Issue No. 18-7
July 2018
The 2nd Annual Texas Government Data Forum was held June 21 at the JJ Pickle Research Campus in Austin and the almost 400 attendees left the forum already in anticipation for next year's.

Opening with a welcome from event host DIR, the Data Forum featured an opening keynote by Randy Krum and his best practices for communicating with data.

Featuring a brief summary of his much longer half day presentation [more information on that below in this newsletter!], Krum successfully highlighted the importance of using visualizations to complement presentations, briefs, pitches and anything else that may benefit from an appropriate infographic.
The panels featured a wealth of content ranging in technical proficiency from the data layman to the data scientist. Truly, there was something for everyone who works even a little bit with data.

Speaking during lunch was Michael C Petersen, M.D., who spoke about the opioid epidemic ravaging certain areas of the United States and how data can be used as a tool in countering future impacts on communities throughout the country.

Using a dynamic audience survey tool to anticipate audience interest, hot topics to anticipate at the 2019 Data Forum could include analytics, automation, collaboration and more.

If you were unable to attend this year's Data Forum, speaker presentations have been made available at the DIR website at
Two teams from the Girls Go CyberStart, SANS Insitute CyberSecurity Competition held in February 2018, met with Gov. Greg Abbott on June 29, 2018 for their high achievement in representing Texas in the national competition.

The two teams consisted of high school girls from Rockwall-Heath High School and Medina Valley High School. The event focused on introducing high school aged girls to Linux, programming, forensics and other tools through games and challenges centered around cybersecurity.  

Over a 6-day period these ladies worked through a series of challenges increasing in difficulty to gain points for an overall score, all the while slowly opening their eyes to the regularly shifting possibilities of the cybersecurity world.

Their efforts culminated in elevating them to two of the top teams in the nation, resulting in a photo opportunity with Governor Abbott, where the ladies presented the Governor with a larger than life thank you and a card to go with it. The teams also received resolutions from Texas House Representatives Andrew Murr and Justin Holland to commemorate their achievements. 

We wish them a heartfelt congratulation and the best of luck in all of their future endeavors.

Ever beat yourself up over a presentation because you knew it was lacking that flair, that piece of visual information that made you step back and say, "nice!"? If so, you're in luck because DIR is hosting 'Design Tips and Tactics to Create Great Infographics" on Tuesday, July 17 beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The half-day workshop is free for Texas state agencies and is presented by Randy Krum, who was recently a keynote at the 2018 Texas Government Data Forum. Krum's demo will feature a combination of presentation and data visualization design tools that are available.

Incorporating visual information and infographics into your deliverables makes them easier to understand and remember and adds some flair to your documents.

Krum's workshop aims to cover:
  • The science behind visualizing data
  • Telling a story with your data
  • Best practices for designing good charts and data visualizations
  • Examples and success stories of communicating with data visualization
  • Pitfalls and tips for designing and publishing infographics
  • Finding new, unique ways to visualize your data
  • Demonstration in PowerPoint of how to clean up and improve the default chart designs
  • Demonstration of various software and online tools - mostly free or low cost
For full information and to register, please visit the event page on DIR's website at

Design Tips & Tactics to Create Great Infographics
June 17 at 8:30 a.m.

Implementing Agile in Your Agency
July 17 at 9 a.m.

Crafting eLearning Experiences for Your Agency
July 19 at 9 a.m.

Art + Data Tableau Workshop Sneak Peek
July 25 at 9 a.m. & 1 p.m.

IT Project Management in Texas State Government
July 30 at 8:30 a.m.

Roll Out of NEW Statewide Project Reporting System
July 30 at 1:15 p.m.

Introduction to State Financials
July 31 at 10 a.m.

TASSCC Annual Conference
Aug. 5 at 2 p.m.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is computer-generated content overlaid on a real world environment. AR hardware  comes in many forms, including devices that you can carry, such as handheld displays, and devices you wear, such as headsets, and glasses. Common applications of AR technology include video games, television, and personal navigation, though there are many other uses as well.
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