Pushing through milestones

This week was a season of growth for our team best characterized through milestones, triumphs, and valuable lessons. After the wake of the mid-term presentations, our team headed back to the drawing board to work out kinks in our poster, oral presentation, research, and paper. Individually, we made it a priority to focus on the inevitable conclusion of this program and the tools and deliverable’s that would then be available to our partners and the community. In order to ensure the longevity of the work we have produced for our project through this program we have decided to look not only to our resources as far as automation of code and already prepared scripts, but also the opportunity to inspire future Data Science for Social Good students participating in the program moving forward, pursuing an internship with the Atlanta food bank, or taking a special topics course for social good at Georgia Tech. By cleaning our code, providing documentation, and automating applicable tools and interactive applications, it will be significantly easier for our partners to maintain the provided deliverable’s and continue to see results in “real-time.”

Image: Proudly posing with our poster. (From left to right: Dorris, John, Miriam, Mizzani)


Looking toward the future, we are optimistic about the functionality of our project and we are proud that we were able to turn data into actionable information and meaningful story telling. The research that we have conducted over the course of this program with respect to past research conducted using topic modeling, deep learning or multi-aspect sentiment analysis of media coverage relating to food, public safety and health, is uncharted territory with endless paths and destinations. With our finding, we hope to inspire others that are interested in contributing to community organizations and small companies in visualizing their progress, public perception of their brand, and provide tangible analytics tools to improve their strategic planning, business decision-making, and tactical reporting.

As we continue to grow and sew into this project we look forward to adding additional practical functions, such as website metrics tracking traffic and real-time sentiment analytics, link topic modeling tools to the sentiment analysis tool, and finding the most effective and efficient way to cope with duplicate news articles. Adding these features will enhance to usability of the tools, and further encourage the user to stay engaged and comfortable with the interactive design. As we move closer to the end of the project we are determined to complete tasks and continue cleaning data, debugging code, geocoding articles to generate spatial statistics, ect. Although tedious and timely, manually geocoding our sources will enhance the accuracy of our results in terms of the location of news outlets from collected articles across the nation. We look forward to expanding our tool in the near future to cater to the food bank network at large and use data to contribute to the continued success of the Atlanta Community Food Bank and non-profit organizations across the globe.

Image: Current geocoding status of locations based on the collected articles. There are 1,600 articles in total that were collected using webhose.io in this sample.

Food for Thought

In collaboration with the Atlanta Community Food Bank, our team is dedicated to breaking the glass ceiling on SNAP coverage, conversation and education across the nation. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, is a federal nutrition program that provides food-purchasing assistance to millions of eligible low-income individuals and families. The Atlanta Community Food Bank serves more than 600 nonprofits partner agencies in 29 Georgia counties. In conjunction with county food banks across Georgia the Feeding America network tackles critical societal issues hindering communities such as food insecurity, food deserts, and economic stability.

Over the course of the first week our team had the opportunity to gather background research regarding the SNAP program, questions and met with the Atlanta Community Food Bank to gain meaningful insight. After obtaining the necessary primary pulmonary research, our team organized the news articles provided and scraped their text and content to assess key factors such as, the location of the article, author, overall viewpoint on SNAP, and publication.

To incorporate a diverse array of content, comments from Facebook api and Twitter data was also scraped and analyzed for sentiment analysis. To properly convey the discourse regarding SNAP to the community at large and Atlanta Food Bank leadership, we decided it would be easiest to create mediums where the content could most effectively be illustrated. Visualization tool such as a shiny application in R are currently underway to help tie in the various mediums, as well as word clouds of frequently used words/ phrases, and possibly a “SNAP App.”

Based on the data sets our team builds we can identify critical components such as the main “arguments” and national sentiment about SNAP, whether conservative or liberal news outlets use the term more frequently, and track the combined traffic with author evaluations and viewpoints.

We look forward to a challenging and rewarding experience working on this project!