APDU Past President: Why Attend the APDU Conference?

By Cliff Cook, Senior Planning Information Manager, City of Cambridge, Massaschusetts

In working with public data users often discover a shortfall between the way data would ideally be delivered and the form in which it actually arrives.  While the data we use is by definition only a partial reflection of the underlying reality, the ways in which we structure elements of the data collection, compilation and delivery systems all potentially to create further impediments to data access and usability.

The 2020 APDU conference will include a session dedicated to a discussion this important set of issues:  “Impediments to Accurate Statistics”.

We will hear from three experts in three different domains.

  • Elsa Schaffer, a Data Scientist from Ididio, will discuss her experience bringing together multiple sources of data that cover aspects of education, employment and income to develop data sets that help students and others with career choices.
  • Lavar Edwards, a Research Specialist from the Eviction Project, will talk about the myriad obstacles encountered in buiding a national database of rental housing eviction actions, a topic with significant implications for racial equity.
  • Abraham Flaxman, as Associate Professor from the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, will delve into the world of public health statistics and explore his experience using data about the Covid-19 pandemic.

This session will focus on how various types of impediments prevent users from obtaining the full value of data, how data users deal with these roadblocks, and how the data user community should advocate for solutions.