Looking to compare county real estate values, analyze local business patterns, or assess local employment trends? Ecanned.com is an interactive, searchable resource that packages economic and demographic data – and allows users to comment on and supplement this information.

After handling large amounts of data for a report entitled, “The State of Working Illinois,” one of its researchers realized that people involved in a variety of disciplines – from business owners to job seekers, development professionals, and researchers – could benefit from access to “packaged” information about local economies.

Hence the wheels were set into motion. E-canned.com – “The Economy in a Can” – was launched in early 2006. Editor Matt Eskew decided to use blog technology to deliver information in an easy-to-use, interactive format. While its editors currently post the majority of data, visitors have the opportunity to post comments and add data as well.

What type of information does ecanned.com deliver? Lake County, Illinois, for example, has 31 posts – mostly business patterns by zip code for municipalities within the county, but also a labor force summary and county housing report. Most of the commentary is based on U.S. Census Bureau data.

Future plans for the site include improving the technology of the site to make interaction easier and data more accessible, as well as featuring input from experts around the country who can provide ground-level commentary about their local areas.