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Census + Open Data = Innovation for the Future

Population

Census + Open Data = Innovation for the Future

Population

Census Collaborations Use Big Data to Solve Global Issues

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What do an environmental volunteer opportunity plotter, a disaster awareness game, and addresses in Puerto Rico all have in common?

Census Bureau data.

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“We believe that data matter, not just because it is interesting but because it solves problems for people in their everyday lives.”

— Drew Zachary, co-founder and director of TOP

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Last month, the U.S. Census Bureau, along with other federal and local agencies, showcased 14 projects that used open data to co-create new digital tools that serve the public and make government data more accessible.

These initiatives come from The Opportunity Project (TOP). Since 2016, TOP has transformed the way federal agencies collaborate with the technology industry, engage data consumers, and deliver on their missions through open innovation.

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Through 12-week, fast-paced virtual engagements, known as tech development sprints or "design-build" sprints, technologists, experts and government co-create new digital tools that serve the public and make government data more accessible.

“We believe that data matter,” said Drew Zachary, co-founder and director of TOP. “Not just because it is interesting but because it solves problems for people in their everyday lives.”

 

Olivia Goodreau, founder of LivLyme Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to the treatment and ultimate cure for Lyme disease.

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In 2018, TOP participants took on more challenges than ever before, including the opioid crisis, disaster preparedness and response, supporting veterans through artificial intelligence, increasing government accountability, and promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.

This year’s event included presentations, lightning talks and a two-hour live demo expo in which participants were able to test the new technologies and interact with the teams who built them. See a list of the tools that were showcased.

 

At The Opportunity Project Demo Day GeoCollaborate® demonstrates a system that provides real-time data visualization and data sharing.

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“As you know, we’re about one year out from the 2020 Census,” said Stephen Buckner, director for communications at the Census Bureau. “We are actively underway to start talking about why the census is important, how our data is used in local communities, and how, more importantly, our data users take that data to solve real problems that affect every American living in this country.”

There is currently an open call for new topics for 2019 TOP sprints.

Stay tuned for two upcoming TOP events this summer. A create-a-thon that will focus on increasing the 2020 Census response rates in the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) community is scheduled in June, in Washington, D.C. A user engagement workshop on the 2020 Census and workforce issues is planned for July in Chicago.

If you’re interested in joining a sprint or staying up to date with future events, visit https://opportunity.census.gov/.

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Kimberley Glascoe is a public affairs specialist at the U.S. Census Bureau

 

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This story was posted in: Population


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