PolicyMap’s 2014 Data Year in Review

Here at PolicyMap, the Data Team has had another very successful year. We’ve been working on a lot of new data and we’ve been focused on how to make PolicyMap more easy-to-use than ever. Here are some of our most exciting accomplishments this year.

We completely overhauled of the look and feel of PolicyMap. We made each of our features more accessible and, frankly, more attractive to use. We reorganized our data menus, and we reconfigured our legend. And best of all, we combined all of our various types of data (points and layers) into one place, along with our blog posts. Just click on one of our data menus, and you’ll see that it’s easier than ever to find what you need.

And the data highlights:
Valassis Lists Vacancy data – blockgroup level quarterly data about the vacancy rate
Powerlytics IRS Tax Return data – data on characteristics of household tax returns like charitable contributions and EITC claimants
Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) school data – details on public schools ranging from college prep to discipline
CDC Flu data – information about flu activity and the spread of the flu virus

We’ve also been on the road, contributing to the ongoing conversation about the evolving role of data and data visualization tools. In 2014 we were chosen to play an active role at:

The American Community Survey Data User’s Conference – we spoke about various national mapping tools available on the web
GovLab’s Open Data 500 Roundtable at the White House Conference Center – we discussed the ways in which the Department of Commerce can work with private companies like PolicyMap to provide the best possible access to their data
Community Leaders Forum of the Federal Reserve System – we met with other selected community-focused groups to discuss issues facing low-income communities and how to use data to understand and address those problems
Association of Public Data Users Conference – we spoke about what happens to public data on the open market
Community Indicators Consortium Conference – we introduced freely available health data at the neighborhood level and discussed the challenges of comparing data between local and state levels
Google Maps Gallery – Google approached us to provide content on this exciting project that they launched this year

And we won Name That Data from The Washington Post’s Wonkblog!

Looking forward to 2015:
We have so much to look forward to in 2015 at PolicyMap! Continuing our effort to make PolicyMap increasingly user-friendly, we plan to focus on creating analytics and indices that will be intuitive and understandable to our users. Check back on our blog for updates on our approach to income inequality through a “gap map.” And get ready for our download feature coming in 2015 so that you can finally get the data you love in PolicyMap to use as you need it!