Data Day 2009

Data Day 2009

Curry Student Center, Northeastern University Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

About Data Day

Data Day 2009 received an overwhelming response with over 350 in-person attendees and over 100 participating in the webcast over the course of the day.

Data Day is biennial conference to help communities expand their capacity to use technology and data to advance their goals. At Data Day, nonprofit organizations, civic institutions and municipalities come together to see the latest in technology and tools and learn how other groups are using data to support and advance constructive change. This conference is sponsored by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Northeastern University, and The Boston Indicators Project. Data Day serves to facilitate learning among participants at all levels of technical proficiency, with opportunities to share accomplishments, frustrations and aspirations. It is structured around a series of "how to" interactive workshops in which people who work with data will explain what they do, explore data sources, and guide participants on gathering and using data.

Conference Materials


  • East Somerville Community Mapping Project (Somerville Community Corporation) (view PDF)
  • Housing Downturn and Recovery: Spotlight on Lawrence, MA (Jerry Riordan) (view PDF)
  • A Human Development Overlay District in Chinatown (MAPC) (view PDF)
  • Data-Driven Affordable Housing Finance Workshops (Asian Community Development Corporation) (view PDF)
  • MetroBoston DataCommon User Profiles and Products (view PDF)


Marc Draisen Executive Director, Metropolitan Area Planning Council


Keynote: "The Economic Crisis and Urban Neighborhoods" Dr. Barry Bluestone Director, Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, Northeastern University (view PDF)


Exploring Your Community Through Data A panel discussion of experts answering the attendees questions on public health, housing, crime, and economic development discuss how to use data to create community change. - Holly St. Clair, MAPC - Richard O'Bryant, Northeastern University, D.J. Wilson, Massachusetts Municipal Association, Brianne Beagan, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Ann Verrilli, Citizens' Housing and Planning Association


Using Indicators to Drive Community Change (View video)

A discussion of how data and indicators can be used to drive and track community change. - Charlotte Kahn, The Boston Indicators Project (view PDF) - Richard O'Bryant, Northeastern: "Changing Boston: Overview of Black Political Participation and Development," "Build It, but They May not Come ... Unless" (view PDF) (view handout) - Holly St. Clair, Metropolitan Area Planning Council

Introduction to Data Mapping (Hands-on computer session)

An introduction to data mapping concepts and techniques, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS). - Chris Brown, MAPC (view PDF)

Introduction to the U.S. Census and Simple Reports (Hands-on computer session)

Learn about the wealth of data in the U.S. Census and how to quickly find facts and figures on the Census Bureau website. - Arthur Bakis and Norman Eng, U.S. Census Bureau (view PDF)

Understanding Public Health in Your Community: Asthma, MassCHIP, and Environmental Public Health Tracking

Come hear about asthma data included in the latest Burden of Asthma report and the strategic state asthma plan. Explore how to investigate public health data using the Commonwealth's MassCHIP on-line health database. Finally, learn about a brand new environmental health resource for communities! - Saul Franklin, Office of Health and Human Services - Carrie Huisingh, Kathleen Fitzsimmons, Jan Sullivan, and Bob Knorr, Department of Public Health - Resources: MassCHIP System, Environmental Public Health Tracking Website, Asthma Strategic Plan 2009-2014, Burden of Asthma 2009, Other asthma resources

How to Ask and Answer a Community's Questions

Learn about innovative community data gathering and mapping projects in Somerville. - Meridith Levy, Somerville Community Corporation (view PDF)

Housing & Foreclosure Data - CHAPA's New Database

A dialogue on the resources and unique challenges to researching housing, foreclosures, and mortgage lending, featuring the CHAPA Foreclosure Database. - Ann Verrilli, Citizens' Housing and Planning Association

Free Web Tools to Analyze Data and Create Maps (Hands-on computer session)

Discover free and easy-to-use Internet tools to create interactive maps, charts, and visuals with your data. - Robert Goodspeed and Manisha Bewtra, MAPC (view PDF)

Public Data Mapping in Massachusetts: Opportunities for Collaboration Government agencies showcase their mapping websites. Join the discussion on lessons learned, best practices, and potential opportunities to collaborate.

Ensuring That All Are Counted in Census 2010: How Minority and Low Income Communities Can Prepare

A dialog on the role of the U.S. Census, how it will be conducted, and what unique challenges face minority and low income communities. - Holly St. Clair, MAPC (moderator) - Cesar A. Monzon, U.S. Census Bureau - Avi Green, MassVote - Ramon Soto, City of Boston - Paulo Pinto, Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers


Excellence in Information Infrastructure Christian Jacqz, Commonwealth Office of Geographic and Environmental Information (MassGIS)

Data Champion Award State Representative Jeffrey S�nchez

Excellence in Capturing Local Knowledge Meridith Levy, Somerville Community Corporation

Excellence in Neighborhood Empowerment Jeremy Liu, Asian Community Development Corporation

AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS (Sessions run concurrently)

Complete Count Committee Training (view PDF) (view handout)

Community-based groups, local officials, and individuals all have a role to play in making sure their communities are counted. This session will highlight concrete steps you can take so that your constituents are not overlooked in Census 2010. Community members and public officials who will be helping prepare their communities for Census 2010 should attend this workshop - Robert Goodspeed, MAPC - Tia Costello, U.S. Census Bureau

A Journey Through the Boston Indicators Project Website (Hands-on computer session)

Learn to track change in Boston and Greater Boston using the data and resources on the Boston Indicators Project website. - Jessica Martin, The Boston Foundation

Creating Custom Maps with the MetroBoston DataCommon (Hands-on computer session)

Learn how to conduct research and create custom maps using the Metro Boston Data Common website. - Chris Brown and Tim Reardon, MAPC

Finding Detailed Information and Custom Reports Using Census American FactFinder (Hands-on computer session)

Explore how to create custom reports, find timely data, and more from the U.S. Census Bureau�s FactFinder website. - Arthur Bakis, U.S. Census Bureau (view PDF) (view handout)

Open Indicators Consortium: Open Source Data and Mapping Systems

A discussion about an innovative and open-source software program to visualize data online and technology trends of web services, open source software and interoperability standards. - Andy Dufilie, UMass Lowell/Open Indicators Consortium (view PDF)
- Joe Ferreira, MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning (view PDF)
- Charlotte Kahn, The Boston Foundation
- Raj Singh, Open Geospatial Consortium (view PDF)
- Holly St. Clair, MAPC

Conducting an Environmental Audit of Walkability

A chance to get outside for a hands-on experience in primary data collection. We will guide you through the systematic observation of city streets to assess walkability. - Mariana Arcaya and David Loutzenheiser, MAPC - Materials by Day, K., Boarnet, M., Alfonzo, M. & Forsyth, A. Minnesota Inventory for observation of physical environment features linked to physical activity codebook, Walkability audit score sheet, Irvine Minnesota Inventory page on Active Living Research, list of other tools and measures for assessing streets, parks, playgrounds, and more