Mapping and Preventing Youth Access to Tobacco

The New Advanced Store Mapper Interface
The Colorado Store Mapper has several additional mappers for other substances, plus allows users to use Google Street View to inspect locations.
Client:   Counter Tools

Counter Tools works to support state and local agencies working on limiting underage access to tobacco and alcohol, and improving healthy food options. To aid the agencies they consult with, the organization asked GreenInfo to develop its statewide StoreMapper application, and to then expand its use to other states and purposes.

Counter Tools develops, trains and supports agencies that work to improve public health.  Founded through the University of North Carolina, the organization established itself as an independent nonprofit that now works more than five states.  Counter Tools originally contracted with GreenInfo to create a web map application for the state of North Carolina that could aid in understanding patterns of underage access to tobacco products. After the development of this initial version of what is now called Store Mapper, Counter Tools and GreenInfo have partnered to build five additional applications and in the process have developed an improved version 2 of the application.

The core of Store Mapper is state and federal data, which includes field observations of thousands of retail tobacco outlets - many assessed through state agencies conducting undercover investigations. .CounterTools needed an effective web mapping application to allow people to better assess the overall pattern of these sales, look at particular sites, and test policy alternatives.

GreenInfo designed Store Mapper, which first consisted of three main "themes": the locations of tobacco vendors and the per-capita density ("tobacco swamps"), the frequency of undercover sales successfully purchasing from vendors, and highlighting of tobacco vendors who are close to parks and schools. These statistics are broken down by various administrative levels: school districts, counties, Assembly districts, and Congressional districts.  Reports may be had of any of these themes for a variety of areas (by county, by census tract, by school district, etc.) formatted as a PDF or downloaded as an Excel spreadsheet.

The functions of Store Mapper have evolved over time in several directions:

  • A much-improved visual interface for the application
  • The capacity to add three more themes (substances) to the mapper, in addition to tobacco - alcohol, convenience stores (in development), and, for Colorado only, marijuana use.
  • More robust demographics and detailed statistical display of how these population factors relate to vendors and policy alternatives
  • The addition of Store Mappers for more focused areas within a state (Colorado and Florida, where options for county or city level views have now been developed)

Some of these functions have become part of the Advanced Store Mapper, while the Basic Store Mapper retains the core set of functions described above.

Results: Public health officials actively use these sites to visualize field data for managing underage consumption of restricted products.

Focus:   Government Agencies, Public Health  

Services:  Interactive Solutions, Applications Development, Web Mapping, Website Design 

Tags:   demographics, Florida, Google Maps API, Health, Minnesota, North Carolina, OpenLayers, policy, smoking, South Dakota, tobacco, Vermont  

Project Years: 2012-2015

GreenInfo Network creates, analyzes, visualizes and communicates information in the public interest. We specialize in mapping and related technology for nonprofits and public agencies, focusing on using it for conservation, social equity, public health, environment and foundation grant making.
2201 Broadway, Suite M5
United States of America