December 2022


December 2022 Product Updates

Coverage (Availability) Ratio

You have a variety of data available to you through mySidewalk to help tell your data story, but those values only tell part of the story. Data is specific to the geographic region that it was collected for. Geography plays a very big part in data storytelling since we want to communicate who, what and when as we are telling this story. Sometimes though, data is not available for the region that you are viewing or working with. You might need to change the region or the region size (from county to block group, for example) in order to get the most clear picture of the data for that region.

We have built a tool that will help you find data to work with your story. In the publishing tool you will see things like “unavailable for all regions”, “unavailable for [specific regions]” or even “no data” messaging after you select data. When you see those messages, close out data selection and make an attempt to change the region you are viewing to see if the values will come up for another one.

In Seek, we are providing you with the Coverage Ratio which is a calculation for how many regions have data available. This ratio value is a percentage of area coverage as well as population coverage. The population coverage calculation is important because we know that people don’t live in every space in our nation. The population coverage shows how many people are covered by the available data.

When you click on the Coverage Ratio number, we provide you with a matrix of where the data is available. This can be extremely helpful at helping you discover what a better region choice might be for that particular piece of data. It will help you avoid “no data” items in your Seek workspace. Within the Coverage box, you can view the general coverage, the coverage for your particular region selection (if you have made one) and the population coverage ratio. Click the tabs under the matrix to change which matrix is being viewed.

Note: the Data Library navigation item will sunset at the end of the 2022. Use Seek to explore data — it will give you all of the same information plus more exploration tools.

November 2022


Normalize (Divide by) Details in Seek Headers

Normalization is the process of taking a count and dividing it by something else in order to make a number more comparable or to put it in context. When you normalize data, you eliminate the units of measurement for data, enabling you to compare data from different places.

If you are going to normalize data, it’s important to know additional information about that data, such as where it comes from and what it measures. mySidewalk offers helpful choices but understanding what you are dividing by is what is extremely important when looking at these numbers.

In a Seek Table, when you click on the header (which names the data indicator for that column), you will see metadata for both the numerator and the denominator values that are being used. Read up and link out to the valuable information that describes what you are viewing. Ratios make things a lot easier to compare but it’s important to know where each number is coming from!

Read more about normalizing here.

“Your Organization” Page

The “Your Organization” page, available in Seek, gives customers insight into their team within mySidewalk. For WhereHouse customers, this also allows them to invite additional teammates with the same access and license expiration. You can see in the screenshot below the type of access that each user has as well as the expiration date for that license. Every user has access to this view across each organization.

Access this page by clicking the profile drop down in the upper right corner of the Seek header and then choosing “Your Organization.”

  • Note: the Data Library navigation item will sunset at the end of the 2022. Use Seek to explore data — it will give you all of the same information plus more exploration tools.

October 2022


Auto-Assign Regions in a Data Upload

You can use the mySidewalk unique identifier (S-H-ID) or a GEOID to associate your data with a geographic boundary that already exists in mySidewalk. For example, you can upload data for the state of Missouri using the Missouri S-H-ID (country:us/state:mo) and our upload will automatically assign that data to the shape we know as Missouri.

What that effectively means is that you can use that data within mySidewalk in multiple, powerful ways with this boundary. You can map it easily and alongside mySidewalk data. You can make a correlation to understand how your data is related to data available within mySidewalk. The end result is a way for you to easily use your own data in mySidewalk.

Learn more about S-H-ID and GEOID here.

Seek - Saved Searches

Saved Searches in mySidewalk provide a fast way back to data you care about so you can keep working on your project or share your work with a teammate.

Saved Searches work like mySidewalk Guides, but you choose what to include. Once created, data can be added all at once, or by adding individual indicators from while browsing.

  • Create a Saved Search by adding data to your selection in Seek and clicking Save.

Learn more here

Seek - Community Profiles

Don’t forget to view community profiles for the places you are most interested in. Click any region name within Seek to view the profile for that area!

Also from Seek - Healthy Housing Data Course

Have you explored our new Healthy Housing Data Course?! This free, interactive course is designed to help people harness the power of data to start, design, and measure the impact of healthy housing projects in their communities. Sign up today to be notified when new lessons are released!

September 2022


Project Support

We know that we all have projects to work on. Sometimes those projects start and end on the same day, sometimes they last several weeks or months. You probably already use folders in the mySidewalk platform to store items related to your projects. These folders can be just for you, or they can be used for collaboration with a teammate on the best data and visuals to use in your data story. But did you know that you can now use Project Folders when you’re building a story? It’s simple — just use the Import Report button in “Reports.”

Project Folders can be used to create multiple pieces of information, then name them and store them in a way that you can reuse them over and over again. Do you have a map that you love to use but is difficult to remake every time you need it? You can create it, store it in a Project Folder and always know where to get it. That way, the data, styling, colors, labels and everything else will be saved and able to be reused. Import Report is just an easier way to get to those reports inside Project Folders, so you don’t have to dig through your reports to find that perfect map you made. Just save it in its own report inside a Project Folder and you will always know where to find it.

To build a Project Folder:

  • Click Folders from the left navigation

  • Add a new folder and name it with an appropriate Project name

  • Create a new Report with a relevant name and add it to the Project Folder

  • Add a component to your report that is relevant to your project

    • If appropriate, add a text block with context for the visual

To Import a Report:

  • Open a Report (new or existing)

  • Use the blue plus to Add a new component

  • Click Import Report

  • Choose your project Folder

  • Choose the Report to import

Building up your Project Folder library is something that you can do over time and will only increase the speed with which you create data stories in mySidewalk. Share your favorite visuals with us on Twitter and Linkedin. We know you make great things and we want to see them!

Leveraging Best Practices

Our data storytelling team writes more stories in mySidewalk than anyone else! They are constantly improving visualizations and we pass their findings and expertise on to you. The following updates are now the default configurations so you don’t have to do anything extra to make the most beautiful data stories.

  • Keep sort selection even when changing data (if you change variables, you still will have the sort you selected).

  • Added the less than (<) symbol to map legends. There is still rounding that occurs so if something doesn’t look right, extend the number of decimals that are visible. You can also change any of the bin labels manually.

  • When going to pick data (in Seek or when building a component), it can sometimes be difficult to know what time periods are available. We confirmed that the most recent data value is always the first option when picking data, so you are always getting the most current value unless you specifically change it.

  • If you want a PDF of your Press Board, “allow download of PDF” can be turned on in your Board Share options. This will enable a “Generate PDF” button in the board. Click the “Generate PDF” button on the board and when it is generated, you can download it to your browser. Additionally, we made some changes to allow bigger PDFs to generate.

August 2022


Improved User Upload

Organizing and controlling your own data can be a very difficult task. We are attempting to make it easier for users to upload data to mySidewalk and rolled out a few features in August to assist with this . For example, you have probably already noticed that the upload screen looks a little different. We removed the images, updated the text and added two choices on that page: “Upload Geo” and “Assign Geo.”

  • Upload Geo is the best path to use when you have a defined geography in your layer and that geography does not already exist in mySidewalk. Things like hospital service areas are not regions that we already support or points for which you know the latitude/longitude.

  • Assign Geo is the best path to use when you have data that applies to a geographic area that mySidewalk already knows about. This includes the 16 levels of geography that we have already drawn and that you can search for in our geography lookup.

If you accidentally start down the path of Upload Geo, the upload process will automatically look for a mySidewalk identifier (what we call an S-H-ID) and direct you to the “Assign Geo” path if it finds one. This should present less errors to you when you go to upload data.

We also accept a MiXeD CaSe S-H-ID now, so if you happen to have capital letters in your state abbreviation, that will no longer be an issue during upload.

The final addition to upload was to allow the “Source” row that exports from Seek to be an acceptable part of the upload. If you have a single line for “Source” above your column headers, we will be able to dismiss that row and still accept your upload (generally, though, you should only have one column header row).

Building Custom Guides

Have you ever wanted to create your own custom Guide? With the help of your Customer Success Manager (CSM), it’s easier than you think! Ask your CSM about custom geographies and if you want to pursue a custom Guide, please reach out to your CSM for more details.

ICYMI - Check out the new Seek.

If you haven’t seen it yet, we invite you to check out all of the great things we are building in Seek.

We’re happy to invite you to the new Seek experience. It still provides quick and easy access to 50+ data sources, but we've rebuilt it from the ground up to let you:

  • Explore data with simple visualizations.

  • Identify trends and outliers with guided tools.

  • Easily compare indicators across places and time.

July 2022


Best Practices into Features

As you already know, if you have a Press board, our team of data analysts and scientists spend a lot of time making sure they are up to speed on how to best visualize and talk about data within mySidewalk. We are continuously translating those things into product features so you can take advantage of our best practices without putting in too much effort! Here are three new features we’ve added:

  • Default base map is street view

  • Line thickness in a map is 2 when it’s an outline, 1 when a sub-geo is added

  • New icons

Say hello to the new Seek. 👋

We’ve been building something pretty cool, and we’re excited for you to try it.

After creating the first version of Seek as the fastest way to search for community data, we’ve heard your needs for a data tool that takes the next step in helping you truly explore and uncover the insights in your communities.

We’re happy to invite you to the new Seek experience. Although it still provides quick and easy access to 50+ data sources, we've built it from the ground up to let you:

  • Explore data with simple visualizations.

  • Identify trends and outliers with guided tools.

  • Easily compare indicators across places and time.

Changes to Your Navigation.

You'll find the new Seek experience lives in your main navigation, while the other experience is still accessible as "Data Library" to perform simple searches of our library.

June 2022


Travel Distance

Creating a boundary using travel distance times opens up a lot of possibilities within mySidewalk. mySidewalk tools already allow you to apportion (read: visualize) data based on the custom boundaries you create, so this is another simple way you can create a boundary.

Understanding road mile boundaries can help you understand how many people live with 1.5 road miles of your place of interest - like a fire station or hospital. This type of boundary is different from a radius (which is as the crow flies) or travel time (which is how many minutes away rather than miles away).

Create a New Boundary

  • Click "Geography" in the navigation bar (icon of polygon).

  • Choose “Travel Time.”

  • Choose a Point (search and click or pan and click).

  • Change the Measurement to “Distance.”

  • Pick the size and transportation mode (driving, cycling, or walking).

  • Name and Save.

  • Use this layer just like any other geographic shape in mySidewalk. It will appear in the custom geographies list when you go to choose a geography. This has valuable uses in many places in mySidewalk.

Pro Tip: Use these custom geographies in Report Templates.

Sharing and Exporting

Sharing to social media, which uses a similar functionality to embeds (and you can now use embed on Dashboards!), is another attempt to make it easy for you to share the amazing insights you gather from mySidewalk with those around you.. Look for the social media icons to share reports, boards and for those same icons under the ‘export’ button for each visualization.

How to Share to Social Media

  1. While editing your report or board, look at the "Share" tab in the panel on the right side.

  2. In the "Publish Settings" drop down menu, ensure the board option selected is "Published-Public."

  3. Once it is published, “View” the report or board.

  4. To share a report or board: Notice the social media icons on the left side of the screen; these will share a link to the entire report or board.

  5. To share a single visual: Click the “Export” button next to that visual (looks like a bar chart) and use the social media icons within that menu. Click any to share the anchor link to that specific visual.

New Icons: Find the new “Senior” icon in callouts when you want to represent the senior population as different from children or other adults.

Data Catalog

mySidewalk comes with thousands of pre-processed indicators from dozens of sources. It is enriched by mySidewalk's data scientists and updated as new data is released so you always have the most recent numbers.

Our data experts have done the work to reduce the friction between differences in every bit of data so you can toggle between levels of geography and past, current and projected time without the need for GIS software, engineering or data science expertise.

We are giving you a new way to view the metadata behind all of that data science. We know it’s important to understand where this data comes from and how it came to be. Why can you use it in some places and not others? Why is this data for a certain time and not a different time? All of those questions can be answered on the Data Catalog pages that are specific to the individual data itself. You can get to these Data Catalog pages in four ways:

  1. From data.mysidewalk.com/attributions (this is open to users and non-users).

  2. By clicking Data in the navigation bar, then click “Data Library.”

  3. By clicking the link underneath data in any place you choose data (choose the information icon first, then click “Click here for more info”).

  1. By clicking the source name link underneath data when you have selected it (US Census Bureau ACS 5-year in the screenshot below).

There is a lot to be discovered in these new pages, we can’t wait to hear how you use it!

May 2022


User Empowerment

We know that mySidewalk users are the best of the best, so we are continuing to transfer control into your capable hands. You can change your password within the user preferences, for those times that ‘forgot password’ doesn’t cut it. You can also toggle off an entire layer on a map instead of just turning off each bin individually.

There is also more data available now when creating a bar chart. Specifically, you can use a single variable to build a bar chart (previously, those options were hidden). A great way to use this is to look at Total Population for two different geographies. Sign in and try one now!

Export

We’re working hard to make export options better for our users. This month, we enabled the ability to export custom callouts and goal trackers so that all of the mySidewak visuals are now exportable to PNG! The PDF download is also getting some attention. You should start to see improvements over the next few months. Don’t forget that the smaller you make your reports, the faster it will export!

April 2022


Transpose Tables

In Chart, you can transpose a table so that you see your geographies across the top instead of down the side (flip rows and columns). This is really helpful when you have only a few geographies but a lot of data to view. Transposing a table will put the data into rows instead of columns so you can scroll up and down instead of left and right.

In Seek, you can transpose tables, too. We wanted to offer the feature here so you can use this view to understand and compare your data, even if you don’t want to publish it for anyone yet.

Embeds

Every graph, image and chart in your report(s) is special. You'll likely want to share them with people and places outside of your mySidewalk dashboard. If you want to embed a specific element, you will need to publish your report or dashboard and enable embedding. By embedding a mySidewalk visual on another website, you can share personalized insights and valuable data points with audiences that may not have a direct route to your mySidewalk report.

How to Enable Embedding

  1. While editing your report or dashboard, look at the "Share" tab in the panel on the right side.

  2. In the "Publish Settings" drop down menu, ensure the board option selected is "Published-Public."

  3. Click the blue checkbox below the Publish Settings to "Allow embedding."

To use the embedded information, first go to the published version of your report. The easiest way to do this is to click the "View" button at the top of your report. Click the "Embed" button in the upper right corner of the desired visualization. This will bring up the embed code that you can copy and paste into your other website page. You can use normal HTML edits to adjust padding or the size of the viewing window for your embedded image or graphic.

Styling Options

  • Overwrite Correlation Headers: when you create a correlation with a user layer, you are stuck with a subtitle that might not be accurate in a correlation. Now, you can update and customize the subtitle under the “Style” tab. After you have populated a correlation with your own data, click on the Style tab and look for the field marked “Subtitle” to change it. We recommend using this field to comment on the geography you are using (Example: Zip Codes insides Kansas City, MO). Correlation Help

  • New Icon: Scales of Justice, available in callouts. These are great to use when discussing equity, law and policy issues.

  • Drawing Tool Labels: - labels are available in all drawing tools when you have “show geography outlines” selected. This gives you consistent feedback when you are creating custom regions so you know where you are and what you are choosing.

March 2022


How to Assess Affordable Housing Needs with Community Data

ICYMI, we hosted a webinar last month on assessing affordable housing needs. MySidewalk wants to help your community solve for affordable housing now to support generations to come. Understand how you should invest and where the highest needs are. You can watch the webinar recording by clicking here. You can check out the Housing Supply and Demand Guide in Seek here.

Sign up for our next webinar (April 28, 2022): "A New Era for Public Health: How to Leverage Community Data for COVID-19 Response"

Maps

Maps continued to be a theme for steady update in March. We moved our travel times drawing tool in with all the other drawing tools, added labels to help you orient yourself and made map legends interactive.

Visualize the most important parts of your map with an interactive legend

  • Click on legend items to filter on/off those items in the map. This will really help you identify exactly what you want to see!

Create new geographies all in one place!

  • Now when you go to “draw” all of your drawing options are in one place: Multi-select, polygon, radius and travel times.

  • Don’t forget to change the basemap or search for an address while in this view.

Time and Place

You now have the ability to represent a quarter of a year when you upload your own data. This way you can add summary numbers for your entire quarter instead of just monthly or annual. You can read about how to use time elements for your own data here.

We moved! Our new address can now be found in several instances across our application. Stop by and see us!

February 2022


Newsletter

Check out our blog and sign up for our newsletter. You won’t be disappointed with our great content.

Export Callouts

In Chart and Press, we added the ability to export callouts (similar to how you could already export charts and maps) so you can take more of our great visuals with you wherever you go. If you have export enabled on your published dashboards, your users can export these as well! If you post your visual somewhere else, don’t forget to link back to your report so users can check out all of the great insights you have gathered.

Duplicate Map Layers

When editing a map in Chart, you can now duplicate a layer (for example, this will allow you to keep your color, binning and other selections intact but test out some different data in that second layer). Bonus: The map tooltips (on all maps in Chart and Press) are now black to align with all the other tooltips.

NLC Seek Cities

In partnership with the National League of Cities (NLC), mySidewalk is proud to offer a tool designed to place data at the heart of city decision-making and conversation. Seek Cities enables city leadership, program managers, analysts, and planners access to a single, unified and trusted data library to guide actions such as grant investments and community impact assessments with accurate, measurable indicators.

Learn more

January 2022


Maps

We know that understanding geography is an important part of understanding data so we added a few features that should make that easier.

You can now pull up every county in the USA all in one list. It’s a big list but a valuable one! Choose any indicators in Seek or a table and check out some data for those counties.

  • Did you know that Lexington County, VA, has the lowest median age of all the counties? 22.3 years

When you are done with all those counties, you can clear them all at once with the “Reset Geographies” button. This will clear your list in Seek so you can start fresh.

Drawing tools allows you to build your own geography so you can apportion data to unique boundaries that interest you. We inserted some new background map options to drawing tools. Now you can draw on top of a satellite image or a traffic background to make sure you are using the landmarks that work best for you.

If you didn’t already know that you can search for an address in drawing tools, now is the time to check it out!

Download as a CSV

Last but not least is a feature you all asked for: download your own data as a CSV. This option allows you to get your own data back out in a way that is easily readable AND easy to update and then load again.

📈 Remain up-to-date with the latest community data available.

This year so far, we've updated data from the CDC, Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Census, and Department of Housing to name a few. Recent updates include:

  • Small-area health outcomes & risk factor data (now available nation-wide!)

  • Monthly local unemployment rates

  • Single-parent income spent on transportation and housing

  • Number of jobs available by industry, motor vehicle crash fatalities, & more


Logged-in? Get hands-on with our last Data Summary tour.


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