Waypoints: Navigate


The Island Institute’s Waypoints: Community Indicators series uses compelling, often never-before-seen data to communicate the character of our communities along with the challenges and opportunities before us. In Waypoints: Navigate we set out to better understand the paths forward for Maine’s future. We explore datasets that shed light on making the coast a welcoming home, staying prepared in the face of impending risks, and maintaining a resilient economy which includes developing and maintaining a workforce.

Key takeaways include:

  • Planning and preparation are essential to reduce the impacts of constant change. By learning from the past, assessing the current risks, and gearing up for the future, communities and leaders can anticipate what lies ahead and make smart adaptations.
  • Diversity enhances life and increases resilience. In social, economic, and environmental contexts, variety—rather than depending on few options and perspectives—increases our ability to adjust, recover, and renew.
  • Resilience is a continual journey, not a static point. It is the act of always adjusting and modifying in order to be at least one step ahead of the impact of change.

Waypoints are defined as points that “indicate a change in direction, speed, or altitude.” We hope that this edition helps communities along the coast of Maine make informed decisions on where to head from here.


Below is a list of compiled resources relevant to the data spreads found within Waypoints: Navigate.


  • Data from the Census Bureau informed many of the data spreads. You can access hundreds of datasets with the U.S. Census data tool


  • The MIT Living Wage Calculator determines the amount necessary to live in specific areas in the United States based on different family types. The wages are updated regularly to reflect ongoing changes in the economy.


  • This report completed for the Maine Climate Council looks at the technical aspects of sea level rise threats by trying to put a dollar amount to the cost of allowing sea level rise and climate change continue unchecked. Data from this report was used to create the map showing the total dollar amount of building loss by community.
  • The Island Institute has its own compiled resources related to sea level rise impacts.


  • The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry has many resources available for municipalities looking to update their comprehensive plans.
  • The Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future offers grants and direct support to communities seeking to become more resilient to the effects of climate change.


  • The U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center has a tool to locate charging stations and alternative fuel sources for your vehicle.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration has a map that shows key roadways that are fit for alternative fuel investments.


  • The Maine Department of Education offers statistics on each high school in Maine. These reports were used to create the map in the spread on students who enrolled in an institution in the year after high school graduation.



  • This landings viewer is an interactive tool that shows data on landings per year, for multiple species, along the ports of Maine from 2008 to the present.