The Basics for Navigating
Cottage Data2Go

Cottage Data2Go is a free, interactive online mapping and data tool created by Cottage Health and Measure of America, a nonpartisan research and advocacy initiative of the Social Science Research Council. Cottage Data2Go brings together federal, state, county, and community data on a broad range of social and health factors that reflect the well-being of Santa Barbara County (SBC) residents. Data displayed within Cottage Data2Go helps users visualize the link between geographies and the specific needs of varying demographics, allowing users to see and interact with correlations across multiple variables. Nearly 200 indicators from diverse sources are included for the county's 87 census tracts and 26 cities and census designated places.

This guide is intended to help users navigate Cottage Data2Go and is organized by the site's three main interfaces: MAPS, DASHBOARDS, and CONNECTIONS.

Tip: Cottage Data2Go works best in full screen mode, or when it covers most of the screen.


The MAPS view allows you to produce maps of Santa Barbara County for nearly 200 indicators by census tract, or by city/town when tract level data is not available. These indicators are grouped into nine categories. Using the MAPS view, you can:

There are two ways to select an indicator. Click on the triangle or type in the search box to find what you are looking for. The indicators are grouped into nine categories.

Nesting drop-down menus for selecting indicators

Tip: The darker the color on the map, the higher the value of the chosen indicator.

To map data for a different geographic area, there are two options:

MAPS view enables you to see the value of an indicator across the county

To see the value of a district or tract on your chosen indicator, click on the blue bar chart. On this chart, you can also:

Tip: The US Census Bureau divides Santa Barbara County into 90 census tracts. Data2Go allows you to view data for almost all of these tracts for nearly 200 indicators. Three tracts cannot be mapped; they all have populations of fewer than 10 people (and some are totally uninhabited areas like coastal zones). Because of this small population size, the data are not reliable.

Horizontal bar chart provides the full range of values for each indicator plus the SBC average

In addition to the chosen indicator, the MAPS view provides the racial and ethnic breakdown of the selected tract and some basic socioeconomic data in the right-hand box.

Right-hand box provides basic racial/ethnic and socioeconomic information

Tip: To find a specific census tract, put the tract number in Search.

Click on Features of Interest in the navigation bar along the top to see how facilities like homeless shelters, libraries, schools, public housing, and waste facilities relate to the indicators on your map.

Features of Interest overlay point location of important faciliites onto maps of geographic data

Select any of the fifteen features and the map will be populated with a dot per facility.

Each dot represents a facility

For most of these features, there is additional data per facility. Click on one of the dots and additional data about that facility will appear in the lower right section of your screen. To remove the feature, unclick the box.

Click a dot for more information

To find the source of an indicator on the map, click on the to the right of the indicator name. To find out the source of information on specific facilities, click on the on the top right of the facilities information box. Doing so will tell you where the data come from and any important clarifications or caveats. Click on Get Data to go to the website where the data can be found. For some indicators in Data2Go, the data are not publicly available or have been geocoded or calculated by Measure of America. In these cases, fill out the short form to access the data in Excel spreadsheets.


MAPS displays a single indicator across Santa Barbara County census tracts. DASHBOARDS, on the other hand, shows multiple indicators for a single city or town. This view does not include any tract-level data. DASHBOARDS allows you to:

To change the city, click on the map in the bottom-left corner of your screen. The location you have selected will then turn pink.

DASHBOARDS offers data visualization of most indicators included in MAPS by city/town

The DASHBOARD opens with data visualizations for a set of basic indicators. To create your custom view you can:

The indicator categories will drop down; click on one to see the available indicators in that category.

To add new visualizations:

Rollover the modules to get precise stats.

To find the source of an indicator, click on the i in the upper right hand corner of the visualization. Doing so will tell you where the data come from and any important clarifications or caveats. Click on Get Data to go to the website where the data can be found. For some indicators in Data2Go, the data are not publicly available or have been geocoded or calculated by Measure of America. In these cases, fill out the short form to access the data in Excel spreadsheets.


The CONNECTIONS section enables users to do two things: explore the correlation between two variables across Santa Barbara County's twenty six cities and towns and examine how individual communities stack up when compared with others on the given variables. It answers this question:

"Is there a correlation between variable x and variable y, and if so, how strong is the relationship?"

On the Connections section are twenty five x variables and, for each x variable, the same set of y variables. To select an x-value, press the blue dropdown menu and a list of the 25 x indicators will appear.

Select an x value from the top menu.

Then select your yellow y indicator. This will result in a scatterplot with twenty six dots, one for each city/town, and a sentence that answers the above question about the relationship between these two variables across the county.

Watch the dots move!

You can also learn about how individual communities fare on these pairs of indicators by clicking on a dot. The blue bubble tells you the value of the x-axis indicator. The yellow bubble tells you the value for the y-axis indicator. If you are interested in comparing this community with another, click on a second dot.

Tip: CONNECTIONS uses Pearson's correlation, which measures the linear relationship between two variables. Pearson's correlation yields a number ranging from -1 to +1 and is represented with the symbol r.

CORRELATION DOES NOT IMPLY CAUSATION: The Pearson's correlation describes the linear relationship between two variables. But it does not prove that a change in one variable causes a change in the other variable. Determining causal relationships requires extensive research and subject matter expertise.

Download and Share

All of the printing, sharing, and downloading takes place in the upper right-hand corner.

SHARE button offers the option to share your custom MAP, DASHBOARD, or CONNECTION view with others using either Facebook or Twitter. It also provides a short link customized to the particular view you set up. Below are instructions for taking a screenshot for printing or sharing.

DOWNLOAD button brings you to a short form to complete before being able to download all Cottage Data2Go data in an Excel file. Data are organized in the nine categories. DOWNLOAD offers users the data already downloaded, extracted, and cleaned.