist, 515-294-3721, soberbr@iastate.edu