Top 10 FAQs about Community Commons

Our team put together a list of the top things we want you know when it comes to using Community Commons.

Data FAQs

1. Is there a complete list of all the data available to map in Community Commons?

Yes! Check out our complete list of mappable layers here and our CHNA data list here.  You can also view our data updates here. Are we missing some data you would like to see? Let us know.

2. How can I find out where a dataset comes from or how recent it is?

Clicking the [Info] button when browsing data layers will open up a window with source and date information for the data you are viewing. See something out of date? Let us know.

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3. When browsing for data layers, what do the colored stars indicate?

The blue stars, shown as a full, half, or an empty, help you identify the validity and accuracy of the data and its collection methodology. Below you can see details of each assurance level.Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 3.21.31 PM

Additionally, you will find metadata and citation information for the data sources themselves within the info area of the maps and in the footnotes of the report pages. This will be important for citations. See FAQ #5 in this list.

See the full list of Data FAQs.

Mapping FAQs

4. How do I view data at a different geography? For example, switch from county-level data to tract-level?

In many cases we offer data at a number of different geographies. If available, you will see a menu in the legend where you can toggle between the different levels of geography.

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5. What type of citation should I use when using Community Commons maps or reports outside the Commons?

The website was established in 2012 and we ask that you cite the actual date you pulled information from the Commons. If using our maps or reports, do not remove any logos that may be on them and please cite as follows:

“Courtesy: Community Commons, <>, date_retrieved”

APA format would look more like this:

<map or report title>. Community Commons (2012). Date Retrieved, Website URL

Example: Map of Local Food Deserts, Location, USA. Community Commons (2012). Retrieved March 18, 2015, from

See the full list of Mapping FAQs.

Reporting FAQs

6. How were the indicators selected for the CHNA Report tool?

A CHNA workgroup was convened in 2012 after the Affordable Care Act was put into place nationally. Made up of a diverse group of health professionals, hospital representatives, community health workers, and government officials, the workgroup identified a focused set of health-related indicators to ensure a robust and consistent approach to CHNA. The CHNA indicator list includes over 80 indicators that together help users understand the health of a community. The indicators are organized into categories that allow the user to answer the following questions:

  • Demographic Data: Who lives in the community?
  • Key Drivers Data: Where are the areas of greatest need within the target area?
  • Health Outcomes Data: What are the major health issues faced by the community?
  • Drivers of Health Data: What is causing the health issues identified?

See a complete list of indicators here.

7. In the CHNA report, why can’t I see race/ethnicity characteristics for some indicators?

Reports are broken down by race and ethnicity whenever that information is publically available from the source. Many sources take caution to protect sensitive data, and this often includes suppressing race/ethnicity/age information from public consumption, even when that information is collected and therefore ‘known’.

Data for smaller geographic areas (like ZIP codes), and data for demographic groups which have lower populations, are less likely to be reported by race/ethnicity. As a general rule, the data behind the CHNA platform uses a minimum sample size of 30 in order to produce reliable estimates.

See the full list of Reporting FAQs.

Hub FAQs

8. What is a Hub?

9. How do I add a Map or Report to my Hub?

You have several options for adding maps and reports to your Hub. When you save your map or report, you can choose to save to a specific Hub or several Hubs. If you did not save your map to your Hub at first, you can change the privacy settings by editing your maps or reports from your profile or from the map gallery. If you have not created a map or report yet, you can select the “Create New Item” option in your Library tab.

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See the full list of Hub FAQs.

Your Profile FAQs

10. Why should I fill out My Profile information?

Connect more easily with other change makers and let others know what you’re doing by making your work known! The Commons is a space for collaboration, and the more others know about your initiative and about you, the more easily they can make connections and form partnerships for lasting change.

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See the full list of Getting Started FAQs.


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