Unlocking Open Data: gnoviCon 2015

Data is a growing component of everyday life in the digital era, but we are still the very early stages of developing best practices around data collection, use and analysis—  and only beginning to envision its power to reshape the political and economic landscape.

This Friday, February 20th, gnovis will host its annual spring conference, gnoviCon. Running from 12pm to 5:30 pm and hosted at Georgetown University, this event focuses on the challenges and opportunities presented by open data.

Robert Groves, Georgetown Provost and former director of the US Census Bureau, is the keynote speaker for the event. During his 3-year tenure Groves helped restructure the US Census Bureau, updating old practices for our current data-steeped world and helping to create a leaner, more effective census. Prior to his role at the Census Bureau, Groves was the director of the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center. A prominent intellectual in the world of data, Groves’s research has focused on topics such as examining the impact data collection on responses in sample surveys, the social and political influences on survey participation, and public concerns about data privacy.

In addition to the keynote, we will be hosting a panel to explore some of the ongoing debates about big data & open data. Our panelists include Jacob Fenton, Editorial Engineer at the Sunlight Foundation, Mary Madden, Senior Researcher at the Pew Research Center, Dr. Matthew Hindman, Associate Professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, and Dr. Lisa Singh, Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Georgetown University. Each of our panelists represents a different background and set of experiences with regard to open data, ranging from hands-on work in the trenches of data collection and analysis to critical research about the political implications of big data. Mark MacCarthy, adjunct faculty member at Georgetown’s Communication, Culture & Technology program, will moderate a discussion around key issues about privacy risks, data analysis and collection, and the unfulfilled promise of big data.

Following the panel we will be leading a “data jam”, a hands-on workshop meant to familiarize the audience with some specific data sets and apply some of the day’s key learnings to a concrete example. We will also be hosting a happy hour following the event to give all the participants a chance to meet and discuss some of these fascinating and highly relevant questions from the event.


We look forward to the opportunity to delve into these issues and encourage any and all to attend. The event is free and open to the public, we just ask that you RSVP on Eventbrite. The first 50 RSVPs will receive two complimentary drinks at the Bulldog Tavern in the Healey Family Student Center. You may also read the full bios of all participants and review the schedule for the day on our website.