Published on Mar 10, 2016
This week, DataMade will be in Denver for NICAR 2016, a yearly conference hosted by Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) on data journalism. We’ll be presenting on the work we’ve been doing and sharing our open source tools for working with, cleaning up and visualizing data.
News nerds, look for us in Denver! We’d love to talk to you!
All four of us will be presenting while at NICAR. Here’s a preview of our sessions:
Forest Gregg, Cathy Deng
Date/Time: Thursday, March 10 at 4:45 p.m.
Location: Denver II
People and corporations are of interest to reporters, but data about them are often messy. Fundamentally, natural language lacks structure and the same thing can be represented in many different ways. In many cases, simple deterministic approaches (e.g. regex) can’t get you very far. We’ll show you some of the powerful tools that DataMade uses to efficiently clean and link the worst data, including dedupe, usaddress, and probablepeople.
Derek Eder, Josh Stewart, Eva Constantaras, Marco Tulio Pires
Date/Time: Friday, March 11 at 10:15 a.m.
Location: Denver III-IV
Let’s face it, most of us work at media houses that are never going to have a full data team. But we have plenty of evidence from around the world that there is another way! Millions of dollars are being poured into the development of tech hubs, open data portals and data-driven think tanks, all of which are collecting fabulous data, building apps and finding amazing stories, none of which ever reach the public. In this session, the people who have created new models for bringing together civic hackers and under-resourced newsrooms to collaborate on data-driven projects will share what it takes to make these partnerships work and evaluate their impact on the public and the media.
Derek will talk about tracking Chicago’s snow plows with ClearStreets.org and the subsequent collaborations with NBC5 Chicago and the Sun-Times on plowing (or not plowing) streets fairly. See his presentation slides here.
Speakers: Eric van Zanten, Donny Bridges
Date/Time: Sunday, March 13 at 9 a.m.
Location: Denver III-IV
At DataMade we’ve found ourselves often needing to handle and organize information about candidates running for office, their campaign committees, how those committees are funded, and ultimately the outcomes of the elections that they are in. As a result, we’ve ended up finding and creating some open source tools to integrate these pieces into an extensible system for tracking this information and tying it to the people who are involved. In this session we’ll share the tools that we’ve assembled and how they might be reused.
We write a lot of open source software for working with, cleaning up, and visualizing data. Here’s some tools we built:
De-duplication and data linking
A python library that quickly performs de-duplication, entity resolution and linking on large, structured data.
Command line tools for using the dedupe python library for deduplicating CSV files.
We have been using dedupe to build the Entity-Focused Data System with the Atlanta Journal Constitution to continually link information about political figures, campaign filings, contracts and lobbyist disclosures to drive investigations.
Parsing messy data
A python library for parsing unstructured United States address strings into components like AddressNumber, StreetName and ZipCode.
A python library for parsing unstructured western name strings into components like GivenName, MiddleInitial, Surname, or Corporation.
Need to parse some messy text? We created a toolkit for making domain-specific probabilistic parsers. To create a parser, all you need is some training data to teach your parser about its domain. We used this framework to build usaddress and parserator.
Bonus! You can also parse names and addresses online without using any code. Check out parserator.datamade.us
Searchable map template
CSV to HTML Table
Depending on the interest, Derek may run an informal session on how to get started using these tools. If you’re interested, ping him on Twitter @derekeder.
data making guide
DataMade’s guide to creating non-destructive, repeatable scripts for extracting, transforming and loading (ETL) data.
site launch checklist
Did you forget to setup Google Analytics again? What about load testing? We created a checklist of final tasks to do before launching a public, open source website or tool.