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Online Resources

The Vitality Index’s metrics are available in their entirety on this site, allowing the public to interface with the region’s data in an interactive way, including a mobile-friendly map application. In addition to the website, a booklet version of the Index is available for download as either an interactive PDF or in ready-to-print book form. It is formatted to dynamically display on a variety of devices, including smartphones and tablets.

The Downloads section features pamphlets that show how the Vitality Index can be used to illustrate meaningful relationships among the natural, human, built, and economic aspects of the Western North Carolina community. Other promotional materials such as information sheets and posters are available.

Additionally, supporting data used to create all content for the Vitality Index is accessible by download to the community, to encourage further collaboration.

Interactive Map Tool

The Vitality Index also includes a geographic information systems (GIS) map viewer that allows users to interact with the datasets featured within the Index. GIS allows layers of data to be placed over a map of the region to create a visualization that can be used to investigate the relationships between the diverse elements that make up Western North Carolina.

The GIS viewer can be accessed from anywhere in the Vitality Index by clicking on “GIS Viewer” in the black navigation toolbar at the top of each page.

How to Use the GIS Viewer

Once the viewer loads in your web browser, the 27 counties of the the MRC region are displayed along with their major roads and highways. To change the basemap, click the drop-down box in the toolbar at the top, and select your preferred basemap.


The top toolbar is home to the hand and magnifying glass icons  , which allow you to pan around the map by clicking and dragging, or to zoom by drawing a box around your area of focus. You can zoom and pan at controlled increments using the slider and arrows on the left side of the screen. You can also type the name of an area into the “Find Area” search box to have the viewer automatically locate it. To return to a view of the entire 27-county region, click the globe icon .

Exploring Data

The “Map Layers” box contains the data layers used to overlay specific metrics onto the basemaps. The grey tabs represent each of the sectors covered in the Vitality Index, and within each tab are the data layers, categorized by type.

To activate or deactivate a data layer, check the box next to it.

More than one layer can be active at a time, but the other active data layers may appear hidden. The gear icon beside the layer name allows the transparency of each layer to be adjusted so that others can be made visible. To do this, click the gear and move the slider to adjust layer transparency. With this function, the relationships between multiple data layers and the underlying geography can be examined.

The “Map Tools” window contains the legend for active layers, and provides options to share your created map by providing a link that you can copy and paste into your browser.

For additional support, click the question mark icon and follow the on-screen instructions.