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Powerful & Precise Data Visualization
Harvard Business School
Industry: Education

When it comes to economic indicators, nationwide statistics such as the rate of unemployment and Gross Domestic Product fail to give any true insight into the incongruous ways in which regional economies are constantly evolving across the country.

Together, the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School, the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Phase2 teamed up to create an interactive tool that highlights economic growth through regional industry data mapping.

Making Vast And Complex Data Easy To Understand

Taking this vast amount of complex information and presenting it in a way that makes it possible for users to simply and intuitively track down the information they need was imperative. When interacting with the maps, users can create custom economic zones, mix and match various measures of economic development, and explore extensive cluster dashboards by industry. The site also provides additional resources in the form of academic research, tools and technical documents, and reports from numerous organizations and thought leaders.

We set out to create an interactive visual representation of a comprehensive, consistent, and rigorous data set on America’s economic geography at the state, metropolitan, and county level. The site imports raw data from roughly 12 different open sources, including the U.S. Census and Stats America, creating a total of approximately 50 million records. To make the data set penetrable, we created a set of custom dashboards unique in their ability to dynamically generate new sets of data upon request.

Clustermapping.us is a website with the potential to transform the way we interact with economic data in. For policymakers, the information can be used to understand the performance of their region, the critical drivers of wages and growth in jobs in their regional economy and use it to design economic policy that is more in tune with local needs. Economic development professionals and academics can discover which factors make particular regions strong or weak, and the macro effects that are at play. Business owners, for their part, will have a new tool to inform their business decisions and strategy.

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