How an Equity Atlas is Different than Other Mapping or Indicator Projects

Equity atlases, opportunity maps, and indicator projects offer unique and complementary contributions to our ability to understand and track community conditions. The following chart provides an overview of these three approaches.

  Equity Atlases Opportunity Maps Indicator Projects

What it is

Equity atlases provide an analytical tool for analyzing how well different neighborhoods and populations are able to access key resources and opportunities. Opportunity maps identify where the high and low opportunity neighborhoods are located within a metropolitan area and how this relates to demographic patterns.  Indicator projects track summary level data over time to measure progress toward community-wide benchmarks.


Identify disparities, analyze the relationships between demographic patterns and access to resources and opportunities, identify the places where targeted investments or policy changes will have the greatest impact. Identify where opportunity-rich communities exist, assess who has access to these communities, and identify what needs to be remedied in opportunity-poor communities. Establish and track key benchmarks that show where the region is successful and where it is lagging behind to encourage coordinated action for better results.


A wide range of indicators are mapped at a high level of spatial resolution (usually point, block, neighborhood or census tract). A discrete number of priority indicators are mapped by census tract and rolled up into a summary score that measures the level of opportunity in each census tract. A discrete number of priority indicators are tracked using summary level data (usually at a county level) and displayed via charts, graphs, and tables.


Regional Equity Atlas 2.0                        

Kirwan Institute

Greater Portland Pulse