Friday, September 13, 2013

Big Data in Utah

Big data is important, even in a small state like Utah.  Over the years, data continues to grow, it seldom shrinks unless something catastrophic happens, then it disappears.  As data grows, we need to find new ways to analyze and understand it.  New ways to present facts and information that are based on science and a reasonable approach to aggregating and assessing the data.

The tools that we use in government continue to improve and the underlying technologies supporting the data improve as well.  It's important that we also improve the capabilities of our knowledge workers who draw conclusions from and report on the data.

In Utah, we have a growing number of initiatives that are looking at ways to leverage data.  Today, I'll mention a few of those.
The Utah Department of Workforce Services uses big data
to assess characteristics of the population
  1. The Utah Data Alliance
    I met with several of the people behind the Utah Data Alliance yesterday.  It's focussed on education and is a partnership that includes the Utah Office of Education, the Utah System of Higher Education, the Department of Workforce Services, and the Utah College of Applied Technology.  The goal is to develop and maintain a comprehensive statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS) to enable examination of educational progress and outcomes over time, from preschool, and K12 through postsecondary public education and into the workforce.
  2. The Utah Community Data Project
    The UCDP developed the Salt Lake City 2010 Atlas based on in depth small area data and is now looking to expand it's mission statewide. UCDP plans to collect, store, and disseminate community data in an online system that is rich in graphic, tabular, and mapped information.
  3. Utah Department of Health's Big Data Project
    The Office of Public Health Informatics is working on another big data project with very ambitious goals.  The Office aims to sift through hundreds of terabytes of data in order to better understand health issues in Utah and predict and respond to future events. It's just getting underway and will tap into a number of large structured and unstructured data sources.
As these projects move forward, we are assessing the status of to determine what we need to do to make this a more valuable resource. Senator Deidre Henderson is chairing the Utah Transparency Board and has a goal of making more data accessible. The Utah AGRC is also re-examining its strategy to determine the best way to leverage hundreds of terabytes of statewide GIS data to support Utah agencies and the public.

Some of these projects have touch points where they should collaborate.  This is just the beginning, really, of what will become a larger effort to leverage Utah data for the public good.


Unknown said...

Big Data refers to the tremendous explosion in volume and velocity and variety of digital data that is being produced around the world.

David said...

Exactly, these projects will be using data from numerous sources to provide additional meaning to some of our internal data sources to tackle large issues such as public health and education.