Last month, the Census Bureau — along with other federal agencies, academic institutions, the tech industry, and private institutions — unveiled over 15 new projects that used open data to create digital tools specifically designed to serve the public.
The projects are all part of The Opportunity Project, now in its fourth year, which coordinates fast-paced tech development sprints over 12 to 14 weeks.
This year, teams tackled two challenges: “Investing in the American Workforce” and “Innovating the 2020 Census.
The sprints bring together teams of technologists, data experts, community leaders, government representatives, and industry leaders, such as Redfin, Zillow and Amazon.
Teams collaborate to address specific challenges faced by federal agencies that serve the needs of the general public.
This year, teams tackled two challenges: “Investing in the American Workforce” and “Innovating the 2020 Census.”
Every year on Demo Day, teams show their innovative products to industry executives, government leaders and the media.
This year, many tech tools focused on community.
“We work with partners to create reports and data tools for understanding well-being and opportunity in America,” noted Kristen Lewis, director for Measure of America, a nonpartisan research group.
Measure of America created the Latino Power Map, which details locations of over 500 Latino nonprofits and 50 well-being indicators for the state of California. The map is designed to help local, state and federal leaders and officials learn about challenges in their community, including counting people in the 2020 Census.
Since its launch in 2016, The Opportunity Project has recognized that one of the greatest challenges associated with technology development is product sustainability and adoption. This year, it awarded five $20,000 prizes in different categories to assist organizations in continuing to deploy valuable data tools to the public.
Drew Zachary, co-founder and director of The Opportunity Project, said panels of over 50 government and industry experts judged the competing products.
The products were evaluated on their design quality, cross-sector collaboration, use of federal data, sustainability and impact.
The 2019 Prize Challenge winners:
The following groups received honorable mentions for their outstanding products and work: Emsi, Public Democracy, Ovela and Girls Computing League.
Garrison M. Anderson is a Presidential Management Fellow in the U.S. Census Bureau’s Public Information Office.
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