Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems (CARES)

University of Missouri Extension

Founded in 1992, the Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems (CARES) at the University of Missouri develops and supports mapping, reporting, and collaboration systems that enable public and nonprofit sector organizations to effectively address social, economic and environmental issues. Our full-time 11-person staff integrates Geographic Information Systems (GIS), data visualization, community engagement tools and Internet accessibility to better serve vulnerable and underserved populations.  These web-based technologies help organizations and policy makers make more informed decisions about access, equity, and allocation of resources.

The center is uniquely positioned to address a broad variety of topics with respect to using, accessing, and adopting information and communications technologies. Competencies in knowledge management, GIS, and data management and visualization are manifested in Community Commons (www.communitycommons.org).  Community Commons, maintained through a partnership between CARES, Community Initiatives, and the non-profit Institute for People, Place and Possibility (IP3), was launched in 2011 and serves as a technology and information foundation that supports multiple community-based activities.

CARES has collaborated on projects with support from many Federal and state agencies, foundations, and researchers at other universities.  Selected funders include Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, National Science Foundation, USDA, EPA, USGS, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, University of Western Cape (South Africa).  Through these collaborations, CARES has developed significant experience in data collection and management, web-based content delivery, and spatial analysis.