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The Opportunity Project Demo Week Press Kit

About The Opportunity Project

Wednesday, December 9, 2020The Opportunity Project is a collaborative effort among government agencies, technology companies, start-ups, universities, and nongovernment organizations to translate open data into user-centered tools that help families, communities and businesses nationwide solve real-world problems. To date, more than 1,500 people, 30 federal agencies, and 100s of organizations have participated in TOP sprints - resulting in over 100 new open data tools including apps, websites, games and more.

This year’s conference features 24 sessions including keynotes, lightning talks and discussions on government innovation, open data strategy, and technology for good.

Our Earth-themed sprints focused on natural and built environment challenges, in collaboration with EPA, USDA, OMB, the State Department, HUD, the Wilson Center, USA for UNHCR, and more than 300 sprint participants. We’ll feature 35+ new tools -- our biggest year yet -- created through the sprints, and the launch of the TOPx toolkit for federal agencies. Demo Week is a celebration of the work accomplished this year and the values this program embodies:

  • Collaboration across sectors and silos
  • Human-centered design as a critical part of data and technology
  • Lifting up the voices of those too often left out of conversations about data and tech
  • The power of “building with, not for”
  • The promise of government innovation and the future of civic tech

This event also marks the 5 year anniversary of The Opportunity Project, and will highlight the lessons learned for the Census Bureau and government agencies at large.

Agenda (subject to change)

Wednesday, Dec. 9-11, 2020

12pm - 5pm - Keynotes & Lightning Talks

New Tools


Reducing Plastic Pollution in Oceans- State/Wilson Center


Esri, a leading GIS software company, participated in The Opportunity Project for the third time. They created the Esri Story Map, an interactive storytelling product for the general public to help people understand the impact of plastic waste and the detriment it poses to our oceans on a global scale. This product aims to energize public consciousness and provide new insights into the problem of ocean plastic pollution, offering actions for citizens and policymakers worldwide to solve the crisis. Esri uses data from US EPA, INTERPOL, the Earth Challenge 2020 Citizen Science Portal, and multiple national and international sources to create the ESRI Story Map.

Code for Tucson

Code for Tucson, a member of the Code for America brigade network, created a game called Sea Scavenger to educate casual gamers about the types of plastic pollution found in various locations and about the circular economy. This product uses the Earth Challenge Integrated Data: Top 10 Sources of Plastic Pollution by Country dataset for production and waste mismanagement percentages.

Penn Data Science Group

Penn Data Science Group, the Data Science community at the University of Pennsylvania, built a web application depicting a story map about how plastics end up in the ocean and ultimately the food chain, conveying to the public the complexities of micro and macroplastics’ effects on human health and food consumption. The tool uses two sources of federal data, CitizenScience Cloud and ourworldindata.


IBM, a multinational technology company, built a web application called Marine Litter Tracker that seeks to inform on litter density and pollution in specific regions across the world in collaboration with UN Environment. The product also shows cleanups that have happened globally, and how these cleanups compare by country. The product used Earth Challenge 2020 data. 

Helping the Public Understand the Effects of Transportation Emissions on Local Air Quality- EPA

OpenAQ, a nonprofit focused on empowering communities around the world with access to open data on air quality, built a tool that helps community groups understand the air quality landscape, how it affects the local community and identify areas with poor air quality and back it up with data. Their product uses EPA AirNow data, and allows organizations focused on environmental justice, advocacy, and health issues to use this tool to understand local air quality and empowers them with data to advocate for better policies and change.

Safecast + Columbia University

Safecast partnered with Columbia University uses Safecast Air Quality data to build a tool for Los Angeles librarians which allows them to easily query and visualize raw air quality data across time and area.

Enabling Aerial and Geospatial Data to Aid Agricultural Decision-Making- USDA
New Light Technologies

New Light Technologies built the Precision Ag for American Farmer (PAGAF) product, which provides free precision agriculture services to farmers and agronomists who traditionally do not have access due to cost or other accessibility issues. This allows farmers to identify the amount of nitrogen needed in each area of their field and to feed this information directly to a tractor, which helps them to improve important farming decisions. The product uses NAIP aerial imagery data for agriculture from USDA as well as other free data sources such as Sentinel.  


Mapbox uses NAIP imagery to build ‘NAIP Viewer’ which provides a gentle on-ramp and makes it very simple to explore imagery for users at USDA and the farmers they serve. This product helps to enable the use of geospatial imagery that can assist those in the agricultural industry with critical decision making and planning.


Geosurge uses NAIP imagery to build the technology for open cost-effective fully-interactive learning modules which make it easier for farmers and students to learn about NAIP. We are in the process of building a NAIP download site that allows users to select an area on a map and download a GeoTIFF with 4 bands of NAIP. 

Developing Effective and Efficient Markets for Recycled Materials- EPA
Eco Bloc

Eco Bloc is a B2B marketplace that connects stakeholders in the recycling industry to create a strong circular economy. Their product enables recyclers who have recycling materials for sale to be able to list their products and connect with buyers (manufactures or consumers of recyclable materials) who are able to find places to purchase recyclable materials locally. This platform enables recyclers and consumers to connect locally which helps to further the circular economy and reduce the amount of waste generated by lost recyclable material.  

  • Sprint Participant POC: Ali Akil, co-founder of Eco Bloc 
  • Email: Ali@ecobloc.io  

SAP’s solution for the Chicago Circular Economy, aims to empower city officials to make informed decisions around waste management that lead to transparency, investment and job creation. This product uses a variety of federal open data sets from EPA, Census, and other agencies to clearly communicate valuable information to city officials and other end users. 

Resource Recycling Systems

RRS primarily uses economic census data and material flow data to build TruCycle MRF, bringing transparency to and grading Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) on their operations to reveal opportunities for improvement. This certification intends to be utilized for public agencies that may own or manage MRFs, MRFs themselves who are aiming to operate effectively and be top candidates for contracts, haulers who utilize MRFs, and corporations who maybe focused on closing the loop of their products.

For a full list of New Tools please visit The Opportunity Project product showcase site and select '2020'.


Tracking the Impact of Emergency and Disaster Funding- OMB

Baruch College

Baruch College created a product that tracks the flow of COVID-19 related spending by the federal government and assesses its impact on economic recovery, and is aimed at empowering state and local governments with more information about how their community is being helped with federal funding. The product currently uses USA spending data and is being further developed to integrate federal flows with state and local spending.


Alteryx created the Emergency & Disaster Funding Tracking product which tracks and analyzes the impact of disaster relief funding for mitigation and recovery efforts utilizing big data and aerial imagery in conjunction with advanced analytics, including predictive and geo-spatial technologies. This product aims to help federal agencies responsible for managing appropriating, distributing, tracking emergency/disaster funds, state agencies responsible for managing, appropriating and distributing emergency/disaster funding, and other quasi-gov’t agencies and private sector companies. This product integrates FEMA, USASpending, Census, Department of Labor, Public Assistance datasets. 

Urban Footprint

Urban Footprint, an intelligence platform for smart cities, uses federal open data to showcase the results of COVID-19 on businesses and communities and the impact federal funding has had to aid those communities on a range of several indexes. Specifically, with an angle on food security, the Food Security Index is a dynamic index that measures the need and change of food insecurity down to the block group level on a weekly basis. These indexes can help inform local organizations, policy and decision makers on where the next level of assistance should be delivered. 

Assisting Recently Resettled Refugees- USA for UNHCR

Georgetown University

Georgetown University’s Refugee Assist product makes resources more easily available for refugees during and after the resettlement process and uses WRAPSnet and BroadbandUSA data. This product seeks to bridge the accessibility to services gap within resettled refugee populations and will also include the development of a hotline feature that will further support these efforts. 

USA Hello & SAS

USAHello & SAS ’s tool, FindHello, helps connect immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers connect with vital resources in their area— like legal support, housing, food and healthcare services, education and more. The tool uses a unique data set built in partnership with service organizations. This product utilizes data from the FindHello database and the U.S. State Department’s WRAPSNET data.


Mapbox and Graphicacy built a tool for recently resettled refugees to not only locate vital services within their area, but also see the landscape of refugees around the United States by country of origin. This product uses data from the U.S. State Department's WRAPSNET and Charity Navigator, and aims to assist both refugees and nonprofits helping refugee communities. 

Paving a Path to Economic Self-Sufficiency for Low Income Families- HUD 


Organizational Performance Systems (OPS1) uses federal open data, user advocate knowledge, and subject matter expertise to build the cloud-based EnVision App. This product aims to serve low income families and individuals by connecting them to a platform that helps them assess their strengths and needs, identify supporting resources (service providers, mentors, and coaches), set goals, create roadmaps, receive prompts to stay on track, and gain tangible rewards for their success in increasing their economic self-sufficiency. Lives can get better, families can get healthier, and communities can win. 

 Julius Education

The Julius Career Journey Program brings job opportunities and career maps to life, enabling better navigation to training and jobs in high demand occupations. This product connects local employers with local talent that fit specific needs for frontline jobs and careers, which also have unique career paths that can serve job seekers better in the long term. This product uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 


Emsi developed a tool that identifies career opportunities called Self-Sufficiency Pathways to allow career coaches and case managers to help people move away from needing supplemental assistance. The tool uses a variety of federal open data, including HUD services and benefits programs. After completing buildout of the product, the tool will deploy locally in Atlanta to better understand market viability and needs before scaling for implementation in other regions.  

Tech Levitate

Tech Levitate developed Envision Success, which utilizes AI technology to help case managers assist low income families moving toward economic self-sufficiency.

Council Exchange Board of Trade

The Council Exchange Board of Trade uses federal open data to build the American Community Collaboration Platform which is developed as a digital community collaboration platform that brings efficiency and efficacy to entitlement reform.  ACCP utilizing a technology stack and a governed ecosystem model that ensures for sustained innovation and program alignment through cross-federal agency collaboration, citizen design and participation, supplier integration, application development and a systematic approach to harmonizing outcomes.

Innovative Solution Consortium

The Innovative Solution Consortium uses both federal open data, publicly available data and User Generated Content to compliment a virtual innovation platform product (iDISPLA) to provide a 360-degree engagement of citizens to the HUD problem statement- how to address rising out of poverty through self-sufficiency.

Facilitating Sustainable Rural Economic Development- EPA

Center on Rural Innovation

The Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) created the Tech Talent Tool designed to help rural leaders understand their tech ecosystems, from identifying local tech employers to assessing area residents’ digital skills.   This product specifically aims to assist rural economic development leaders and ecosystem builders in small communities with understanding the pipeline for tech talent recruitment and retainment in their communities. It wields Census county-level data to create detailed maps and charts on key metrics such as employment in digital jobs, graduation rates in the computer science field, and broadband connectivity—providing comparisons to peer counties or the nation as a whole. It used data from several sources including the Department of Education College Scorecard, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis and other third party data. 

Citi Ventures

City Builder by Citi provides data-driven transparency into communities’ needs, so investors can create targeted positive impact through local investments. This product is aimed at community investors and decision makers in charge of finding communities and industries to invest in, and can help them make more informed decisions when investing in rural opportunity zones. This product uses datasets from the Census Bureau, FCC, and CDC. 

Tierra Plan

TeleCommunity uses federal data to facilitate rural economic development by connecting remote workers with rural communities.


Facilitating Sustainable Rural Economic Development- EPA

 Youth Mappers

Youth Mappers, an international network of university-student-led chapters, developed Broadband Transparency Tool, an interactive, open sourced map to help local communities understand and share their broadband access using broadband speed testing. This product uses Census ACS, FCC Form 477, and NTIA data. 

Columbia University Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences Masters Program

Columbia’s data interpretation tool uses Census and EPA data to help residents, businesses and developers in a local community sort publicly available data for metrics that drive sustainable economic development to inform their decision making process and allow them to better understand the community’s assets and challenges.

Syracuse University iConsult Collaborative

Syrcuse’s product uses EPA, Census, NBRC, and USDA data to help small business owners create meaningful connections, navigate local resources and provide them with business advising solutions.

Reducing Plastic Pollutions in Oceans- State/Wilson Center 

Georgetown University, Beeck Center

Georgetown’s dashboard educates students on the effects of plastic pollution, tracks plastics on Georgetown’s campus, shows university leadership and students the effectiveness of university policies over time and engages students on collecting and tracking plastic waste in their communities. The product uses Earth Challenge 2020 data. 

Rutgers Computer Science Capstone Course

The Rutgers product allows volunteers and organizers of beach clean up events to track progress and increase engagement by suggesting future beach cleanup, predicting number of volunteers needed, and more. 

Harvard Institute of Politics

Harvard’s website uses NOAA Marine Debris Tracker and other federal open data to provide information and data about lost fishing gear, including location, regulations, and initiatives.

George Mason University Data & Computer Science Independent Study

George Mason’s dashboard uses TIDES, NOAA Marine Debris Tracker, Marine Litter Watch, MDMAP to help policymakers evaluate the effectiveness of enacted policies related to ocean plastic pollution.

Helping the Public Understand Transportation Emissions- EPA
Rutgers-IDEA Program (Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship Academy)

Better Air, Better Schools is a website that uses EPA School Bus Rebate Program data to help students ages 7-10 learn about air pollution and what they can do to reduce the harmful effects of idling and diesel emissions. This product aims to educate and empower young students with information so they can be the catalyst for change, by bringing this information to their parents and teachers. 

American University Data Science Program

American University’s product helps DC government officials understand the relationship between traffic and air-quality, real time using real-time traffic, Open Data DC, Federal Highway Administration, and EPA data. Through conducting user research with DC government and other community advocates, this team was able to create a product using local data for local government which will influence their local policy making.

George Mason University Data & Computer Science Independent Study

George Mason University’s dashboard uses NEI and American Lung Association data to allow individuals with air quality related health conditions who are moving to an area, to better understand their new community’s air quality.

TOPx: Reimagining Civics Education for the Next Generation

Syracuse University iConsult Collaborative

Edubuddy uses foreign assistance data to increase engagement in secondary civics education through a series of informational modules with quizzes focused on foreign assistance

Suffolk University

Civics Studio uses foreign assistance data to create an interactive learning experience about foreign assistance for students featuring full teacher visibility and easy classroom integration

Bites Media

Bites Media uses foreign assistance data to offer a series of news and information modules on foreign aid, federal budget, diplomacy, strategic initiatives, and an overview of the State Department for middle and high school students


Wilbur L. Ross, Jr., Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce

Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Dr. Steven Dillingham, director, U.S. Census Bureau

Ron S. Jarmin, deputy director and chief operating officer, U.S. Census Bureau

James L. Richardson , director, Office of Foreign Assistance, U.S. Department of State 

Jenna Jambeck, PhD, award-winning explorer, Environmental Engineer, National Geographic

Jim Richardson, Director of the Office of Foreign Assistance, U.S. Department of State

Aden Van Noppen, Founder and Executive Director, Mobius

Ja’Ron Smith, former Assistant to the President, current Executive Director of the Center for Advancing Opportunity

Social Media

Join the conversation online using #OpportunityProject and follow @uscensusbureau in your Social Media posts.

Page Last Revised - December 16, 2021
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