All posts by Brendan Buff

APDU Data Viz Awards: Call for Visualizations

The Association of Public Data Users (APDU) is pleased to announce the 2019 Data Viz Awards. We are once again soliciting creative and meaningful graphic designs that use publicly-available data (for example, data from the Census Bureau or Bureau of Labor Statistics) to convey a compelling point or story.

About the Award

APDU started the Data Viz Awards in response to our members’ growing need to communicate their data and research to a variety of audiences using graphic technologies and cutting-edge techniques. APDU hopes to engage data users and help them understand and share data for analysis and decision making.
Winners will be invited to present at the 2019 APDU Annual Conference on July 10, 2019 in Arlington, VA. Winners in the “Researchers & Students” category will also receive a free APDU membership for 2019.

What We’re Looking For

APDU will select creative and compelling images in four categories:

  • State/Local government, including independent and quasi-independent agencies;
  • Federal government, including independent and quasi-independent agencies;
  • Private firms, which can include consultancies, advocacy groups, or any other private firms using public data; and
  • Researchers/Students, which can include any visuals published or formally presented by researchers or students in higher education, think tanks, research organizations, nonprofits, or similar.

Submissions must have been made publicly available between June 2018 and May 2019. We are accepting submissions that appeared in a published research paper or article either in print or on the web, in a public presentation, as a stand-alone infographic, as a website feature, and/or as another official product.

Deadline: Friday, May 17, 2019

Create your own user feedback survey

364 Days Until Census Day 2020!

APDU staff attended the Census 2020: Navigating the National and Local Challenges panel discussion hosted by the Brookings Institution to hear legal, demographic, and Census experts discuss a Decennial Census that has garnered interest both for its importance and for its controversies. Primary questions from the meeting revolved implications of including the citizenship question in the Decennial Census, cybersecurity, and how to encourage residents to respond.

Former Census Bureau Director John Thompson noted that there is “no basis for the citizenship question” and that agency research indicates that it will decrease the response rate. Brookings Senior Fellow William Frey supported Thompson’s statements by emphasizing the importance of gathering this community data and the impacts it will have on communities’ federal funding, private grant dollars, and resources to serve the right population.

Thompson shared that the Census Bureau was underfunded from 2012 – 2017, so the Bureau prioritized shifting from the traditional paper collection to an automated and online process. He noted the Bureau is constantly working on improving cybersecurity and is committed to keeping residents’ responses safe and confidential.

The second panel facilitated by the National League of Cities’ CEO Clarence Anthony focused on the implications and efforts at the local level to ensure the best data possible is collected. Beth Link, the Director of Census Counts, encouraged communities to educate their elected officials and noted that there will be questionnaire assistance centers to help make the necessary technology accessible to communities where it’s needed and to help answer questions as residents complete the forms.

APDU will continue to monitor 2020 Census preparations and will serve as a resource to our members moving forward. To learn more and hear directly from Census Bureau leadership, join us at the APDU Annual Conference in Arlington, VA on July 9-10, 2019.

Resources shared during the discussion include:

Recordings of the Panels can be found below.

2019 Annual Conference Call for Proposals

2019 APDU Annual Conference

July 9-10, 2019

Arlington, VA

“Wide World of Data”

Breadth of public data

Diverse uses of government data

Strengthening & supporting the public data system

EXTENDED DEADLINE: February 11, 2019

The 2019 APDU Annual Conference is welcoming APDU members and friends to join with our theme of “Wide World of Data” by submitting a proposals for presentations or panels related to public data. The conference, to be held in Arlington, VA on July 9-10, 2019, brings together data users and data producers for conversations and presentations on a wide variety of data and statistical topics, including but not limited to:

  • Data collection, production, and delivery
  • Emerging data issues
  • New data sources and tools
  • Relevant data dissemination technologies
  • Statistical policy

We are inviting proposals on any topic relating to public data, whether based on a particular project, data practice, or formal paper.  In keeping with the theme of the conference, our interest is in highlighting the breadth of public data to both producers and consumers of public data.  We are interested in presentations focused on the past, present, and future of public data such as:

  • Past uses of public data
  • Present/new uses of public data
  • Future of public data – what would consumers of data like to be able to do that they currently cannot do
  • Current availability of public data (health, education, the economy, energy, the environment, climate, and other areas)
  • New developments in public data
    • Newly available data
    • Significant changes/improvements to data
    • New data tools for dissemination, analytics, data visualization, clean-up of data, and user feedback
  • Public data as an input to other public data
  • Administrative data
  • Data privacy – differential privacy vs data suppression
  • Reorganization proposal to combine Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Reorganization proposals for Economic Research Service and Bureau of Transportation Statistics
  • Advancements in state/local data programs

You may submit ideas for a single presentation or a full panel (three presenters, plus a moderator). However, it is possible that we will accept portions of panel submissions to combine with other presenters. Submissions will be evaluated on the quality of work, relevance to APDU Conference attendees, uniqueness of topic and presenter, and thematic fit.

Proposals  will need to be submitted by members of APDU, and all presenters in a panel must register for the conference (full conference registration comes with a free APDU membership).

You must be a member of APDU to submit a proposal, whether a single presentation or a panel. For panel submissions, not all panelists need to be members at the time of submission.  All accepted presenters must register for the conference. Current members will be assessed the discounted membership rate. For presenters who are not currently members, full conference registration will come with a free APDU membership.

We will be accepting proposals until February 11, 2019 (deadline extended due to Federal shutdown). Proposers will be notified of our decision by February 28, 2019. Contact Brendan Buff at bbuff@crec.net if you have any questions.   

We look forward to hearing from you!

Create your own user feedback survey

APDU Election Results

APDU is pleased to announce the results of the elections for our Board of Directors. Our new Officers and At-Large Directors include:

President: Kevin McAvey, Senior Manager, Manatt Health

Vice President: Mary Jo Hoeksema, Director of Government Affairs, Population Association of America and Association of Population Centers

At-Large Director: Susan Copella, Director, Pennsylvania State Data Center (PaSDC), Institute of State and Regional Affairs, Penn State Harrisburg

At-Large Director: Beth Jarosz, Senior Research Associate, Population Reference Bureau

Join us in giving a warm welcome to our new members. Congratulations!

2018 APDU Candidate Statements

Candidate for President: Kevin McAvey, Senior Manager, Manatt Health

Bio:

Kevin advises states, healthcare providers, and payers on how to leverage public and private data to inform their most pressing policy and program goals.  Kevin relies upon public datasets – including data from Census, CMS, BLS, and BEA – on a daily basis, using it to build and implement models that predict the impact healthcare reform initiatives may have on coverage, payment, utilization, and costs.  Kevin has an M.S. in Applied Economics from Cornell University, an M.P.P from Georgetown University, and a B.A. from Colgate University.

Goals:

As APDU’s President, I will pursue three overarching goals:

1) Strengthen APDU’s brand as a national network that links users, producers, and disseminators of government statistic data;

2) Enhance APDU’s membership value by piloting new programs to connect and support member organizations; and

3) Increase APDU’s membership across the public and private sectors, bringing new voices to APDU.

Candidate for Vice President: Mary Jo Hoeksema, Director of Government Affairs, Population Association of America and Association of Population Centers

Bio:

Since January 2004, Mary Jo Hoeksema has been the Director of Government Affairs for the Population Association of America and Association of Population Centers.  In addition to representing PAA and APC, Ms. Hoeksema has co-directed The Census Project since 2008.  Prior to her position with PAA/APC, Ms. Hoeksema worked at the National Institutes of Health for approximately 10 years, as the Legislative Officer at the National Institute on Aging and as the Special Assistant to the Director of the NIH Office of Policy of Extramural Research Administration.  Ms. Hoeksema served as a Legislative Assistant for Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Legislative Correspondent for U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman.  Ms. Hoeksema has a Master of Public Administration from the George Washington University and is a former Presidential Management Fellow.

Candidate for At-Large Director: Susan Copella, Director, Pennsylvania State Data Center (PaSDC), Institute of State and Regional Affairs, Penn State Harrisburg

Bio:

Susan Copella is the Director of the Pennsylvania State Data Center (PaSDC), Institute of State and Regional Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg. She has worked at the PaSDC for over 27 years in various roles.  The last 17 years as Director.

The PaSDC was created by Executive Order in 1981 to be the official source of population and economic statistics for the commonwealth.  As such, she provides data and products and services to all sectors of the community including businesses, academia, governments, non-profits or citizens.  These services include data collection, data management, data analysis, visualization, research design, training and technology.

Susan is the Pennsylvania liaison to the Census Bureau for the State Data Center (SDC) and Business and Information Data Center (BIDC) programs as well as the Federal Cooperative on Population Estimates (FSCPE) and Projections (FSCPP) programs.  She is also a member of The Association of Public Data Users (APDU), ACS User Group and various state committees.

Some of the tasks she has accomplished in relationship with the Census Bureau include:

  • Beta tester for various data tools
  • Developed PUMA areas for Pennsylvania for both 2000 and 2010
  • Participated in Count Review for both 2000 and 2010 for Pennsylvania
  • Early participant for Count Review for 2020 for Pennsylvania
  • Currently serving on the APDU board.
  • Served on the Steering committees for the SDC, FSCPE and FSCPP
  • Continue to serve on subcommittees for both the SDC and the FSCPE
  • Review various Population Estimate files prior to release
  • Provide Census Bureau with input data used in development of the Population Estimates
  • Responsible for the developed of the Hands-on Census Training workshop. The workshop teaches students about census basics, geography, American Factfinder and other Census tools

Susan has extensive experience working with data.  She has over 35 years of experience in managing various data solution projects.  She manages projects from conception, execution and completion. This includes developing potential sponsor relationships, project leads, funding proposals and budgets.  Once projects are approved, she is involved in all project activities as well as being responsible for budget management and ensuring timely tasks completion within budget.

Prior to coming to the PaSDC, Sue worked as a Planner for both a County Planning and Regional Planning office in Pennsylvania.  During her time at those agencies she worked closely with local communities.

Goals:

  • To identify ways to increase membership in APDU. APDU is a great organization but I feel that we need to reach out to other public data users to have them join the group.
  • To use my background to help mentor new members.

Candidate for At-Large Director: Beth Jarosz, Senior Research Associate, Population Reference Bureau

Bio:

Beth is a Senior Research Associate at the Population Reference Bureau (PRB). At PRB, Beth works on a wide range of U.S. demographic topics, with a focus on subnational analysis and data visualization. Prior to joining PRB, she served as Senior Demographer at the San Diego Association of Governments and later taught sociology at Pensacola State College. Her publications are cross-disciplinary and span topics from inequality to mortality, as well as forecast and estimation methods—all have relied heavily on public data. She has been the social media content curator for the Southern Demographic Association for more than three years (growing the audience from 18 followers to more than 800). She is also active in the American Community Survey Data Users Group online community. Beth completed her master’s degree in Demographic and Social Analysis at the University of California, Irvine.

Goals:

I believe one of the challenges facing any member organization, including APDU, is engaging with members (and attracting new members) in an era of instantaneous communication. In addition to maintaining the valuable annual conference, I would work with the APDU Board and management group to brainstorm, test, and implement new communication channels and strategies to add value for existing members and (hopefully) attract new members.

Call for Volunteers: APDU Conference Committee

Want to have a hand in shaping the direction of the 2019 APDU Annual Conference? APDU is looking for volunteers to help the Conference Committee put on a great conference. You can help to select topics from our Call for Proposals, help manage selected sessions, and/or contribute to the evaluation and management of the Data Viz Awards. The Annual Conference will be held on July 9-10, 2019 in Arlington, VA.

If you are interested in assisting the Conference Committee, please contact Brendan Buff at bbuff@crec.net for more details.

John Abowd of the Census Bureau Calls for Response to Federal Register Notice

By John Abowd, Associate Director for Research and Methodology at the US Census Bureau. 

The blog referenced below was just released on www.census.gov. It explains how our new disclosure avoidance methods protect confidentiality and fitness-for-use. More importantly, it calls attention to the Federal Register Notice posted here (https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/07/19/2018-15458/soliciting-feedback-from-users-on-2020-census-data-products) soliciting user feedback on the 2010 Census data products.

It is imperative that sophisticated data users respond to this FRN. As my new blog makes clear, we can control the fitness-for-use of the 2020 Census data products, but the Census Bureau cannot give every use case the same margin-of-error (just as we currently cannot give every statistic from the ACS the same MOE). The use case for the PL94-171 redistricting data is written into that statute. It is the only use case currently reflected in the design of the 2020 Census disclosure avoidance system. Other data users must  supply information that demonstrates how the categorical and geographic detail in historical summary and detailed data tables, national and state demographic profiles, and topical briefs translates into their own use cases.

Important Changes at the Economic Research Service

The Secretary of Agriculture announced on Thursday, August 9 that the Economic Research Service will undergo several significant changes in the coming year. USDA is moving ERS out of the Research, Education, and Economics area of the USDA to the Secretary’s Office of the Chief Economist.  The rationale is that this move will better align the missions of ERS and the Chief Economist.

In addition, most ERS and NIFA personnel will have to relocate outside of the Washington, DC metro area to an undetermined location. In fact, USDA also announced on August 9, its search for a site selection consultant to help with this process. Since the new locations have yet to be determined, it is possible that ERS and NIFA may be co-located when their new homes are found as expected by the end of 2019.

Finally, USDA recently announced that Mary Bohman, the Administrator of the Economic Research Service, will move to a new position the Office of the Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to serve as Associate Administrator (Economics), on September 2, 2018.

USDA Secretary Perdue provided the following reasons for these changes:

“1. To improve (their) ability to attract and retain highly qualified staff with training and interests in agriculture, many of whom come from our land-grant universities. (They’ve) seen significant turnover in these positions, and it has been difficult to recruit employees to the Washington, DC area, particularly given the high cost of living and long commutes.

2. To place these important USDA resources closer to many of (their) stakeholders, most of whom live and work far from the DC area.

3. To benefit the American taxpayers. There will be significant savings on employment costs and rent, which will allow more employees to be retained in the long run, even in the face of tightening budgets.”

These are controversial changes that have significant impacts on public statistics and signal intent by the Trump Administration to move forward on other changes to agencies, especially if they can be done through administrative action. Former USDA ERS Commission Katherine Smith Evans, now of the American Economic Association, recently wrote an editorial on proposed funding cuts for ERS – the agency faces significant threats to funding, staff, and mission.  APDU will keep you informed as further as this issue develops and will join with others to serve as your voice to address our shared concerns on these issues.

APDU Data Viz Award Winners Announced!

APDU received many excellent submissions for the 2018 APDU Data Viz Awards, and our expert review committee has concluded their deliberations. This was a difficult process with such great options to choose from – we are very grateful for the work put into developing and submitting these visualizations.

We would like to thank our review committee for their time and effort in evaluating the submissions. This year, Mike Crow of Crow Insight, Richard Schwinn of the SBA Office of Advocacy, and Ron Nakao of Stanford University served on the committee.

Without further ado, the winners this year include:

Federal Government

USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, “Making it Simple: Accessing U.S. Agricultural Statistics”

  • Sue King, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service
  • Lorna Drennen, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service
  • Rui Jiang, Penguin Labs

Researchers and Students

Center for Urban Research, CUNY Graduate Center, “Census 2020 Hard to Count Online Map”

  • Steve Romalewski, Center for Urban Research, CUNY Graduate Center
  • David Burgoon, Center for Urban Research, CUNY Graduate Center
  • Valerie Bauer, Center for Urban Research, CUNY Graduate Center

Researchers and Students

University of Baltimore, “GEOLOOM Co>Map: Cultural Mapping in Baltimore”

  • TJ ODonnnell, University of Baltimore
  • Christine Hwang, University of Baltimore
  • Stepthen Ansari, Blue Rasters
  • Seema Iyer, University of Baltimore

Private Firms

Population Reference Bureau, “Declines in Adult Death Rates Lag in the U.S. South”

  • Mark Mather, Population Reference Bureau
  • Paola Scommegna, Population Reference Bureau
  • Alex Friedhoff, District Analytics
  • Andrew Fenelon, University of Maryland

Congratulations to this year’s winners! Register for the 2018 APDU Annual Conference today to learn from awardees about how they created these excellent visualizations.