Data for Good Exchange, 2017

The Data for Good Exchange conference focused on applications of data science that benefit the public. This is strongly aligned with the mission of SUDS. Our objective for attending the conference was to learn more about how practitioners, academics, and others are using data analytics in creative ways to address public policy concerns.
Ada Tso, Ben Simmons, and Chris Worley at the Data for Good Exchange, 2017

Ada Tso, Ben Simmons, and Chris Worley at the Data for Good Exchange, 2017

The conference was attended by a cross-section of individuals in academic, government, the private sector, and nonprofits/NGOs. Most sessions were themed around a particular topic (ethics and fairness; novel data collection methods; public services; etc.) and presenters would discuss research they had done in the area or examples of implementation. Some of the most interesting talks we attended were on equity in 311 call reporting, creating a database of police killings, and patterns in civil asset forfeiture. There was also a poster session and reception at the end of the day.
Shouvik Mani presenting at Data for Good Exchange, 2017

Shouvik Mani presenting about the Intelligent Pothole Detection project at the Data for Good Exchange conference, 2017

 One of the highlights was getting to see Shouvik Mani, Umang Bhatt, and Edgar Xi of Carnegie Mellon talk about their Intelligent Pothole Detection project. Shouvik is currently serving as in a Assistant Director for Data Projects role with SUDS and will be the Director of SUDS beginning in January 2018.

Infographic Workshop: Thursday, October 5

Infographic Design Workshop with Jessica Bellamy

On Thursday, October 5, Jessica Bellamy will lead interested students in a workshop on Infographic Design. Jessica is an Infographic Designer and Adobe Creative Resident for 2017. With her guidance, we will explore and apply principles of conscious and responsible design to a real-world infographic project.


Jessica will cover the following topics:

  • Icon drafting
  • Infographic composition
  • Power dynamics in design
  • Data framing
  • Asset v. deficit mapping
  • Access to information
  • Grassroots design strategies
Chris Worley, Jessica Bellamy, and Ali Siegel after the Infographic Workshop

Chris Worley, Jessica Bellamy, and Ali Siegel at the Infographic Workshop

Infographics are easily digestible visualizations of complex data. As our access to larger volumes of data increases, our ability to communicate findings to policymakers, people with resources, and low-opportunity communities becomes more important.

If you’re interested, make sure you’re registered on EventBrite! The event will be on Thursday, October 5 from 12:00-1:15pm in Hamburg Hall, Room 2003.

Census Data Workshop: Monday, October 2

Navigating U.S. Census Data Workshop with Eileen Patten 

Eileen Patten presenting at the Census event

Eileen Patten presenting at the Census event

Monday, October 2, join us for a workshop on accessing and using U.S. Census Bureau population and business data to assess your community, explore a topic of interest to you, or just learn more about the United States. U.S. Census data is a treasure trove of information about our country that spans many decades and many topic areas. Did you know you can use the American Community Survey to figure out how many homes in the U.S. have flush toilets? Or the American Time use Survey to find out how many hours Americans spend mowing their lawns?


This workshop will be led by the SUDS Speaker Series Chair, Eileen Patten. She is a second year Master of Science in Public Policy and Management student, specializing in Data Analytics. Before coming to Heinz, Eileen used census data to perform analysis on topics like gender and racial wage gaps, Latino and Asian populations in the U.S., and teen birth rates while working for the “fact tank” Pew Research Center.

Eileen will introduce several tools and surveys, including:

  • Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS-USA): IPUMS-USA collects, preserves, and harmonizes U.S. census microdata and provides easy access to this data with enhanced documentation. Data includes decennial censuses from 1790 to 2010 and American Community Surveys (ACS) from 2000 to the present. Eileen will be working through the IPUMS online tabulator and dataset downloading. You can sign up for an IPUMS account if you want to follow along!
  • American FactFinder: This is the Census Bureau’s main tool for distributing information collected by their programs. Data from the Decennial Census, the Economic Census, the American Community Survey, the American Housing Survey, and many more.
  • QuickFacts: This “is an easy to use application that provides tables, maps, and charts of frequently requested statistics from many Census Bureau censuses, surveys, and programs”. (QuickFacts)

If you’re interested, make sure you’re registered on EventBrite! The event will be on Monday, October 2 from 4:30-6:00pm in Hamburg Hall, Room 2008.