2023 APDU Annual Conference Recap: A Reflection


It has been a little over a month since the 2023 APDU Annual Conference, which featured the universe of public data in many forms. As this recap blog series concludes, let us reflect on the diverse panelists and attendees that were present on those two days.

When one hears of an “Association of Public Data Users” with an annual conference less than ten minutes from Washington D.C., one might have the impression that they are a collection of federal statisticians insulated within a hub of three-letter agencies. This was not the case at APDU 2023. Quite the contrary, the conference instead provided a space where researchers from the University of Kansas shared state updates and data methodology with a nonprofit organization in Connecticut; a USDA State Director from New York got to listen to an Architecture Professor in North Carolina about confederate memorials; a GIS analyst from Oregon shared a space with a chief demographer from Louisiana to hear about Equity-Centric Infrastructure. The list goes on.

The formation of these connections is a core foundation of APDU. By bringing together multiple professional aspects of the public data science community, our knowledge is enriched by the opportunities to engage with a variety of fresh perspectives.  By approaching contentious public policy challenges with integrated data analysis from multiple perspectives, we have an opportunity to provide multidisciplinary solutions to seemingly intractable problems.

Thanks to the breadth, depth, and diversity of attendees and panelists, the APDU 2023 annual conference will remain a cherished memory for many of us who are passionate about using public data for the public good. As our members continue to further excellence in public data science, we look forward to seeing you in 2024– again or for the first time.