Late last week PolicyMap attended and presented at the first annual American Community Survey Data Users Conference in Washington, DC. The conference kicked off with a fascinating welcome from Directors and Chiefs from the U.S. Census Bureau. We got to hear about the direction that the U.S. Census is taking, with keeping an eye on improving efficiency and making efforts to ensure that the ACS and Census data work effectively with data from other sources. We also learned about work that’s already underway on the 2020 Census.
The breakout sessions that followed included a presentation by PolicyMap on sources of ACS data through online GIS tools. We discussed Community Analyst, Social Explorer and PolicyMap, with a lively discussion throughout the presentation with participation from all three services. Unfortunately, PolicyMap was the only tool for which a demo was possible, due to technological constraints. But the panel, which included John Parker from Iowa Legislative Services Agency, and Lee Hachadoorian from Dartmouth, seemed to go well and included an interesting Q&A session. We were glad for the opportunity to be a part of the conversation about visualization tools using ACS data!
The afternoon sessions included stimulating conversations about using ACS data to understand income and poverty, employment and commuting. And the Housing Applications Using ACS Data session included some valuable presentations by users of ACS housing data, including Jessica Deegan from Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, who featured PolicyMap in her presentation of their widget.
Friday’s welcoming remarks from James Treat, Chief of the American Community Survey Office, let all of us know that the ACS staff is thrilled with the multitude of applications and products that rely on the ACS. It was a great reminder that the ACS wants to know about the ways in which we’re all busy at work using the ACS, be it in our community planning projects or our business revenue projections.
PolicyMap’s experience at the ACS Data Users Conference was an extremely positive one. We’re already looking forward to the Association of Public Data Users Conference in September to continue our education and our conversation about PolicyMap’s presentation of data from public sources.