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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the Central Massachusetts Indicators Project and Central Massachusetts DataCommon
Central Massachusetts DataCommon will provide the data and information on a wide range of topics needed to establish regional priorities and measure change. The Central Massachusetts Indicators Project is the application of that data to the creation of a snapshot of the region and the establishment of baseline indicators. DataCommon facilitates the trending of those indicators over time, measuring change and providing a data-driven tool for monitoring milestones and making projections.
How will Central Massachusetts DataCommon differ from other regional and local data assessment and indicator projects?
Data Common is alive and interactive. It is comprehensive, on-line, and accessible and its data in raw form is available to all individuals, organizations and agencies that want to use it for their own evaluation and planning processes and to create their own datasets.
Who will use Central Massachusetts DataCommon?
DataCommon is a useful tool for non-profits, policy makers, planners, community organizations, journalists, colleges and universities and institutions or individuals interested in data and outcomes. Not only will DataCommon provide real-time data and “visualizations” on trends and change, its data can be applied to the construction of data sets tailored to defined neighborhoods, programs or needs.
What is “data visualization?”
One of the unique properties of Central Massachusetts DataCommon is that it will provide data in a visual format, creating charts, maps and graphs to compare data and trend it over time. The objective is to enable visualization of any available data by anyone for any purpose.
Where will you get your data?
Central Massachusetts DataCommon will be populated by data from federal, state and local governmental and non-governmental sources. Datasets will be updated when new information becomes available.
How will the Central Massachusetts Indicators Project and DataCommon be sustained?
The Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission which is spearheading the initiative has the mandate and capacity to manage the project. To prevent redundancy, it will work with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council which has created the system for its own region and has the software, licensing and existing data to get Central Massachusetts DataCommon up and running. The program will be sustained by partners and affiliates who contract with CMRPC for data analysis to support programmatic or policy decisions.
How will organizations learn to use the information to create their own data sets?
CMRPC will sponsor an annual data day for any institution, organization or agency interesting in using the data to create their own data sets or visualizations. It will also hold trainings for non-profits organizations and agencies by request.