Datafest News

Accelerator Grant Winners! 
April 17, 2014

Big congratulations to R.U.T.A. and Pulso, the two winners of our  Accelerator Grants made possible by a generous support from Alianza CAMMINA, a joint initiative of the AVINA Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Foundations. Congratulations also to Immigraphics that was the runner up in our contest more...

Best Overall Project! 
December 6, 2013

Our judges have chosen ¿Dónde estás?  (Mexico City, Mexico) as the Best Overall Project. The runner up is Salvaviajes (Washington, DC).   Congratulations and thank you all for your energy and enthusiasm! 

Winners and Runners Up!

November 27, 2013 

We have the winners and runners up in each category!  more...

Let's Vote!

November 19, 2013

As you know,  among our prizes, we have the Popular Choice award, 
a non-monetary recognition to the project that receives the most votes in a public voting. Please vote, spread the word and ask others to vote. All projects are eligible. 

To participate in public voting on the Popular Choice award, please email the name of the project you are nominating to . The full list of projects is here.  And you can find our Global Awards nominees here.

Voting ends on November 23rd at 04.00 GMT.  We are all excited to see who turns out to be the winner! 

Global Awards Nominees: Tips for A Successful Presentation

November 7th, 2013

Your presentation will be effective, if you show that your project meets 100% the three judging criteria: 
  • Usefulness:  Project’s potential to help individuals, communities, NGOs, researchers, journalists, or policy makers.
  • Innovation:  New ideas and new thinking shown in the project. Creative design aimed at maximizing impact.
  • Usability:  User-friendliness, easy interactivity and simple updates. In the case of data-analysis projects, we’ll also be looking at easy-to-understand explanation of the results.
More information here 

    Global Awards Nominees: An Important Reminder! 
    November 5, 2013

    Congratulations on being nominated for global awards! 

    We want each one of you to have the best chance at winning so please keep in mind the following deadline and rules.

    Midnight (local time) of November 10 is the deadline to:
    • add a  3-minute Youtube presentation to your project’s page. This must be in English.
    • fill out your project's page in full. The more clear and detailed the information, the better. This, too, must be in English.
    • indicate the global award for which you wish to be considered (in other words, choose 1 global award). These are the options:  Best Mobile App,  Best Website/Web app,  Best Insight or Best Data Visualization Project. Please specify your choice on your project page.
    You can keep coding and improving your projects until November 10. 

    More information here:

    Good luck and we all look forward to seeing your presentations! 

    Amazing Effort! 

    November 5, 2013

    Dear Americas Datafest organizers and participants,

    Thank you very much for a wonderful weekend. It was amazing to witness your commitment, enthusiasm, generosity and talent. It was also an incredible experience to be working simultaneously on the same project all across the Americas. And yes, we took over Facebook and Twitter this weekend. I was delighted to see that very promising projects came out of the event and I look forward to seeing the progress that Global Awards nominees make this week. It is my hope that this spirit of collaboration will extend into the future and that our network will grow bigger and stronger. Thank you once again! Gracias!

    Check the Storify for our #americasdf
    19 cities, 11 countries working together on our hackathon   

    November 2nd, 2013

    See what Auburn University is working on
    Eight teams working on very interesting projects   

    November 2nd, 2013

    Teams at Auburn (Alabama) are working on a data visualization showing the movement of enrolled Auburn University students and  an Android app that would help migrant  workers capture evidence of their start and stop times for work each day among other projects .
        See all the teams here 

    More Food for Brainstorming
    A quick immersion into the subject matter may help come up with ideas that are relevant, creative and valuable.  

    October 31, 2013

    The Datafest is around the corner and the first step to get started is to visit the Challenges page on this site. However,  if you are already busy brainstorming project ideas, check out these two additional resources.  And even if you already have an idea for your project, glancing through these two pages may help refine your concept.  One resource is a collection of news reports on migration.  It offers a bird's eye view of the topic. The other is a selection of migration-related research. Looking through these studies and reports may help better understand the issues. Have fun browsing! 

    How to Succeed at Datafest

    Would you like to make the most of the Datafest ? Here's how. 

    Oct 31, 2013

    Nate Aune, the founder of Appsembler, has written 10 tips for a successful participation at a hackathon.  His blog post is well worth reading and here's a summary adapted for our Datafest: 
    • Plan ahead,  Be ambitious but mindful that you only have 48 hours
    • Build a team whose members have diverse backgrounds so they can leverage each other's expertise
    • Prepare. Learn more about the issues underlying the particular challenge that you will be working on.  Learn more about tools and data
    • Use Github for version control and PaaS for deployment and hosting
    • Take frequent breaks
    • Envision your perfect demo and then work backwards
    • Have fun!
    A full text of Nate Aune's blog post is here .  

    Global Awards
    October 29, 2013

    Please check out the info on global awards (here)!

    Leo Pekelis, Stanford PhD Candidate in Statistics, On Most Important Considerations in Data Analysis

    "Have a question in mind" 

    October 27, 2013

    Leonid Pekelis, PhD candidate in Statistics at Stanford University, talked to us today about the 10 most common mistakes people make when working with data, his list of best practices and challenges and techniques for our Datafest.  He also discussed his favorite open source tools for data analysis.

    Fusion Tables and Maps Engine Lite tutorials for the Americas Datafest

    October 27, 2013

    Patricia Carbajales, a Geospatial Manager and a GIS Lecturer at Stanford University, has 
    developed these amazing tutorials for the Americas Datafest: 
    • Fusion Table tutorial using migration data (here)
    • Maps Engine Lite tutorial (here)

    Patricia Carbajales, Stanford University, Discusses Tools to Visualize and Map Data

    "I really believe a map is worth a thousand words the same way as an image is" 

    October 20, 2013

    Patricia Carbajales is a Geospatial Manager and a GIS Lecturer at Stanford University (California). She reminded us today that "maps are not only to display things but also to show patterns, relationships and also to display how things change over time."

    "I am really, truly very passionate about the power of maps," said Patricia who expects to see "beautiful maps out of the Americas Datafest pretty soon."

    She focused today on two tools:  Google Fusion Tables and Google Maps Engine Lite: "The reason I like them so much and teach them so often is because they are free. All you need is a browser. They allow for collaboration with other people and they also allow for your maps to be embedded into your blogs or websites and they don't require any programming or code at all."

    Patricia Carbajales, Geospatial Manager, GIS Lecturer, Stanford University 

    Jocelyn Skolnik, an Ordinary American Doing Extraordinary Things

    is the Executive Director of El Sol, 
    an organization that serves day laborers in Florida.  Under her leadership El Sol has become a model for communities seeking to serve day laborers and promote positive immigrant integration.  She's also a 2013 recipient of a White House Champions of Change award. 

    October 19, 2013

    This is Jocelyn Skolnik's message to everyone participating in the Americas Datafest: "Thank you, because for us who work day to day (with immigrants) these tools would make life so much easier. I really appreciate those who have the skills and are putting them to a good cause."

    Mark Schenker, Director, Migration and Health Research Center, UC Davis, on Health of Migrants

    "You have a large population with very significant health disparities, with less health and which is getting very little attention"

    October 19, 2013

    Marc Schenker, director of the Migration and Health Research Center at UC Davis talked to us about the problems migrants face when it comes to their health. He also proposed several challenges for the Datafest participants to work on:

    1.  An app that would allow immigrants to securely access their medical records in a common (cloud) location. Thus, allowing any medical provider to access the records.
    2.  A culturally, linguistically useful program for preventing diabetes/obesity and tracking progress.
    3.  Perhaps an update on latest information addressing migration and health. Much of this exists for academics and advocates at Migration Policy Institute.

    Marc Schenker, director Migration and Health Research Center, UC Davis

    Bela Hovy, Chief of Migration, UN, on Migration Data 
    October 4, 2013

     Our first Hangout was with Bela Hovy, Chief of MIgration at the United Nations.  Topics that we discussed included findings in the latest UN report on migration, trends in migration from and to Mexico. Dr. Holvy also offered Datafest participants some challenges: 
    • What we see in destination countries, especially during the times of economic hardship, is a very negative perception of immigrants. So, the question is whether technology can portray a more accurate picture of the contributions of migrants to the countries of destination, both economically and socially. 
    • Whether people who work in technology can assist in countries of origin  with analysis of data sources. Developing countries put their scarce resources into collecting population and then the Census bureaus lack funding to analyze and make use of data. 

    Google+ Hangout with Bela Hovy, Chief of Migration, UN

    Announcement: Google+ Hangouts 
    October 4, 2013

    We are starting Google+ Hangouts with experts. These  are Q&A session whose purpose is to help the participants to learn more about migration issues, data analysis and software development.  Our first Hangout was with Bela Hovy, Chief of MIgration at the United Nations (video below). We'll be posting the upcoming Hangouts on our calendar (here).  Please check back often! 

    UN Migration Chief on Importance of Data
    "Misconceptions about immigration can only be dispelled through getting the facts on the table"

    Immigration is a heavily politicized issue where misconceptions abound and the only way to dispelled them is to put the facts on the table. That is what Bela Hovy, chief of Migration at the United Nations, told Americas Datafest in a recent interview.  Migration data is also crucial to fight abuse and discrimination, said Hovy...more

    Recent Posts