Category Archives: 301

Special Topics and Emerging Issues in Public Data: Introducing the Commerce Data Service

The US Department of Commerce has long been in the business of data collection, processing and dissemination that touches almost every facet of American life. A natural evolutionary step for the Department is to ensure that the analytical and technologist public is able to maximally benefit from open data, whether it is to strengthen the economy or to better study and understand society. The Commerce Data Service (CDS), a new data-centric startup team within the Office of the Secretary, has launched the Commerce Usability Project, a wide ranging effort designed to:

  • Illustrate data use cases including new algorithms, visualizations, discovery or other applications;
  • Develop reference or tutorial code to help the power-user public to start using data for analysis or software development; and
  • Provide feedback and user stories centered on general data usability.

Satellite imagery, demographic data and cybersecurity vulnerabilities represent just a sampling of the myriad use cases and potential applications. In this session, the CDS provides an in-depth overview of the user-centric offerings of this growing effort and outlines a vision for data usability in the public sector.

Jeffrey Chen, Chief Data Scientist, US Department of Commerce
Star Ying, Data Scientist, US Department of Commerce

The Livability Index: Great Neighborhoods for All Ages

The Livability Index is a groundbreaking tool of the AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) that scores every neighborhood and community in the United States for the services and amenities that affect people’s lives the most. Using more than 50 national sources of data, the AARP Livability Index provides the clearest picture yet of how well a community meets the current and future needs of people of all ages. The Livability Index measures 60 indicators spread across seven categories of livability: housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement, and opportunity.

By 2030, older adults will account for 20 percent of the U.S. population. AARP surveys consistently show that older adults overwhelmingly desire to age in their homes and communities. The Livability Index can be a powerful tool for local officials and others in adapting their cities so that residents of all ages can stay active and engaged in their communities. The Index will help community leaders and individuals identify gaps between what people want and need and what their communities provide.

Shannon Guzman, Policy Research Senior Analyst from PPI will discuss the Livability Index and give a brief overview of AARP’s work in livable communities, the development of the tool and give a demo of the new tool.

Shannon Guzman, Policy Research Senior Analyst, AARP Public Policy Institute

Production, Uses and Access to State and Local Population Projections

The Federal-State Cooperative for Population Projections (FSCPP) provides a means for state demographers and experts at the U.S. Census Bureau to learn from each other with the objective of improving projections, as the methods employed to project population vary substantially across the States.

The FSCPP recently completed a survey of state demographers regarding their population projections. In this webinar the officers of the FSCPP will present information about state projections including why they are needed, the geographic areas covered, methods and inputs used, types of data that are produced, and how the projections are distributed. The webinar will include case studies of challenges and uses of state population projections, and will conclude with a demonstration of ways state population projection data and supporting information can be accessed.


  • Lloyd B. Potter, Texas State Demographer, Texas State Data Center, University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Eddie Hunsinger, State Demographer, Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development
  • Mathew Hauer, Director, Applied Demography Program, University of Georgia

CTPP: A Special Tabulation of US Census ACS data, and the Program Built Around It

The Census Transportation Planning Products (CTPP) program is an umbrella program of data products, custom tabulations, training, technical assistance, and research for the transportation community. CTPP uses the American Community Survey (ACS). ACS requires accumulation of data over multiple years for tabulation for small geographic units.

Census data on demographic characteristics, home and work locations and journey to work travel flows are key inputs to a variety of state, regional and local transportation policy and planning efforts. They also support corridor and project studies, environmental analyses and emergency operations management.

In 1990, 2000, and 2006, AASHTO partnered with the states on pooled fund projects to support the development of these special census products and data tabulations for transportation. Since 2012, CTPP has been an ongoing Technical Service Program of AASHTO. This presentation covers a bit of history, a bit of data nuance and the current direction of the CTPP.

Penelope Weinberger , CTPP Program Manager, AASHTO

Statistics for the World of Open Data

In commemoration of World Statistics Day, Mark Elbert of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and Jay Meisenheimer of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will talk about the exciting and innovative ways their agencies are making their data available to the public to make it more accessible, insightful, and appealing. Meisenheimer will discuss how BLS uses data visualizations to tell interesting stories about the labor market and economy and Elbert will discuss how EIA uses relational metadata to create a data-ecosystem of interlinked online query tools, interactive charts and maps, and a robust open data program.

This webinar is co-sponsored by the American Statistical Association.

Mark Elbert, Director, Office of Web Management, Energy Information Administration
Jay Meisenheimer, Chief, Division of New Media, Bureau of Labor Statistics

The DATA Act: Delivering New Resources for Research – If All Goes Well

The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) promises to transform the U.S. government’s finances by replacing disconnected documents with standardized and searchable data. The DATA Act requires the U.S. Treasury Department and the White House to work together to adopt government-wide data standards for the government’s spending information – everything from agencies’ financial statements to budget reports to grantee accountability to contracting databases.

Common data standards, including a government-wide recipient identifier and consistent data formats for account balances, will allow cross-agency searches and government-wide analytics for the first time. The impact of the DATA Act, if fully implemented, will go beyond democratic accountability. The law promises to create new management tools for data-driven decision-making as well. Learn how the DATA Act is creating a new era in spending transparency for the United States – if some significant challenges are overcome.

Hudson Hollister, Executive Director, Data Transparency Coalition

Federal Spending in the States

The federal government makes outlays of over $3 trillion in the states each year, but the actual amount distributed in each state can vary significantly. Nationally, federal spending in the states was equivalent to 19 percent of total state economic activity in fiscal year 2013, but it ranged from 32.9 percent in Mississippi to 11.6 percent in Wyoming. The Pew Charitable Trusts’ fiscal federalism initiative has pulled together several data sources to produce a 50-state analysis of federal spending, filling in the significant data gap left when the U.S. Census Bureau discontinued the Consolidated Federal Funds Report in 2012.

This webinar will draw on the new report to show how both the total amount and mix of federal spending on salaries, contracts, grants and benefits payments to individuals vary widely from state to state. The webinar will also explain the sources Pew used to match the data once provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Sam Rosen-Amy, Associate, Pew Charitable Trusts

The Path to the 2020 Census Design Decision

The Census Bureau is planning to announce the preliminary 2020 Census design decision in September 2015. This presentation will cover the four key design areas – reengineering address canvassing, optimizing self response, utilizing administrative records, and reengineering field operations. The presentation will outline the related design options and/or components and the questions that need to be answered in order to make the design decision.

What The New DATA Act Means for Data Users

Part of APDU’s Public Data University “301 – Special Topics” series.

Heralded as the nation’s first open data law, the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) requires agencies to publish government spending information in standardized machine-readable open data.

Specifically, the law calls on the Treasury Department and the White House to establish government-wide standards for financial data; directs all agencies to use those standards for their reporting requirements; and expands the accountability platform developed by the Recovery Act’s Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (RATB) from stimulus spending to all spending.

data_actProponents say the law will improve accountability to taxpayers and  provide tools to reduce waste and abuse. What does this new law mean for data users? What changes or improvements can be expected? Does this law mean more open and public data reform is on the way?


  • Hudson Hollister, Executive Director, Data Transparency Coalition
  • Others TBA

What The New DATA Act Means for Data Users  (301 Series)

Free, APDU & C2ER members and LMI Institute member states
$50, nonmembers


Understanding Online Jobs Ads Data (301 Series)

Part of APDU’s Public Data University “301 – Special Topics” series.

As the use of online job ads has proliferated beyond the simple job-search model, the research community is increasingly experimenting with the detailed breakdown of online job ads. Despite increased usage, there has been limited research assessing the usefulness of this data source to study labor market dynamics.

Gtown WorkforceResearchers from the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University will present findings from a new report that sheds light on the emergence of online job ads data. While useful in measuring labor demand and honing in on previously inaccessible variables, online job ads data come with limitations.

Part of Public Data University’s “301 – Special Topics” series, this webinar will discuss and analyze properties of these data sets, particularly as they relate to traditional, survey-based sources.


  • Jeff Strohl, Director of Research, Center on Education and the Workforce, Georgetown University
  • Tamara Jayasundera, Research Professor and Senior Economist, Center on Education and the Workforce, Georgetown University

Understanding Online Jobs Ads Data (301 Series)

Free, APDU & C2ER members and LMI Institute member states
Free, nonmembers