Author Archives: Lauren Lipovic

Lauren has led Esri’s public policy practice since June 2015 with the intention of supporting data-driven policy making in government. Prior to joining Esri, Lauren served as special advisor for economic affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce where she worked with a team of fellow open data enthusiasts to create the department’s first data strategic plan and establish the Commerce Data Advisory Council. Lauren holds degrees in economics from DePaul University, has published on the topic of international trade, and has experience working in campaigns and government. Follow Lauren at @LaurenLipovic.

Recent Posts

The Second Sprint: Expanding the Opportunity Project

At the March launch of the opportunity Project, White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz said Monday, “ZIP code should not determine destiny.”

Personally, this is why I chose to work in public service and then Esri, a forward-leaning organization that supports civic innovation and community solutions through smart mapping.

Maps can highlight the inequality we face as a nation today, and also provide a guide to resources and solutions that can help expand economic opportunity to every American, regardless of geography.

We at Esri were excited to participate in the second sprint of the Opportunity Project, because maps and spatial analysis offer real solutions to problems that every American faces. This second sprint has allowed us to work closely with subject matter experts to understand more completely how to design tools for communities participating.

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Informed Justice

Using GIS to Build a More Data-Driven, Rehabilitative Criminal Justice System

Over 150 elected officials, law enforcers, and public health professionals from 67 communities across the country met in Washington, DC, last month to explore ways to keep low-risk offenders out of the criminal justice system and respond to the White House’s call for more informed justice.

The Numbers Speak

The urgency of the call is justified. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ most recent data, more than two-thirds of offenders return to prison after three years, while three quarters return within five years. That rate of recidivism costs society by failing to rehabilitate people in the criminal justice system when it’s possible—and ultimately cost effective—to do so.

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Capitol Spotlight on GIS and Policy

Last week Jack Dangermond joined Esri’s policy team to host the first GIS and Policy event at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center. Nearly 100 policymakers convened to learn firsthand how the growing community is using GIS to inform and disseminate public policy.

Congress and its staff are increasingly relying on digital over print information sources, and naturally that drives demand for interactive data products. Most recently, this has led the Congress’s research institution, the Library of Congress, to expand its web GIS offerings. The Congressional Research Service’s GIS Team provides Congress and its staff with many GIS services, including cartographic maps, geodata, and interactive web maps. This shared geospatial analysis enables policy makers to identify how features intersect with proposed policy, and sometimes how those features intersect with a member’s geography.

Maps Communicate Complex Policy

Many communications, digital directors, and press secretaries use web maps to compliment legislative text. Offices are finding that a compelling, trustworthy map noticeably increases the number of times a story is picked-up and shared. Some are using maps to communicate complex policy ideas in an easy to understand way. Readers can identify with policy on a map, understand its impact at the local level, and decide how to act. For example, Senator Wyden’s Medicare Beneficiaries with Chronic Conditions interactive web map enables readers to understand how the standard of care for Medicare beneficiaries with three chronic conditions varies by local geography.

Visitors to Senator Wyden’s webpage can click on this interactive map and see the number of Medicare beneficiaries suffering from chronic disease in each state.

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Expanding Opportunity with Open Data

Esri joined the White House, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Census Bureau, eight cities, and more than a dozen developers last month to kick-off the Opportunity Project. The project aims to expand access to opportunity to every American, across every geography, using open government data.

The ArcGIS platform highlighted at the White House Opportunity Project event in March.

In the months leading up to the launch, the Esri team supported the federal agencies and White House to create accessible, highly usable digital tools, and to integrate the opportunity data into existing tools in the ArcGIS Platform.

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