Virtual Virginia Datathon will use state portal to develop applications that address impacts of health crisis
RICHMOND, VA (STL.News) Governor Ralph Northam today announced that the Virginia Open Data Portal now includes more than a dozen new COVID-19 datasets from the Virginia Department of Health. The launch of the new Virginia Open Data Portal, which is a collaboration between the Office of the Chief Data Officer and the Library of Virginia, was accelerated amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to provide greater access to the data informing public health officials and allow Virginians to interact with it.
“Every day this public health crisis reminds us why data is one of the most valuable resources in state government,” said Governor Northam. “Our goal is to harness data to promote efficiency, increase transparency, and develop innovative solutions to the challenges we face. This expansion of the Virginia Open Data Portal will make the data driving our decisions available to all Virginians and empower people across the Commonwealth to engage in our ongoing COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.”
The Virginia Open Data Portal was launched in 2014 by Governor Terry McAuliffe to provide centralized access to data across state agencies and create a platform where Virginians can interpret, analyze, and transform the data into actionable intelligence. Within the portal, users can view stories and dashboards, create visualizations, filter data, and access it through application programming interfaces (APIs) to build solutions in web and mobile applications. A list of COVID-19 datasets can be found on the Virginia Open Data Portal.
“Secure and appropriate data sharing is fundamental to the success of our society because information supports engagement,” said Chief Data Officer Carlos Rivero. “The Commonwealth’s data is a strategic asset that when leveraged, can drive innovation, increase quality of life, and stimulate economic growth.”
The 2020 Virtual Virginia Datathon, which kicks off today, October 1, will bring together state agencies, students, localities, non-profits, and private sector businesses to leverage this data to develop innovative solutions that seek to address challenges created by the pandemic. The Datathon will be livestreamed on the Library of Virginia’s YouTube page beginning at 8:30 a.m. on October 1. Team presentations are scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on October 2.
The annual Virginia Datathon, which is being held virtually this year, is a two-day statewide competition where teams of innovators use state data and other open data sources to create applications with the support of subject matter experts from the community. In previous years, Datathon participants have tackled issues from workforce innovation, to equity in education, to the opioid and addiction crisis.
“The pandemic delivered unique and unprecedented challenges for many, and it’s important that we respond to this crisis and move toward recovery in ways that are equitable for each community,” said Sandra Treadway, Librarian of Virginia. “The far-reaching theme of this year’s Datathon will invite participants to explore the multi-faceted challenges brought on by COVID-19 and develop solutions that can mitigate the impacts of this crisis and ultimately aid Virginia’s recovery.”
In June, Governor Northam announced the expansion of the Framework for Addiction Analysis and Community Transformation (FAACT), Virginia’s cross-agency, cloud-based, data-sharing and analytics platform to help the Commonwealth mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and maintain an adequate supply of resources.
The Commonwealth is committed to growing the number of open datasets available through the portal. Learn more about the Virginia Open Data Portal and access the Commonwealth’s datasets at data.virginia.gov.