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Using your organization's custom GIS Layers as part of the Equity Mapping toolkit
Using your organization's custom GIS Layers as part of the Equity Mapping toolkit
Jay Dawkins avatar
Written by Jay Dawkins
Updated over a week ago


Equity mapping has become an essential tool for government organizations seeking to improve community engagement and ensure that all residents have a voice in the decision-making process. PublicInput's Equity Mapping toolkit is designed to help you identify underrepresented or disadvantaged groups, tailor engagement approaches, and demonstrate representative engagement to defend your decisions.

One of the key features of this toolkit is the ability to import custom GIS layers from your organization's mapping software, such as ESRI's ArcGIS Online or on-premise GIS software tools. In this article, we'll walk you through the process of using your organization's custom GIS layers as part of the PublicInput's Equity Mapping toolkit.

Step 1: Selecting the Right GIS Layers

While there is no limit to the number of files supported by the system, it's essential to choose GIS layers that offer value in understanding the geography of the communities your organization serves.

Opt for layers that are accessible to engagement practitioners and do not require a technical GIS background to understand. Shape-oriented layers with integrated data attributes and coloring are ideal for this purpose.

Step 2: Preparing Your GIS Layers for Import

Before importing your GIS layers, you'll need to ensure that they are in a compatible format. PublicInput supports the import of GIS layers from ESRI's ArcGIS Online software or from on-premise GIS software tools that leverage a common file format, such as a Shapefile.

ArcGIS Online

If you have an ArcGIS Online account, you should provide a listing of layers you would like to import, with one column being a link to the ArcGIS online feature layer and the other being the preferred system name of the feature layer. If left blank, PublicInput will retrieve the name of the layer from the feature layer's native name.

*Note, your layers should be published in such a way that our servers can retrieve the layer. How to publish your feature layer as a hosted feature service.

On Premise GIS Data

For customers with on-premise GIS solutions, you should provide a zip file or secure online folder with access to the files you would like to input. Grant read access to or the email address of your designated account manager. If needed, we can create a secure file folder - let us know!

Once the files have been uploaded, notify your account manager via email or at to initiate a new ticket for importing these files. The process typically takes 5-10 business days to complete.

Step 3: Analyzing Data with the Equity Mapping toolkit

Once your custom GIS layers have been imported into the PublicInput system, you can use the Equity Mapping toolkit to analyze data and identify trends in equitable engagement. Look for your layers in the "My Map Layers" section of the Equity Mapping interface.

By examining participation in projects, meetings, and communications over time, you can find answers to questions such as:

- Who are we not hearing from?

- What parts of our community are most actively engaged?

- Are we hearing from people most affected by our projects?

Equity mapping allows you to dive deeper into your data, helping you build trust between governments and communities while ensuring that all voices are heard.


Incorporating your organization's custom GIS layers into PublicInput's Equity Mapping toolkit is a powerful way to enhance your community engagement efforts. By using the right layers and analyzing your data, you can ensure that your engagement strategies are equitable, inclusive, and effective.

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