High Performance Interactive Web Data Visualization
At The Urban Explorer, Inc., our calling is to make government successful by providing a new view of economic, business and workforce data for government agencies. Through our EconoVue™ platform we provide governments information, insight and intelligence that enables them to operate better, smarter, faster and more effectively for the citizens they serve. Better access to better data means better government, and better government means better communities.
The Urban Explorer, Inc has developed high performance, award-winning web GIS interactive data visualization tools for government since 1999. Blending data, geo-intel and technology, our patented EconoVue™ platform delivers information, intelligence and insight to government agencies in Economic Development, Workforce Development, City Planning, Disaster Resilience and Transportation Planning.
Why We Do What We Do
The millions of businesses that comprise the U.S. economy and workforce are constantly in motion, and those business dynamics impact public policy, operations, planning and effectiveness. Which business sectors are growing fastest and which are facing challenges? What industries, specialized in your region, have expanded or contracted in the past 12 months? Do you know what occupations are tied to those sectors? Which businesses are driving growth and who may be on the verge of layoffs or closure? If you knew all of those things, would you know who to contact within those companies?
Over twenty years ago, our customers kept asking us these same questions over and over again with one common theme: "Help us analyze today and help us predict tomorrow." We found ourselves replicating the same steps in the regional economic analysis studies we got hired to produce. Rather than reinvent the wheel every time, we simply decided to invent it just once and automate the process via a platform. We called it EconoVue™. This is our story.
Our Story: A Nimble Approach and Agile Design Philosophy
The Urban Explorer, Inc. is a woman-owned business based in Arlington, VA and founded in San Francisco, CA in 1999. Originally a boutique consulting firm, it was formed in response to persistent market demand for its unique custom-built interactive web Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools, for economic development, land use planning and urban design. The early audiences for Urban Explorer's web interfaces included the public sector, small businesses (SMBs), real estate developers/brokers and multi-disciplinary "expert" project-based city planning teams.
Urban Explorer's agile approach to system development is highly collaborative with the "end-user." Accordingly, in the mid-2000's we formed a partnership with one of our customers, work2future, a Workforce Development Board in Silicon Valley. After launching our tool for that Workforce Board, other Workforce Boards saw it and "wanted one too." This tool, our original "GeoMapper" featured interactive data visualization, time series data, regional mapping and CRM tools for Rapid Response and Proactive business engagement, built on a foundation of the most comprehensive database of business and employer data available.
To meet the increased demand from other Workforce Boards, we created our subscription-based system and expanded access to other Workforce Boards. This access expansion coincided with the Great Recession and the associated surge in layoffs and business closures placed unprecedented demands on Workforce Boards to be not only responsive, but to be innovative and proactive in their employer engagement activities. Our new platform, renamed EconoVue™, was an early version of the present incarnation.
Given that the EconoVue™ platform featured the Dun & Bradstreet business database, a partnership soon formed between Urban Explorer and Dun & Bradstreet to expand its reach nationwide. Working closely with the D&B Government Solutions team, The Urban Explorer continues to provide an unmatched blend of deep business, employment and industry data in an agile, data analysis and visualization platform to Workforce Boards and Economic Development agencies of all sizes.
In 2018, California experienced its most destructive wildfires to date. Workforce Boards needed dynamic data to assess fire impact on business and workforce on a daily basis, and Urban Explorer again employed our agile approach to system development, creating EconoVue™ modules specifically for "Disaster Resilience."
We continue to work innovatively with our partners and customers to expand EconoVue™ to meet new needs, including Economic Development and Business Attraction, Transportation Planning and Custom Analysis. The multi-scale-vue and modular design of the EconoVue™ platform makes it especially well-suited for the needs of many markets/channels which have decision-making needs related to economic and real estate information. And, if it's not obvious by now, we simply can't help ourselves!
Cheryl Parker, Founder and CEO
Cheryl Parker is a pioneer in web GIS and has been internationally recognized for bringing a unique perspective to the design and development of web GIS interfaces, spanning the decision-making needs of many disciplines involved in growth and development of cities. Ms. Parker's interactive GIS web work has received awards from the International Economic Development Council, American Economic Development Council, American Institute of Architects and the Governments Technology Conference.
Ms. Parker holds multiple patents for web GIS, Interactive Data Visualization and targeted business outreach. Urban Explorer's EconoVue™ (www.econovue.com) platform for economic and workforce development embodies this technology.
Prior to establishing Urban Explorer in 1999, Ms. Parker worked in the architecture and city planning fields, practicing physical design (spanning interior design to urban design), land use planning and economic development. While working as a staff designer/planner, she also began designing map-based User Interfaces and databases for city planning and economic development. Upon seeing these web GIS tools at community meetings, several municipalities approached Ms. Parker to develop custom-made interfaces, and she founded Urban Explorer soon thereafter to meet the demand.
Her background of user-centric design, emphasis on data visualization and visual communication, and experience in city planning and economic development now informs her work as a web-based GUI systems designer of data visualization decision-making tools for economic development, city planning and small business.
Ms. Parker has authored articles about web GIS tools for city planning and economic development and has been invited to present her work across 3 continents as well as at Google Headquarters.
Deanna Walter, Communications
Deanna Walter translates complex ideas and processes into accessible, customer-friendly content. Her 20+ years of Marketing and Communications experience comes from small, start-up teams to large, global marketing departments and everything in between.
On behalf of The Urban Explorer, Deanna manages the overall communications and outreach strategy for user and customer groups throughout the United States. With a special focus on EconoVue™ product offerings, she writes, designs and delivers timely and informative customer-facing communication pieces. After successfully launching the online EconoVue™ Help Center, Deanna continues to expand the knowledge base with useful content including best practice guides, step-by-step illustrated tutorials, training resources and more.
Leanne Gibson Manzo, Training
Leanne Gibson Manzo is the Training Lead for the EconoVue™ platform. She provides both large group and individual trainings and has worked across internal and external teams to create training courses and documentation to help end users quickly learn to navigate the various apps and capabilities within EconoVue™.
With a diverse background which has included change management, training, project management, team building, and counseling, Leanne has been instrumental in helping to translate the technical capabilities of EconoVue™ into simple concepts to help clients understand how to use the platform. Leanne has spent over 20 years working across various industries, from marketing to high tech to small start-ups. While at Hewlett Packard, she was responsible for rolling out the Salesforce.com platform to her group’s worldwide sales team, creating the training and reporting across regions. She also has been the change management advisor on multiple projects, from large scale mergers to small team reorganization efforts. Across the board, she has found the favorite aspect of her work has always been engaging with teams and customers, hearing and learning from user stories and best practices.
Bruce Yelaska, Yelaska Design, Graphic Design and Branding
Bruce Yelaska of Yelaska Design does all of the branding and look/feel for Urban Explorer's websites, products and marketing collateral. Bruce received his degree in Graphic and Industrial Design from the University of Illinois at Chicago. After working at several design firms in Chicago and San Francisco he established Bruce Yelaska Design in 1984. Work for his wide range of clients includes logo design and branding, print, packaging, signage, environments, advertising and web sites. His award winning work has been shown in various publications. As an instructor at the University of California at Berkeley Extension he has conducted symposiums with Paul Rand, Saul Bass and George Nelson.
Current Data Partners
Our mission is to provide the best and most complete database of business and market information to our clients, in an intuitive visual platform. We want our customers spending their time on insight, not on navigation. As a data-agnostic information platform, EconoVue™ is especially well-suited as a distribution vehicle for of economic, real estate, business, occupational data sets and more. Accordingly, we want to partner with data providers whenever possible.
To that end, we have a business partnership with Dun & Bradstreet's State and Local Government Sales team. We also include data sets from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (BLS), CareerOneStop.org and Indeed.com.
Expand Your Client Reach as Our Data Partner
If you are a data provider and are looking to expand your market into government, please contact us about partnering.
Please Contact Us Today
The Urban Explorer, Inc.
4250 Fairfax Drive, Ste 600
Arlington, VA 22203
Email: [email protected]
Designed for and with workforce/economic development practitioners, EconoVue™ is the most intuitive data visualization and business outreach platform for dissecting and understanding the economy at the neighborhood, city, regional and national levels. It combines GIS, visualization tools for regional industry sector trend analysis, business research tools, CRM employer outreach components and a layoff aversion module featuring filters for finding companies by financial health. EconoVue™ features 4 integrated apps enabling user to expand and contract their research lens: RegionVue™, LocalVue™, ProspectVue™ and OverVue™.
RegionVue™: Visualize regional industry trends
LocalVue™: Interactive business trend mapping
ProspectVue™: Research tools for local employer outreach
OverVue™: Regional dashboard of sector financial health
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