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Purdue Center for
Regional Development

Regional Decision Maker (RDM)

Regional Decision Maker (RDM) is a powerful suite of mapping websites and tools that enables users to make informed decisions quickly and efficiently. RDM facilitates and enables regional decision making in a number of ways. Most importantly, it allows decision makers to interact with data through customizable, user-friendly tools and geographic visualization. This high level of interactivity enables decision makers to generate powerful insights more quickly. 

How does RDM impact regional planning?

For the first time in regional decision making, RDM delivers large, web enabled datasets directly to the user. Decision makers can now take sophisticated data analysis into their own hands. RDM converts Big Data into Smart Data, which can be used to develop smart ideas.

Who can benefit from utilizing RDM?

From regional planners to university engagement staff, anyone wishing to analyze a region using state-of-the-art technology benefits greatly from this interactive framework.

How can RDM be customized to suit your needs perfectly?

PCRD can create a customized version of RDM for your region, allowing you to summarize key data easily through the web on a simple desktop. With your own customized mapping platform, you can quickly perform complex analyses, taking regional decision making to the next level.

What important analysis options does RDM provide?
Industry Cluster Analysis

Industry Clusters are groups of businesses that share similar and complementary technologies, infrastructure, products, labor markets and services. Examples of Industry Clusters include: Machinery Manufacturing, Business and Finance, and Transportation and Logistics. Locating and analyzing the Industry Clusters in your region can quickly highlight the dynamics of your economy.

Occupation Cluster Analysis

Occupation Clusters are groups of occupations that share similar knowledge and skill requirements. Examples of Occupation Clusters include: Skilled Production Workers, Engineering and Related Sciences and Information Technology. Recognizing strong Occupation Clusters in your region can identify areas of opportunity and jumpstart your decision-making endeavors.

Location Quotient (LQ) Analysis

Location Quotient (LQ) is a measure of Industry or Occupation Cluster concentration and competiveness. A higher LQ value indicates a region with a more concentrated amount of Industry or Occupation Cluster jobs. Strategies start from identifying these strengths and competitiveness.

Explore Regional Decision Maker

Composed of an extensive spatial database built on various topics, RDM contains the data, tools, analysis options and visualization needed to uncover your region’s data patterns and identify emerging insights. Each RDM mapping site provides extensive data on a specific component of planning and decision making.

RDM Diagram
Industry & Occupation Clusters

Over the last 15 to 20 years, cluster analysis has emerged as a new way of looking at economic development. An increasing number of states and regions in the United States and overseas have modified their economic development strategies to focus and capitalize on the Occupation and Industry Clusters where they would like to have a competitive advantage.


Innovation is the force that drives business advancement. Without new ideas and technologies, economic progress cannot occur. RDM’s innovation mapping site allows users to compare and track their region’s level of innovation over time.

Transportation & Mobility

Transportation is about movement of people, goods and services, which affects the economic growth and settlement patterns of all communities. Analyzing connectivity, accessibility and mobility using RDM can enhance the competitiveness of any community.


The economy section of RDM looks into regional and local economies and labor markets. The indicators are chosen carefully to present a snapshot of the characteristics and size of the local economy and the labor force. Additionally, qualitative aspects of the economy such as poverty and economic diversity are included.


Demographical statistics are essential for business and economic development in any region. The demography section of RDM focuses on population data at the county and census tract level, including age and race information.

Food Systems

Reconfiguration of food production and distributions systems leads to new production and distribution collaborations that shift value chain relationships. RDM offers decision support tools and strategy frameworks to accelerate the development of regional food systems.

Farmer’s Markets

Farmers markets play a significant role in providing locally grown food products. This value-added agriculture products market has a large potential for positive economic growth. Additionally, it improves quality of life in surrounding regions by adding choices for a healthy lifestyle.

Land Use

Land use is defined as human-oriented uses of land such as low density residential, high density residential, commercial, institutional, industrial, parks, forest and agriculture. Through the analysis of land use patterns, RDM users can begin to see future opportunities and constraints that will influence future development.

The Problem: Too Much Data and No Way to Interpret It

While the majority of regional decision makers possess a wealth of valuable information and statistics, some lack the tools and resources required to transform their information into a useable format. Creating a meaningful report from a collection of numbers is a challenging task that often involves repetitive calculations, expensive consultants and specialized software. Even after an analysis, there is often no way to visualize results easily. Decision makers need a way to see and share results quickly. They also need the ability to interact with data to uncover patterns and identify emerging insights.

The Solution: A Customized Regional Mapping Service

PCRD can combine all of your data with some of our own and create a personalized mapping website, complete with sophisticated analysis tools, specialized training and our continued technical support. Most importantly, our cloud-based design does not require advanced computing power, so a simple desktop is all you need.

Platform Diagram
How will you be involved in platform creation?

Throughout the creation of your customized platform, you will have multiple opportunities to review and approve the design scheme, available data, tools, general layout and functionality of your platform. By working with you throughout the design process, we ensure that we meet your specific needs. We work to create a mapping service that incorporates all of the components you need to make your decision making process simpler, faster and more engaging.

Platform Diagram
How will we ensure your continued satisfaction?

Upon platform completion, we will continue to update and maintain your service with current data and add additional data as you provide or request it. Equally important, we will share with you how other regions are using these powerful and interactive mapping platforms. Because we are continually investing in and developing our Regional Decision Maker (RDM), we will provide you with the latest insights, tools, and practices in interactive mapping.

What are some ways to utilize your customized platform?
Visual Interpretation

Geographically visualizing information rather than viewing numbers in a table will enhance regional understanding for you and your colleagues.

Data Exploration

Interacting with your data using customized tools and geographical visualization will increase your data comprehension and boost your decision making strategies.

Quick Statistics

You will be able to quickly perform calculations that previously would have taken days using outside consultants.

Cluster Analysis

You will have the resources to analyze regional occupations and industries in a unique and powerful way.

Region Customization

Tools within your platform can be utilized on customized sub-sections of your region. This flexibility allows you to focus on different areas as your needs and interests change over time.

Map Printing

You will be able to print high-quality images of your region and data to share with associates.

Report Formation

The outputs of many platform tools can be exported and used in regional reports. These outputs are a quick way to review and share regional statistics.

Visual Aid Creation

During meetings and presentations, your platform can be used as a powerful visual aid. You will be able to show your data in a sophisticated and organized manner.

We strive to design Regional Decision Maker's interactive platform to be intuitive and suit users ranging from newbies to GIS experts. In order to clarify any section of RDM you may be unfamiliar with, a large number of training materials are available. We provide these materials in various formats in order to meet your specific preferences and needs.

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Video Tutorials
Watch Tutorials

We have created many simple video tutorials to demonstrate the use of individual RDM tools. These videos are short in length (3 min average) and are designed for users who learn visually.

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Written Tutorials
Browse Tutorials

We have a large collection of written tutorials and training exercises for RDM tools. These short (2-3 page) tutorials and exercises contain detailed instructions and pictures for maximum ease of use.

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Watch Webinars

For those who like a more detailed and interactive training approach, we have a collection of recorded webinars containing tool demonstrations. You may also schedule a live webinar with us.