When you're planning a trip, you get out a map. The same kind of tool is needed when trying to solve tough public problems. Compass is a tool is designed to give communities facts that matter in their planning and decision-making process. The data available through Compass can help a community gain a more in-depth understanding of an issue and lead to an improved quality of life.
Minnesota Compass is a social indicators project that measures progress in the seven regions, 87 counties and larger cities that make up Minnesota. Compass tracks trends in topic areas such as education, economy and workforce, health, housing, public safety, and a host of others. Compass provides everyone in Minnesota – policymakers, business and community leaders, and concerned individuals who live and work here – with a common foundation to identify, understand and act on community issues that affect communities. Originally a tool that provided data only about the Twin Cities metro area, in 2010 the Foundation supported the expansion of Compass to cover the state.
North Dakota Compass did its soft launch in February 2013, with continual updates as new data and resources become available. The site will also add new topics and indicators over time to reflect the shifting demands for data and information based on feedback from key stakeholders and data experts who serve on various technical or advisory committees for ND Compass. Site users can use a feedback tool built into the website in an attempt to solicit feedback and suggestions to ensure the site is relevant and timely. ND Compass was developed by North Dakota State University, partnering with the St. Paul, MN-based Wilder Foundation (which developed Minnesota Compass) to gather the data and make it accessible.
In South Dakota, a partnership of the Black Hills Community Foundation and public libraries is working with South Dakota State University to expand the scope of the Black Hills Knowledge Network to provide local data for South Dakota communities.
Like books, magazines and other library materials, the sources and information collected by the Black Hills Knowledge Network reflect a wide variety of points of view and perspectives. The site's primary goal is to locate and make accessible, credible and authoritative information that is useful and interesting to the people of the Black Hills region.