As the name suggests, this phase includes the identification and cataloging of all major assets relevant to regional development. Developing this list is similar to completing a product inventory in the business world. The region needs to know what it has to work with, supplement, and “sell.” At the end of this level of work, a region will have a list of the assets within its geographical borders, along with identifying information about each asset.
The compilation of the asset inventory should be accomplished by:
Reviewing previous regional economic reports and profiles
Scanning the Internet and other information sources for current information
Obtaining input from local leaders of relevant public, private, academic and non-profit entities
The asset mapping team should review economic studies and reports of the region from the previous five to seven years. This level of review will allow the mapping team to capture a historical perspective on asset inventories and avoid duplicative efforts. Relevant data from the previous reports and current data sources should be entered into a mapping matrix or database. Once the initial inventory is drafted, it should be circulated among a limited group of stakeholders for review, refinement and additional input.
It is possible to take the inventory to a more sophisticated level by employing GIS software to map the physical locations of assets. As discussed earlier, a spatial perspective on the region can be valuable in driving thinking about ways to link different entities. Further, even at this basic level, the mapping data will support comparisons over time to track improvement or decline.
NEXT: Go to Mapping Level 2: Basic Evaluation