Citizens’ Committee for Children (CCC) uses data in its own advocacy and efforts empowering individuals, community service providers, and other advocates with data and data visualization tools to explore and analyze community resources across multiple domains of support for child and family well-being, such as education, health, housing, and services specific for youth. Since we launched the “Map Community Resources” tool, it has helped visitors to Keeping Track Online discover areas of the city
How I Started
The “Map Community Resources” tool is the most recent addition to the Keeping Track Online platform—a database housing hundreds of indicators of child well-being in New York City. With this tool, users can determine the presence or lack of resources across all 59 NYC community districts.
How I Built This
Map Community Resources tool was added to Keeping Track Online in February 2017, but the process started in 2015 while CCC was conducting its first, in-depth community assessment analysis in Brownsville, Brooklyn. While working with community-based organizations in Brownsville, we found agreement in the readily available data about the neighborhood: the data exclusively focused on risks presented an incomplete picture of the community. We decided to complement indicators of risk with data on community assets including public and privately-operated services and support programs, and infrastructure in a community.
During this process, we also met with several city agencies (e.g. Department of City Planning, Department of Youth & Community Development) to determine the preliminary list of assets to include in our tool, as well as how to obtain the data and keep it up to date. Since the launch of the tool, we continue to modify and improve the Keeping Track Online web platform based on the new availability of data and needs of our partner organizations.
The “Map Community Resources” tool draws from the following sources:
- More than 10 NYC Open Data datasets, including the four listed above
- New York State Open Data datasets
- Data available through city and state agencies’ websites or portals, which in some cases is the only place where data live (We also use data from city and state agencies’ websites to cross reference with NYC Open Data datasets to ensure the most up-to-date and complete data.
- Federal agencies
- Unpublished data from NYC agencies
Our typical workflow with NYC Open Data datasets consists of:
- Obtaining additional clarification about the dataset we want to use with NYC Open Data Help Desk
- Downloading data in a CSV or shapefile format
- If needed, geocoding it using Geosupport Desktop Edition geocoding package
- Preparing the data in a format for upload to Keeping Track Online platform
- Updating all assets annually or biennially, depending on the nature of individual asset types
Marija Drobnjak is a member of Citizens' Committee for Children (CCC) Research and Data team, responsible for maintaining and updating the Keeping Track Online tool and producing CCC’s biennial Keeping Track of New York City's Children data report. In addition to these, she conducts GIS and data analysis on a wide range of topics to inform CCC’s data-driven publications, community needs assessments, and other products.