child care centers
The highest teen birth rates are in red.  Child care centers are displayed as circles.  Larger circles indicate larger centers.
Credit: CEPR

It’s easy to see the problem.  The orange and red areas of the maps show where teens are having sex and giving birth. The orange and red areas of the maps of Bernalillo County, New Mexico graphically show where the teens and their young children are. The difficulty comes when you reach a map where the circles show the location of local day care centers.  The geographic mismatch is instantly obvious.  This is the kind of information local leaders might use to guide spending of public money.

The visualization of complex social problems is one of the specialties at the University of New Mexico’s Center for Educational Policy Research directed by Peter Winograd.  The research and map have won an international Special Achievement Award at the 2013 Esri International Users Conference, in recognition of outstanding work with GIS technology.  The research was singled out from a field of more than 100,000 entries.

“This award is recognition of the amazing work done by the researchers at the Center," Winograd said.  "We have some great researchers including CEPR’s senior policy analyst Amy Ballard.  Her maps are a work of art.”  This award recognizes the quality of CEPR’s efforts to make research results understandable to the larger community.

ESRI was founded in 1969 as a small research group focused on land planning.  It has since grown into a global geospatial technology company.  CEPR uses the technology to chart educational and social trends in New Mexico to provide data informed policy change for excellence in education.

Media contact: Karen Wentworth 505.277-5627; kwent2@unm.edu