Team from Virginia Department of Transportation Wins Statewide “Datathon” Using Tableau

The team was recognized for building interactive dashboards showcasing Virginia’s resources for technology firms and jobseekers

Publish Date: October 23, 2014 - 1:00pm

Tableau Software, a global leader in rapid-fire, easy-to-use business analytics software, today announced that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has won a statewide “Datathon” competition using interactive dashboards developed with Tableau. The competition challenges teams from Virginia government agencies to build data-based applications that help to streamline government, attract business, and serve the state’s citizens.

Sponsored by the office of the Governor of Virginia and the Secretary of Technology, the goal of the Datathon was to emphasize data and technology as economic drivers for the state. Teams comprised of six people were given 48 hours to develop a concept and build applications from the ground up. Keith Donley, Enterprise Data Manager at VDOT and organizer of the agency’s team, said Tableau was a natural choice.

“With just two work days to complete the project and limited manpower available, we needed a way to quickly build and present our visualizations in a meaningful way. When it comes down to it, these are similar to the challenges we face working with data in our day jobs” said Donley. “We immediately thought of Tableau to quickly build interactive dashboards using multiple types of data. Tableau’s Story Points feature, in particular, helped us present our data uniquely and effectively.”

The VDOT team began using Tableau in 2013 to analyze operations and crash events and in 2014 to optimize the deployment of DOT assets. This experience helped prepare the team to analyze and present other types of data for the Datathon. For their entry, Donley’s team elected to create interactive dashboards that will help connect jobseekers to technology careers, and help technology businesses see the resources available to them in the State of Virginia.
“We are enthusiastic about bringing more technology jobs and businesses to our state,” said Donley. “We wanted to quantify the myriad reasons that entrepreneurs would choose Virginia to start their next venture, and to help jobseekers see the careers available to them. Using information such as location data on Virginia’s universities, the locations of open technology jobs, and even LinkedIn data on our state’s college graduates, we were able to paint an interactive picture in Tableau of the state’s tech workforce. We were also able to create dashboards that let people compare statistics such as telecommuting rates and college degree attainment with the rest of the country.”

The VDOT team was recognized for working with data outside their work area and for presenting data in an interactive and easy-to-use manner. Datathon winners were chosen at the 17th Annual Commonwealth of Virginia Innovative Technology Symposium in September.

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