Criteria for Data Collection

a. Criteria for prioritizing measures

The measures from the key informant process and baseline studies were the starting point. However, the committee quickly found it was impossible or impractical to gather and/or display all of the information identified.

The committee agreed it was better to gather a few measures in each index and build the website from there. They envisioned COMPASS as a skeleton with the first version being the frame of bones. From there future versions would layer organs, muscles and flesh. Layering will continue in the years to come as we learn what is helpful and important in our community.

The following are some guidelines that assisted committee members in prioritizing what data to pursue. The highest priority datum has the following characteristics: (we recognize that very few data have all of these, but more is better) These characteristics are not in priority order.



b. Contradictory information

When there were two sources that contradicted each other, the committee decided to use the source meeting the most criteria above. Priority was given to sources that were credible, with data collected consistently over time. When data available were contradictory and the contradiction was within one source or when both sources seemed equally credible, the committee decided to display all information and describe the contradiction along with any available information that could explain the contradiction (methodologies, etc.).

Data Sources

The following list includes the primary sources used to develop COMPASS This page is designed to be a quick link for those who want more information on a particular subject or a quick way to understand the types of sources COMPASS used for its information.

The links included are for the home page of each source rather than to the specific data used by COMPASS. For more specific links, see the measure pages.

Community Development




Community Living

Public Sector Performances

Civic Life

Crime & Safety


Public Safety





Early Childhood



Use of Resources

Quality of Environment


Physical Health and Access to Care

Mental Health and Emotional Well-being

Health, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs


How is COMPASS Organized?

The first step in navigating your way through COMPASS is to become familiar with how the website is organized. Larimer County's community measures have been divided into 8 theme areas or indices.

Structure of COMPASS Data

Each theme area/index begins with an index page. Each index page contains the following information:

Each index is divided into subcategories. For example, Education contains three subcategories: Early Childhood, K-12 and Adult Education.

Subcategory pages contain the most information on a particular topic.

Each subcategory page contains the following information:

Finally, each subcategory page is further broken down into measure pages. Each measure page contains charts and data organized in the following manner:

Three Ways to Navigate Your Way through COMPASS

Now that you know how the website is organized, you need to know how to search for information within COMPASS. There are many ways to search the COMPASS Index. You can view or search for one of the measures by:

  1. The indices - starting here provides you with the best overview of the subject (e.g. economy, education, health) at hand.
  2. The comprehensive list of measures - is a good place to start if you are already familiar with an index area and its corresponding measures and are simply looking for the latest data. It provides a laundry list of all the individual measures by subcategory. You can then jump to any measure page you choose.
  3. A specialized search - is recommended if you want to search the measures and filter information by geographic area, demographic characteristic, or community impact/goal area. You can, for example, ask to search for measures with only Loveland data. If you only want information on a certain age group, you can limit your search by age group. COMPASS will create a list of all measures and subcategories that contain information specific to the boxes selected. The more boxes you check, the fewer measures will be listed.

Navigate the Terminology

What is an index?

This is the highest level of organization of measures in COMPASS. There are nine indices, each representing a different aspect of our community. They are very broad areas such as health, education, economy and environment.

What is a subcategory?

The indices cover broad theme areas. A subcategory is a sub-set of the indices. To better represent the status of each index, each one was divided into several subcategories. Subcategories are usually confined to one 'issue' or 'idea'. Sometimes subcategories are specific fields of study. For example, mental health is a subcategory of health. Other times, subcategories are simply ways to describe different aspects of the index. For example, the economic index is divided into measures related to business and measures relating to individuals. The subcategories include measures that, when the measure findings are looked at together, give an overall picture of the status of our community for that subcategory.

What is a measure?

Measures represent one concept. This real concept may be measured in a variety of ways. For example, the concept of clean air might be measured by visibility or pollutants in the air. Civic participation might be measured by the percent of people who vote or by the percent of people who volunteer. Our measure pages try to represent the most current information as it is measured in our community.