Economic development investments made by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation are now open for public view through an interactive online map launched Oct. 1 by the organization. The economic impact map was developed through a partnership with the UW-Whitewater and UW-Madison.
The impact map located on WEDC’s website (http://inwisconsin.com/inside-wedc/impact/) shows all of the individual investments WEDC has made since July 2011. Users are able to examine key performance indicators such as award amounts and projected jobs. The map allows users to view summaries for regions such as state Senate and Assembly districts. The tool also generates maps and summary reports.
“The impact map is a new tool for the public to see where WEDC’s economic and community development projects are, and get detailed information on individual awards and the expected outcomes,” said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “This project demonstrates WEDC’s transparency and accountability by showing where we are making investments, with whom and what the expected and actual outcomes are.”
The impact map is a project in partnership with Pangea Studios at UW-Whitewater and the State Cartographer’s Office and Cartography Lab at UW-Madison. UW-Whitewater students with Pangea provided map coding and database development, while UW-Madison students with the State Cartographer’s Office and Cartography Lab provided input on the design and functionality of the map.
“WEDC’s partnership with Pangea Studios and the State Cartographer’s Office and Cartography Lab allows us to tap into a talented pool of Wisconsin students and leverage state resources in an effective and affordable manner,” Hall said. “Their specialization in developing visualization tools of qualitative economic development data helps WEDC demonstrate the impact of our investments to the public.”
“We have students on the cutting edge of what cartographers are doing, with the skills and resources to develop an impact map like this,” said Eric Compas, Director of Pangea Studies in the Department of Geography and Geology at UW-Whitewater. “We’re excited about this impact map, because this is our first statewide project.”
Compas, Howard Veregin, State Cartographer with the State Cartographer’s Office, and Tanya Buckingham, Assistant Director of the Cartography Lab, were part of an economic development workgroup promoting this kind of integrated mapping system to state agencies. WEDC was part of this workgroup and contracted with Pangea to lead to development of WEDC’s economic impact map.
“What’s interesting about this project is how the data and mapping are being used,” said Veregin. “We’ve done similar maps before, but WEDC’s use of mapping to promote transparency of its investments sets this project apart.”
“This project was a unique environment because of the collaboration of students within UW-Madison and with UW-Whitewater,” said Buckingham. “It was really beneficial to students because it was a training ground to put their classroom work into action.”
In addition to the impact map, WEDC will publish an Annual Report on Economic Development and a corresponding searchable database of investment projects conducted by WEDC and other state agency economic development projects. The database will allow a user to search by agency, year, recipient, municipality, county, program, amount of award and industry. Each award entry will also include projected