Stanford Social Innovation Review

Stanford Social Innovation Review

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Deborah Elizabeth F.

Deborah Elizabeth

Democratizing regional data and on the relaunched Boston Indicators web site: A few thoughts

Moderator at Mission-Based Massachusetts

First of all, a personal resolution:  I will not whine. The Boston Indicators Project, which is an initiative by the Boston Foundation and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, relau...

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  • December 21, 2012
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  • Daniel B.


    Daniel B.

    President, CEO at Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC

    I've followed the Boston Indicators Project since around 2005 and I've been trying to harness GIS technology to support planning as well as to support capacity building across an entire geo region. Over the past few years a growing amount of data visualization has been growing with hubs in many urban areas making loads of data available. I think this offers tremendous potential. However, until we can find ways to recruit data-scientists volunteers and paid staff to work with social sector organizations to create these data visualizations, along with communications/marketing/creative people who will add their talents so the data tells the story we need to communicate and reaches a growing number of the people we need to get involved, most of this will be underutilized.

    I've hosted a conference in Chicago every May and November since 1994 and in each I've put up examples of maps and visualizations on display to encourage use and to draw support for the map-making.

    I would love to have some workshops on data-visualization and use of visualizations in marketing and capacity building, who would show users how they could use these indicators projects to build and use their own visualizations. Seems to me this could be an on-going partnership of area universities with the social benefit sector.

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