How to Create an Equity Atlas

This section of the toolkit provides an overview of how to create an equity atlas, along with helpful tips, sample materials, and links to additional resources. Each chapter focuses on one of the steps in the equity atlas development process.

The first page of each chapter begins with an overview of that step and links to each of the chapter’s topic pages. The topic pages include links to additional resources so you can drill down into more details on the components that are most relevant to your needs.

Chapter 1. Planning Your Equity Atlas                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

This chapter outlines the core components of the equity atlas planning process, highlighting the questions you will need to answer and the issues to consider. Every community is unique, which means that no two equity atlas projects will be exactly alike. How you approach the planning process and the sequencing of the different steps will vary depending on your  community, your starting point, and the scope of your project.

Chapter 2. Building a Project Team

Few organizations will have the full range of capacities, resources, and expertise needed to implement an equity atlas project on their own. Consequently, most equity atlas projects are led by a team of partners with complementary roles. This chapter provides guidelines and suggestions for building the equity atlas project team.

Chapter 3. Engaging Stakeholders

Equity atlas projects should reflect the vision and priorities of a broad range of stakeholders. This chapter provides tips for creating a robust stakeholder engagement process to gather input on project priorities and build a broad sense of ownership over the project. 

Chapter 4. Selecting Indicators

The selection of indicators is a critical part of the equity atlas development process. The indicators you choose will shape how your equity atlas is used by stakeholders, the stories it tells about your community, and its impact on policy and planning. This chapter provides guidelines and suggestions for how to approach the indicator selection process.

Chapter 5. Creating the Maps

The equity atlas maps should effectively convey complex information using clear, easy-to-understand images that support your project’s communications and policy goals. This chapter reviews key decisions you will need to make about the format, content, and design of your maps and provides an overview of the steps involved in creating the maps.

Chapter 6. Developing an Interpretive Website 

The interpretive website provides an overarching communications platform for the equity atlas maps and the project as a whole. The website can be used to set forth a conceptual framework for the project, share analysis of the equity atlas maps and data, offer policy recommendations, and provide background information. It can also be used to share other information relevant to the project, such as supplemental data, white papers, stories, and how-to information. This chapter reviews the options for how to approach and structure the interpretive website.

Chapter 7. Outreach and Education

If you want your equity atlas to impact decision-making, you must work proactively to introduce the project to stakeholders and support them in using the equity atlas maps and data to inform their work. This chapter outlines the components of this important outreach and education process and offers tips and sample materials.