Workshop – August 16 in Santa Fe Exploring New Mexico Neighborhood Data With Online Tools and Maps
Jul 24th, 2019 by Tom Johnson


Santa Fe – A public workshop on finding, analyzing and communicating government data will be held Aug. 16 from 8:00 a.m. to noon in the Santa Fe New Mexican conference room, .

The free event will give non-profit staff members, community organizers, public employees and interested citizens hands-on experience finding, downloading and analyzing data from local, state and national data bases. 

Such data and its analysis are key aspects for writing grant applications, managing and assessing projects and explaining goals and results to funding agencies, bosses, boards of directors and the public.

The event is co-sponsored by It’s The People’s Data, New Mexico Community Data Collaborative, Inst. For Analytic Journalism, NM Foundation for Open Government, ConAlma Health Foundation and the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Participants will have a chance to explore more than 750 New Mexico data bases related to public health, traffic safety, education, and the environment.  Such techniques can also be applied to interpreting crime statistics, campaign contributions and election results. 

Typically, the data can be displayed as maps.  Data and maps are powerful tools to enrich  community assessment and participatory decision-making.

Space is limited to 20.  If interested, register at and bring your laptop.


Questions?  Contact:
Tom Johnson – It’s The People’s Data – 505-473-9646

Tom Scharman  
NM Office of Community Assessment, Planning and Evaluation
505-897-5700 ext 126

Interesting Tool of the Week: Quadrigam – Connecting two visualizers
Aug 18th, 2015 by Tom Johnson

Take me to Quadrigam

Connect two visualizers

All of the charts have input data and output data. You can synchronize two charts just using the output data element of the first chart as the input data element of the second chart. You can even build formulas based on data outputs, like for instance using the element selected in a control list to be part of a formula which filters a given datasset based on one column which elements match with the selected element in the control list. Charts use to have two main data outputs:

  • On over: When on over with the mouse, the element will be the data output of that chart.
  • Selection: When clicking on a given element of a chart (e.g: a serie in a Line chart) that will be the output element that can be synchronize with another chart. In Maps, we also have “zoom” and “center” which make super easy to syncrhonize, for instance, two maps (the zoom and center of the first map act as input data elements of the second map).
The Guardian view on geography: it’s the must-have A-level
Aug 13th, 2015 by Tom Johnson

It used to be a Cinderella subject. Now, in a world that increasingly values people who can work across the physical and social sciences, geography’s all the rage

Aerial view of Surfers Paradise, Australia
 ‘Geographers learn about the physics of climate change, or the interaction of weather events and flood risk, or the way people’s behaviour is influenced by the space around them.’ Above, Surfers Paradise, on the Gold Coast, Australia. Photograph: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

A star is born. Geography, for so long a Cinderella subject, the easy option for students who found physics or chemistry too daunting, is soaring in popularity. According to the Royal Geographical Society, 13% more took the subject at A-level this year than last, up to 37,100 – the biggest jump of any of the major subjects.

Part of the explanation is Michael Gove’s determination to make schools focus on more traditional academic subjects at GCSE and A-level, rather than general studies or critical thinking. That is good for those who can benefit from a narrower academic focus, but not so much for those who struggle. It may be, however, that the bigger reason is that geography is a subject for our times. It is inherently multidisciplinary in a world that increasingly values people who have the skills needed to work across the physical and social sciences. Geographers get to learn data analysis, and to read Robert Macfarlane. They learn geographic information systems. They can turn maps from a two-dimensional representation of a country’s physical contours into a tool that illustrates social attributes or attitudes: not just where people live, but how, what they think and how they vote. They learn about the physics of climate change, or the interaction of weather events and flood risk, or the way people’s behaviour is influenced by the space around them.

All these are not just intrinsically interesting and valuable. They also encourage ways of seeing and thinking that make geographers eminently employable, which is why, according to the latest information from the Higher Education Careers Services Unit, only 5.8% of geography graduates were still job-hunting six months after they graduated, against an average of 7.3%. So, year 9, globalisation: good or bad? And for whom?

DigitalGlobe Partners With Mapbox To Launches Its Maps API
Aug 13th, 2015 by Tom Johnson

Very high quality satellite imagery integrated into the MapBox APIs and SLA:
​From the post:
Most developers, however, don’t just want pretty satellite imagery (with resolutions of down to 30 centimeter per pixel in some regions). They also need street data and other information. To offer developers that, the company has partnered with Mapbox, an OpenStreetMap-based mapping service. Mapbox will distribute DigitalGlobe’s imagery and back the service with an SLA.​
​This seems like a huge deal especially if the data can be used for Live Texture or other ​image computations.
​ Thanks to Owen Densmore


7/7 Webinar: Excel Basics for Analyzing Health Data
Jun 26th, 2015 by Tom Johnson

Paul Overberg is one of the very best in our business.  Yeah, we’re old friends, but he’s still one of the best.  Take advantage of what he will have to say.

With the explosion of public health data online, more journalists than ever need analytical tools in their daily work. This webinar will teach newcomers how to use a spreadsheet to do simple data cleanup and analysis for journalism. The webinar will be led by Paul Overberg, former data editor of USA Today.

Excellent progress at the City of Albuquerque’s Open Data site
Jun 23rd, 2015 by Tom Johnson

Kudos to the City of Albuquerque for its ABQ Data site at   Especially helpful is that it includes links to the data set’s Metadata —  Something not see enough.  Bravo, señores, bravo.

Fiscal Data Visualisations
Jun 22nd, 2015 by Tom Johnson

Some fascinating of data visualizations from around the world compiled by Jonathan Gray.  This demonstrates that the concept “Open Data” wasn’t just discovered this year.  Check out

PDF Tables: Outstanding tool extracts tables to Excel
Jun 13th, 2015 by Tom Johnson

I just gave this a spin using the City of Santa Fe 2015 budget, a 150-pager.  Seemed to be very fast in the conversion and quite accurate.  Unless you need the text, it is even faster if you edit out text pages and just run those pages containing the desired tables.  The result is that each page becomes a separate Excel page, then they can be sliced-and-diced as necessary.

Kudos to the ScraperWiki folks.

Accurately extract tables from PDFs
No more time consuming and error prone copying and pasting


When data journalism meets science
Jun 11th, 2015 by Tom Johnson

We missed this when originally published last fall, but still quite timely.  And we didn’t know of the existence of the International School of Science Journalism.

When data journalism meets science 

Introductory lesson about data journalism within science journalism and science communication during the International School of Science Journalism 2014 in Erice (June 10th, 2014)


New CMS can help monetizing quality journalism (FFx)
May 30th, 2015 by Tom Johnson

Good piece by Frederic Filloux

Monetizing digital journalism requires one key ingredient: Causing quality contents to emerge from the internet’s background noise. New kinds of Content Management Systems and appropriate syntax can help in a decisive way. 

Until now, mining good journalism from the web’s depths has been done from the top. Over the last 13 years, looking for “signals” that flag quality content has been at the core of Google News: With a search engine scanning and ranking 50,000 sources in 30 languages and 72 editions, its inventor, the famous computer Scientist Krishna Bharat, has taken his extraordinary breakthrough to an immense scale. [more]

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