Data for Decision-Making

Use of your data to inform complex decisions and understand your impact

Why get help with data for decision-making?

We’re surrounded by data, from both legacy paper systems and new digital sources, but viewing, connecting, and analyzing it requires specialized tools. U.S. Digital Response (USDR) enables decision makers by providing the expertise to build data pipelines and draw conclusions from large data sets to inform policy and delivery.

If your data isn't meeting your needs, reach out to get help in the following ways:

  • Data hygiene. USDR can improve the quality of incoming data to make manipulation more manageable and save manual time and effort.
  • Data infrastructure. USDR can design data schemas for new or existing data, set up the infrastructure or hosting, and connect data sources via APIs.
  • Data Science. USDR can analyze complex data sets and display results in a report or dashboard to support decision-making.

Selected case studies

California Citizens Redistricting Commission
Using public input to keep communities together in voting districts

The state of California reached out to USDR to support their 2021 redistricting process, in which a Citizens Redistricting Commission is required to collect public input on coherent communities with the goal of keeping them together in new districts. The Commission had a tool to collect geographic data from user-drawn maps, but needed a way to digitize and store the unstructured feedback mechanisms, including public forums, email, and phone calls.

The USDR volunteer team deployed a database for digitized comments and a cloud storage system to hold any images, maps, or other artifacts associated with the inputs. By building the back-end systems to ingest, hold, and show the data, the Commission was able to accept over 35,000 pieces of public input and make them publicly available.

Read the full case study »Read more about this project »
Team members
Phil Zigoris
Data Management Advisor
,
Freelance
Arlington County Office of Voter Registration & Elections
Understanding voter turnout in Arlington County

Leading up to their 2021 elections, leaders in Arlington county wanted a tool to rebuild trust in the elections process by transparently showing what voters were doing in real time. They envisioned a dashboard that would display live information on the number of votes cast by type of voting and how many mailed ballots were counted, outstanding, or returned.

A USDR volunteer first worked closely with Arlington to wrangle their data sources into the right format and build connections between them. They then focused on how best to visualize the wealth of data, ultimately building out a map that allows users to click into individual precincts to see a breakdown of ballots. The result was delivered on top of internal tools and launched in time for their November 2, 2021 election.

Read the full case study »Read more about this project »
Team members
Lauren Fishburn
Solutions Architect
,
D2iQ
Kammi Foote
Clerk-Recorder & Registrar of Voters
,
Inyo County
Nationwide
Sharing vaccine appointment data

USDR built a publicly available platform for leaders to access vaccine appointment data and conducted analysis on factors such as appointment availability outside working hours, equity in availability and flexibility, and correlations between appointment flexibility and vaccination rate. Each of the angles studied provided policy implications for increasing the vaccination rate, e.g. providing paid time off for hourly workers to get their vaccine during working hours.

Beyond retroactive insights, the platform can support smart policy and operational decisions with a wide range of data offerings, like systematic reporting, dashboards monitoring critical vaccination supply and demand metrics, cross-geo comparisons, metric threshold alerting, and custom analyses. We released the data and code as open source.

Read the full case study »Read more about this project »
Team members
Jan Overgoor
Former Health Technologist-in-Residence
,
US Digital Response
Left
Right

Meet the team

Dara Straussman
Dara has spent five years as a data scientist. Before, she completed her PhD in Computational Immunology. At USDR, she’s worked with the State of Connecticut on the data pipelines powering their economic recovery dashboard and school model map.
Dhivya Ravindran
Dhivya is a Microsoft certified full-stack data scientist, machine learning engineer, and software engineer with >7 years of full-time experience. She's worked on 6 pro bono projects with USDR.
Jan Overgoor
Jan was the Data Lead for the Health Program. He recently obtained his PhD in computational social science from Stanford University, and before that he was a data scientist at Airbnb.
Robert Martin
Robert is USDR’s Engineer-in-Residence for the Rapid Response Program. He brings 10 years of experience in the public sector, and was previously a Senior Software Engineer at the City of Philadelphia where he worked on civic data tools.
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