Community Information Now

turning data into information Texas communities can use to improve our common well-being

Author: cinow (page 2 of 8)

It’s here! The Viz-a-lyzer data visualization platform

CI:Now’s new Viz-a-lyzer is an interactive tool for people to visually explore and analyze (visual… viz… viz-a-lyze… get it?) Bexar County data by zip code tract area and year, with comparisons to Bexar County, Texas, and the United States where available. We’ll be adding new indicators and features several times a year – subscribe to our newsletter to hear when a new release is out.

Many thanks to The Health Collaborative and the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation for the investments that allowed us to build the Viz-a-lyzer. Thanks also to SA2020The Nonprofit Council, The Health Collaborative’s Data Committee and staff, and the nonprofits that tested an early version to help us make sure we were building a tool that meets local need.

Here are some of the Viz-a-lyzer‘s key features:

  • Maps key indicators by zip code area
  • Charts a five-year trend line where available
  • Spits out an image you can drop directly into your grant application or strategic plan
  • Shows you which zip codes are best and worst for a given indicator
  • Gives you county and state benchmark data where available
  • Lets you filter by school district or county precinct (city council districts coming soon!)

Go here for an introduction to each part of the Viz-a-lyzer – what it tells you and how to use it.  Or just head on over to and start exploring.

Profile of westside San Antonio ZCTA 78207

Commissioned by the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County on behalf of a broader partnership, this Westside Promise Neighborhood Profile presents quantitative data to inform planning for a Westside Promise Neighborhood. As described in greater detail in the Technical Notes, the Neighborhood Profile draws on reliable state and local datasets to paint a quantitative picture of area characteristics and of the strengths of and challenges faced by the children and families who live there. The data presented here are intended to complement and inform community voice emerging from the qualitative data and critical conversations held with neighborhood families and partner agencies like San Antonio Independent School District.

The Neighborhood Profile is organized into five topical sections:

  • Physical Characteristics and Population;
  • Households and Families;
  • Employment, Income, and Poverty;
  • Education; and
  • Health and Safety.

A supplementary Technical Notes section provides reference maps, notes on data sources, and cautions.

Looking at issues with a place lens

CI:Now just built an interactive scatterplot tool for the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County. The tool allows the user to explore patterns between issues at the place level – this screen grab  shows that zip codes with a higher percent of kids in poverty tend to have a higher percent of adults with less than a high school diploma.

The tool maps any two indicators selected by the user, plots each zip code, and calculates the correlation coefficient between the two indicators. Interested in having a tool like this built for your organization or collaborative? Let us know!

(But speaking of correlations… how about the strong correlation between national per-capita margarine consumption and the divorce rate in Maine? Browse Tyler Vigen’s brilliant collection of Spurious Correlations for a fun reminder to be careful of our assumptions about issues that appear to be associated.)

CI:Now is hiring!

~ Permission to distribute ~

We’re still looking for the right person for this full-time position in San Antonio, Texas. If you think you’d be a good fit, please apply here.

The short:

Community Information Now (CI:Now) is hiring a new full-time Research Coordinator II to join a small team of passionate, innovative, community-minded data and community engagement geeks housed at the UTHealth School of Public Health in San Antonio.

CI:Now is a source of local data and information for community improvement:  we collect, analyze, visualize, and communicate data and information that planners, service providers, advocates, and residents use to transform neighborhoods and solve community problems.  CI:Now works closely with many strong local organizations and place-based initiatives that both need and generate data related to education, health, employment, housing, crime and safety, the natural environment, and civic vitality.

We’re making our world better. Join us!


The long:

This position requires both independent judgment and good teamwork in data acquisition, integration, management, analysis, visualization, and communication.  CI:Now’s portfolio varies depending on current local need, but can include integrating administrative datasets; developing community report cards;  program- and community-level outcome measurement; program evaluation; management, analysis, and visualization of large administrative and survey datasets; and community needs and assets assessments.

Key responsibilities:

  1. Meets with partners/clients to understand unmet data needs and determine how best to meet those needs (e.g., by acquiring new data, creating new query/report from existing data, adding/changing fields, communicating information differently). Assists the Director in scoping projects and developing budgets and proposals
  2. Cleans, analyzes, integrates, and critically examines quantitative and qualitative data to identify important or unexpected patterns, relationships, and trends to communicate to partners. Develops appropriate online or paper-based tables, charts, maps, dashboards, or other products to meet partner need
  3. Assists in developing publications and presentations to communicate CI:Now’s work and findings to the local, state, and national field
  4. Participate in establishing and sustaining internal project management infrastructure and processes to ensure the continuous delivery of high-quality data and other products to the community and CI:Now partners

CI:Now is looking for someone who:

  • is highly detail-oriented and skilled in the acquisition of secondary data, dataset and metadata management, and data visualization and communication/storytelling;
  • is able to work independently and as part of a team, to mentor junior staff and interns, and to contribute to the evidence base and the national community of practice through the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership and other networks; and
  • understands the challenges of collaboration and has a high tolerance for change, a knack for getting clarity out of ambiguity, and a sense of humor.

The ideal candidate has at least a master’s degree in data science, applied research, public health, urban planning, statistics, epidemiology, or a related field, but a bachelor’s degree may suffice with demonstrated skills and experience.  S/he is familiar with local, state, and national secondary datasets and their strengths and limitations. Solid knowledge of MS Excel is absolutely required. Not required but a big plus is a strong working knowledge of one or more of the many other kinds of tools CI:Now employs: MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQL, or equivalent relational database application; SPSS, PSPP, STATA or equivalent statistical application; ArcGIS or other robust GIS application; and WordPress.

This position does occasionally require evening or weekend work to accommodate the schedules of community partners and residents.  Salary will be commensurate with education, experience, and skills within a range of about $52,000 to $77,000.

The position is housed with CI:Now at the UTHealth School of Public Health in San Antonio and offers excellent benefits. For more information, please visit the UTHealth HR site at or call 713-500-3130.  UTHealth is committed to providing equal opportunity in all employment-related activities without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, gender identity or expression, veteran status or any other basis prohibited by law or university policy. Reasonable accommodation, based on disability or religious observances, will be considered in accordance with applicable law and UTHealth policy. The University maintains affirmative action programs with respect to women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and eligible veterans in accordance with applicable law.

To apply, please visit the UTHealth job posting. (Please note that the posting contains boilerplate language regarding clinical research duties; the actual responsibilities for this position are described above.) Please share this announcement with any interested parties.

CI:Now-SA2020 partnership mentioned in RSA publication on inclusive growth

The RSA’s (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) Commission on Inclusive Growth featured SA2020 in its 2017 publication Inclusive Growth: Putting Principles Into Practice, available to read online for free. The case study highlighted SA2020’s partnership with CI:Now to  gather and communicate trustworthy data to gauge San Antonio’s progress on our targeted community indicators.

CI:Now-EPN partnership mentioned in NAS health equity book

CI:Now’s data intermediary work for San Antonio’s Eastside Promise Neighborhood was included in the National Academy of Science’s new book Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity.  The book is available as a free pdf download. Much more detail about the data support CI:Now has provided to Eastside Promise can be found here.

Newsletter: new 501(c)(3) nonprofit structure, launch, gains in voter registration and municipal election turnout

CI:Now’s August 2017 newsletter includes announcements of our new 501(c)(3) nonprofit structure and the Alamo Regional Data Alliance’s website launch, highlights of gains in voter registration and municipal election voter turnout, and a profile of team member Courtney Denton.

Measurable progress in municipal voter turnout

Voter registration and turnout figures for the May 2017 municipal election tell an exciting story of real progress in San Antonio’s efforts to increase voter participation. Comparing the May joint elections rather than June runoffs to get an apples-to-apples comparison, the number of registered voters increased by a quarter in two years – from 821,615 in 2015 to 1,026,817 in 2017. These huge gains in voter registration had the effect of making overall turnout – the total number of voters who cast a ballot as a percentage of total registered voters – appear to drop slightly, from 11.89 in 2015 to 11.32 in 2017.

The total number of ballots cast in 2017 was 116,222, though – a whopping gain of 19% over 2015’s total of 97,697. If we look at it by voting precinct instead of county-wide, turnout as a percent of registered voters rose in two-thirds of voting precincts, and more than one in ten precincts showed a 10% or greater increase in turnout. Maybe most exciting is the distribution of the increase – both registration and turnout increasing across the county, including central-city and lower-income neighborhoods.

HASA HIE partners with CI:Now to harness power of social determinants of health

HASA, Texas’ largest nonprofit health information exchange, has partnered with CI:Now to enable it to add measures of place-based health risk to the patient record, allowing clinicians and other providers to understand the patient’s health and risk and in context of critical social and economic determinants of health. CI:Now’s role is to provide census tract-level measures of relative degree of neighborhood poverty (percent in poverty) and neighborhood low educational attainment (percent with less than a high school diploma or GED), as well as an index of both measures combined. HASA will append those measures to each patient record based on patient address.

Citi Community Progress Makers: Organizing for a Data-Driven Community

CI:Now’s Laura McKieran and Bob Gradeck of the University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR) in Pittsburgh co-presented via webinar to a group of grantees of the Citi Community Progress Makers Fund on ways to support open data and how San Antonio is organizing and collaborating to build local data capacity.  CI:Now and UCSUR are both local partners in the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership.

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