Utah Launches Nation’s First Comprehensive Econ Dev Map

This week the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) and EDCUtah launched a premier interactive economic development map called locate.utah.gov, which showcases Utah's "fastest internet in the west" along with key infrastructure information.

Locate.utah.gov is the first site of its kind and will be a key tool in helping businesses find the critical infrastructure information they need to make site selection decisions. The tool allows users to explore the state's broadband availability, utility information, transportation, workforce and lifestyle features. It also allows developers to evaluate potential locations and print customized reports with detailed summaries of available infrastructure.

Locate.utah.gov is a companion site to EDCUtah's utahsuresites.com and was funded by the State of Utah and developed by the Utah Broadband Outreach Center at GOED. EDCUtah President and CEO Jeff Edwards says locate.utah.gov allows companies to drill down regarding infrastructure, workforce and lifestyle information for any location in the state, while utahsuresites.com allows companies to research the state's extensive inventory of listed commercial real estate. "Having this infrastructure and real estate information available 24/7 is crucial in our fast-paced economic development environment," he adds.

Val Hale, executive director of GOED, says locate.utah.gov is another way GOED is assisting businesses who are interested in relocating to Utah. "Our team is continually developing strategies to simplify the site selection process as we invite new businesses into the state," he says.

Companies like Adobe, EMC, PluralSight and Boeing have opened facilities in Utah due to the state's low corporate taxes, low energy costs, highly-educated workforce and the advanced broadband infrastructure available here. Utah has the sixth fastest average Internet speeds in the country and the fastest speeds in the Western United States, according to Akamai Technologies Fourth Quarter 2014 State of the Internet Report.

"Utah continues to lead the nation as a premier business destination, and companies continue to set up shop here," notes Edwards. "This new tool highlights all of the services and amenities these companies can enjoy."

Locate.utah.gov was developed as part of the Utah Broadband Outreach Center's core mission to promote the availability and use of broadband statewide. The center has worked with more than 50 broadband providers that supply premium services for all types of businesses in both urban and rural areas. The Utah Broadband Outreach Center is a state program focused on mapping available broadband services and promoting the development of additional infrastructure in Utah. The center maintains Utah's interactive residential broadband availability map at broadband.utah.gov/map and a commercial broadband economic development map at locate.utah.gov. The center is located in the Governor's Office of Economic Development and mapping services are provided by the Automated Geographic Reference Center (AGRC).

Utah Broadband Outreach Center Manager Kelleigh Cole says her office implemented a regional broadband planning effort about a year ago and asked all of the regional associations of government to come up with regional broadband plans. "We wanted better insight into where commercial broadband existed," she adds. In the process, her office realized it could also provide infrastructure information useful to businesses as they analyze site selection factors. Locate.utah.gov is the result. Users can see the natural gas footprint, service areas for electricity, and responsible utility providers, distances to airports, major roads, and rail lines for any area of the state.

"Click on any point on the map and it will generate a summary for that point," she says. "Click on an address and the tool will display a customized report with a full referral of all of the services and amenities available at that location."

Cole says her office wants people to use the application for a few months and then provide feedback regarding ways to improve it. She can be reached at 801-538-8831 or [email protected].