News & Calendar


3DIG's Next Meeting

March 27: 2:30-4:00pm (EDT) (GMT-4)
Alumni Hall Room 205

This meeting will cover the following topics:

- A brief review of current efforts to set up facilities on campus for 3D image capture using Structure Form Motion (SFM) and Reflectance Transformation Imaging techniques

- A demonstration of recent results in creating 3D models of past archaeological excavations using existing photographs

- A status report on 3DIG's project to document the Di-Phi monuments in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery with SFM photography

You can follow 3DIG on its new web page here.

New Census Estimates Help Explain Population Growth

Census bureau population data collected in December have been used to identify a tremendous growth in population in Florida, particularly around a handful of metro areas. This growth means that the Sunshine State is now the third most populous state in the nation.

“Florida’s ascension, revealed when the 2014 state population estimates were released last December, was a significant demographic milestone for our country,” Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. “These county and metro area estimates provide a more detailed picture of how this happened, showing growth in areas such as central and southern Florida.”

Certain counties in Texas and California have also experienced significant population booms, as evidenced by these new estimates.

To learn more click Register here.

Using the ACS to Measure Health Insurance Coverage

March 26: 1–2 p.m. (EDT) (GMT-4)

Register here.

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Starting with the 2008 survey, the American Community Survey (ACS) has included a question about health insurance coverage. The ACS provides new opportunities for tracking health insurance coverage over time and comparing insurance patterns across geographic areas and population subgroups. But there are also challenges for data users.

In this webinar, Joanna Turner, senior research fellow at the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC), will provide an overview of health insurance data in the ACS, how it fits into the context of other federal surveys collecting health data, and provide examples of how SHADAC uses these data to inform state health policy. Genevieve Kenney, co-director and senior fellow in the Health Policy Center of the Urban Institute, will present some examples of how ACS health insurance data can be used, along with challenges in working with the ACS coverage data.

Their presentations will be followed by 10 minutes of Q&A.

Joining the online webinar is free. Participants who choose to listen to the audio via telephone are responsible for their own standard long-distance rates.

Humanitarian Mapathon

Whether you are new to geography or a GIS expert, come to the ResearchHUB and contribute to the largest existing open source map of the world.

Contrary to popular belief, large parts of the world have yet to be mapped. The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team aims to fill in the blanks where it’s most needed, when it’s most needed.

We’ll be combining our efforts to produce geospatial data for areas in crisis, where relief workers, planners, governments, and locals need high-quality data to get their communities up and running again. If possible, please bring a laptop computer and we’ll start contributing shortly after a quick demonstration.

For more information, go to

NC Invests Millions into Big Data Research

Researchers at RENCI (the Renaissance Computing Institute at UNC Chapel Hill), UNC Charlotte, and NC State University have received funding to develop advanced technologies and solutions that will position North Carolina as a leader in data science research and applied data analytics.


Odum Assists Orange County Solid Waste Management

Odum staff members Teresa Edwards and Chris Wiesen recently provided assistance to Orange County Solid Waste Management (OCSWM) for a survey of users of the County’s five Solid Waste Convenience Centers (SWCCs). The primary purpose was to collect data to apportion the usage of the SWCCs into two parts: usage by residents who live in the incorporated areas of the county, and usage by residents who live outside the incorporated areas. Other information regarding recycling behavior and preferences was also collected. Edwards and Wiesen worked with OCSWM staff to devise a sampling and data collection plan to provide a “snapshot” view of SWCC usage over a one week period for each site. OCSWM staff conducted the surveys and entered the data into an application provided by Odum, and Odum analyzed the data and wrote the report, available from the County here.

A Bridge from Publishing Words to Publishing Data

As data publishing technology and data management policies have evolved over the past decade, more academic journals are working with data repositories to disseminate the data associated with published articles. The Dataverse Project at Harvard University's Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS) recently received a two year grant (2015-2017) from the Sloan Foundation, in partnership with the Odum Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to collaborate with a variety of publishers, repositories and the international scientific community in order to integrate and automate data publication with more traditional scholarly communication, thus helping make data sharing and preservation an intrinsic and transparent part of the scholarly publication process.

This project is an expansion of a previous Sloan grant (2012-2014), which the Dataverse Project worked on with Stanford University and Simon Fraser University's Public Knowledge Project (PKP) to successfully implement automated data deposit integration (via an API using SWORDv2 protocol) between Dataverse and Open Journal Systems' (OJS) publishing platform (Dataverse plugin).

This new project will work with a wider group of journals, publishers and publishing systems (beyond OJS), including Sage, PLOS, Elsevier, F1000 Research, several economics journals (e.g., Econometrica, Review of Economics and Statistics), etc. Additionally, the focus will be on engaging more with the wider research community, including FORCE11, RDA, and FAIRport, to ensure that the data repository API is aligned with a common standard across disciplines, publishing systems and repositories. More specifically, project goals include: extending support for more metadata (beyond Dublin Core); evaluating moving from SWORD to a more generic and suitable data repository API that will allow for sharing data across a wider variety of publishing systems (beyond just journals); supporting more data review workflows; embedding dataset preview widgets into the article; along with automating data citation and bi-directional linking between articles and data.

Family History Research and Community Involvement

November 20, 2014

Today the Odum Institute released the findings of a study for which found that participation in family history research is correlated with volunteerism, civic participation, and charitable giving. The study screened members of an opt-in panel to identify those who had and had not engaged in family history research activities in the past 10 years. Respondents who were active in family history research (referred to as family history “Enthusiasts”) were significantly more likely to report doing volunteer work in the past 12 months, voting in the most recent election, holding public office, and belonging to a civic or veterans’ organization. In addition, Enthusiasts reported significantly higher levels of charitable giving and larger numbers of volunteer hours than Nonenthusiasts.

Teresa Edwards, Assistant Director for Survey Research at the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science, was the Principal Investigator for the study. “To our knowledge, this is the first study to explore the relationship between family history research and community involvement. As such, our findings are preliminary, but we found strong and broad correlation across all the activities we examined.”

All measures in the study were by self-report. The two samples from the opt-in panel were matched on demographic characteristics, and were designed to reflect the age distribution of the U.S. household population.

“While the correlation we found was quite remarkable, we can make no claims about causation,” Edwards said. “The design of this study does not allow us to say whether involvement in family history research motivated respondents to engage in their community at higher levels, or if certain types of individuals are simply more likely to engage in both types of activities. We hope a future study will shed light on this question.”

The study was commissioned by, but Odum Institute researchers independently designed and conducted the study according to best practices in the field. “We were pleased for the opportunity to partner with while still maintaining appropriate levels of academic rigor,” said Dr. Tom Carsey, Director of the Odum Institute. A copy of the report is available at

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