The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) has actively supported the improvement of parks and recreation throughout its existence. One of the ways NRPA enables better parks and recreation is by providing tools for agencies to analyze and compare their performance and facilities to other agencies across the country. Formerly, NRPA published the “Recreation, Park and Open Space Standards and Guidelines” to assist agencies in the planning and development of park and recreation facilities. While these guidelines are still widely used, NRPA no longer considers their use a best practice for agency management and planning. Applying a “one size fits all” approach to address the needs of widely varying communities does not provide accurate guidance for parks and recreation planners.

    Instead, NRPA advocates the use of comparative benchmarking. The Parks and Recreation Operating Ratio and GIS (PRORAGIS™) system, our tool to collect and analyze data about parks and recreation agencies across the country, allows users to compare themselves to departments that they identify as similar to themselves – whether similar in geography, climate, size, or number of total employees. Users complete a survey that captures data about their agency and its responsibilities, and are then able to analyze their data and compare themselves to individual agencies or aggregated groups of agencies. PRORAGIS also allows agencies to upload existing GIS information about their facilities, or build a GIS dataset for their agency. Once this information is entered into PRORAGIS, agencies can perform various analyses about their parks and programming. For instance, PRORAGIS provides the ability examine the location of their facilities in relation to current demographic and socioeconomic data, allowing proactive planning of facility and program development to better serve their communities.

    PRORAGIS is the largest collection of parks and recreation operating data in existence – and provides a powerful tool for agencies to examine their facilities and operations.

    If this is your first interaction with PRORAGIS, we recommend visiting the Getting Started page. There we will walk you through the first few steps you need to take to begin utilizing the power of PRORAGIS.

    If, at any time, you need assistance, please visit our help page.

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