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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Interactive map shows university impact on Arizona

The UA Impact Map shows the importance of the UA for the state of Arizona, illustrating an impact that extends further than the perimeters of campus and Tucson.

The map is intended to be as user friendly and interactive as possible.

When talking about the decision to create the map in this manner, Barrett Baffert, the UA director of digital marketing, said the process was about “taking this robust set of data and identifying bite size points that the user could take in.”

The map points are separated into six categories, including learning centers and public attractions. 

Two of the categories, Agricultural Research Center and Cooperative Extension, are run through the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Shane Burgess, the dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, stressed the map’s importance.
“It really makes the university more accessible to the people of Arizona,” Burgess said.

CALS has three large agricultural centers in Arizona; Maricopa’s is one of the largest in the country.
“[In] all of Arizona, the very few acres that we have in the center of Tucson is a tiny minority of the actual footprint that we … have in the entire state,” Burgess said.

Cooperative Extension is another part of CALS that is highlighted on the map.

“[Cooperative] Extension was 100 years old last year,” Burgess said, “and it’s all about extending the university into the state. We have offices in all 15 counties.”

According to Burgess, Cooperative Extension has two main purposes: to share knowledge gained from UA research with stakeholders in order to create jobs and to extend the UA through teaching and educating people that do not currently attend the UA.

Burgess said that everything the UA does is somehow connected to the economic status of the state of Arizona in some way. He added that this is part of being a land-grant university.

“Many people will be surprised about what’s in their backyards and how the [UA] can help them,” Burgess said.

The impact of the UA is prominent all over Arizona, and Arizonans may not realize it’s full extent.

“I think it’s great,” said Erika Ackerman, a UA freshman. “The UA educates students from all over Arizona that will fill Arizona jobs, so it is good for the economy.”

The Impact Map plays a key role in educating the public about the UA, and will continue to evolve as its user base grows.

“The representation of the data could change as we realize more the story that we are trying to tell,” Baffert said. “This is our best first step in showing the broad impact that the university has on the state.”


Follow Tirion Rose Morris on Twitter.

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