Internet speed test campaign extended through April 15

DPI is continuing the campaign to collect information on Wisconsin’s internet connection speeds until April 15 to gather as many statewide results as possible by that time. The speed test initiative will continue as an ongoing collection after April 15. To date, Wisconsin residents have taken over 240,000 speed tests, with an average of 3,383 tests per day.

This data will give the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband Access and other broadband task force groups the information they need to target improvements where internet performance is poor. 

See Internet Speeds in Your District

What is the average speed in your district broken down by ISP? You can use this dashboard to see speed test data for your district over a 30-,60-, and 90-day period. To filter the data, select today’s date in the Select a Date menu, then select your district in the District menu. For more information on how to use the report please reference the how to view this data link on the DPI Broadband website.

Internet connection quality is a priority to make sure Wisconsin students can equitably participate in online and blended learning. How does your district’s average speed align to the FCC household broadband guidelines?

How to Participate

Help make sure your community is included in this collection by spreading the word and encouraging residents in your community to test their home internet speeds using M-Lab’s speed test.

To help get the word out, DPI has created a communication toolkit that features email templates, social media post templates, and images to include on web pages and social media. You're invited to use that template to put together or spruce up your own communication campaign to let people know about this ongoing speed testing.

Thank you for your help in improving internet speeds in our communities!

Help measure residential internet speeds in your community

This post is adapted from the DPI Broadband Speed Test Tookit prepared by IFLS Library System.

DPI is committed to improving digital equity in the state of Wisconsin. This year, they’re collecting data about internet speeds across the state. They need your help!

What they’re doing

DPI is collaborating with Measurement Lab (M-Lab) to collect data on internet connection speeds across Wisconsin. DPI will use M-Lab’s internet speed test data to create detailed reports and to provide maps of internet speeds across the state.

Why they’re doing it

The data will give the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband Access (and other broadband task groups) the information they need to target improvements where internet speeds and performance are poor. 

Your input is critical

In order to get an accurate picture of the state, we need a lot of accurate data. That’s where you come in. The more data M-Lab can collect, the better we can model internet connection speeds across the state.

How you can help

  • Include a link to the M-Lab Speed Test on your library websites, Facebook pages, and any other communication platforms your library uses. The URL to link to the speed test is

  • Encourage community members to test their internet connection speeds at home, several times if possible! Include this in e-mails and newsletters, tuck into pick-up bags, encourage your trustees and volunteers to participate and share.

  • Share the URLs of pages where you have posted the link, so DPI can get an idea of how the speed test is being promoted around the state. (They’re looking for your social media posts as well as your website.)

Suggested language



Kudos to IFLS Library System for sharing a toolkit with graphics to use for websites, social media posts, Facebook headers, newsletters, and bag-stuffers.

Viz of the Day

It is always a delight to receive my Viz of the Day (VOTD) emails. These visualizations are created with Tableau and nominated for the Tableau Public Gallery. The topics are timely and the Vizzes are visibly stunning. Here are a few of my favorites (click on any to explore):

Dashboard 1

Harry Potter Spells

History of Bruce Springsteen

Gender&Ethnic disparities in Tech Companies

Gaming Revenue

Coffee Calculator

Here is the link to subscribe to the Viz of the Day:

For even more inspiration, check out the Iron Viz Gallery:

COVID-19 INFODEMIC - Tools for Myth Busters!

As a data specialist (and someone with family members at high risk for COVID-19), I have been following researchers and collecting a personal library of COVID-19 data visualizations, datasets, and scholarly articles. With so much information generated daily, it is hard to keep up and sift through sources to find credible information.

This week, I watched a UW Now Livestream featuring Professor Ajay Sethi on "Confronting Covid-19 Misinformation". In his talk, Professor Sethi shows how our scientific understanding of COVID-19 is improving with time.“The problem, however, is that running in parallel with this expansion of knowledge about COVID-19, is the spread of vast amounts of misinformation and disinformation (misinformation spread deliberately), called the COVID-19 INFODEMIC.” 

Professor Sethi also explores why it may be easy to believe COVID-19 misinformation and offers approaches to confront misinformation in our society. I was intrigued by his example of a fact checking organization, the Corona Virus Facts Alliance, fighting this INFODEMIC. On their website, they have a visualization showing categories of hoaxes with each fact check represented by a circle that you can hover over for details on the falsehood.


The term “COVID-19 INFODEMIC” is new to me, so I wanted to learn more. Here are additional resources I found:

Lastly, check out “Dear Pandemic” on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. They are a diverse group of public health researchers providing the public with evidence-based answers about COVID-19. 


Searching for Census Tracts? - replacements for American Fact Finder.

For many years LINKcat libraries in SCLS have used the U.S. Census Bureau's "American Fact Finder" address search tool to determine the Census tract and/or the legal  municipality of patron addresses.  The U.S. Census Bureau has discontinued access to the American Fact Finder tool as of 3/31/2020.  Here are some options for library staff to use to help determine the Census tract or municipality for patron records.

The U.S. Census Bureau is now providing an updated digital Census Tract map that can be found here: You have to enable these options in the left sidebar - Census Tracts, Blocks layer and the Places and County Subdivisions layer - to indicate the type of information you are searching for. Enter the address in the Address Search bar along the top to find where a particular residence falls within these areas.

Another resource is My Vote WI - this works well to determine smaller incorporated places and townships. The exception to this is places like Village of Brooklyn which is in multiple counties, because the My Vote site doesn't distinguish which county an address is in.

AccessDane provides county subdivision-level info via address searches for Dane County addresses only.

Wisconsin Hometown Locator:  Address Based Research & Map Tools.
Wisconsin Statewide Parcel Map:   After you enter the address you need to right click the map to get the info.

Big thanks to Alicia, Joe and Rachel for compiling these resources!


Dashboard of Major Employers

When collecting community data, I often get asked what businesses are in the area. Often that data is only available from subscription databases, so I was thrilled when I heard about the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development LMI (Labor Market Information) dashboard that provides free access to major employers in a city or village. Here are steps to do a search:

Go to Wisconsin LMI Data Access


1.  Click on the Create Visualization tab

2.  Select Category = Business AND Sub Category = Employers By Area - Info Group

3.  Click on Generate Visualizations

4.  Hover over the Employers - Major Employers visualization AND  Click on Load Visualization


5.  Select your County

6.  Select your City (or Village)

7. Select an employer to get details about the business.

Want more details?  Check out the other LMI visualization, Employers - Size and Contacts, to view businesses by NAICS sectors such as construction, education, health care, manufacturing, etc.  


2020 Census | Response Outreach Area Mapper (ROAM)

The US Census Bureau has created the Response Outreach Area Mapper (ROAM), an application to view the Low Response Score (LRS), a percentage of households in a census tract predicted to NOT respond to the Decennial Census. It also provides easy access to valuable housing, demographic, and socioeconomic data. 

Using Dane County, Wisconsin as an example, here are 10 steps to help libraries get started using ROAM.



2. VIEW YOUR COUNTY- Use the dropdown to select Search by County or zoom-in to your County.

3. ADD STREETS – Select the Basecamp Gallery icon and then select Streets.

4. ADD LIBRARIES – Select the Add Data icon, enter Wisconsin, and ADD Libraries and Branches, Wisconsin 2019, Feature Service by Wisconsin_DPI. Explore other layers.

5. VIEW LEGEND- Select the Legend icon to understand how color is being assigned to the Low Response Score (LRS).

6. CHANGE LAYER DISPLAY – Select the Layer List icon and select select the 3 dots next to Low Response Score by 2017 Census Tract to change the transparency (brightness). Layers can also be turned on or off.

7. SELECT A CENSUS TRACT – Select a census tract on the map to view the Low Response Score (LRS), ACS estimates, and FCC High-Speed Connection rates.

8. SHOW ATTRIBUTE TABLE – Select the down arrow to view the attribute table. Adjust map view so all areas of interest are displayed. Attributes are defined in the ROAM Data Dictionary.

9. SORT/FILTER/EXPORT ATTRIBUTE DATA – Any column can be sorted by clicking on the column label. The data can also be filtered and exported to a csv for further analysis. Here is an example of how to filter data for multiple counties. Be sure geometry for the filtered data is displayed on the map or turn off “Filter by Map Extent”.

10. LEARN MORE - ROAM has numerous resources including a Quick Tips Guide and a Recorded Webinar: You can also select the Information icon.


Dashboards - Fast Facts by Library or County

The Fast Facts dashboard,!/vizhome/AnnualLibraryReportFastFacts2009-2015/LibraryFastFacts now includes all Wisconsin libraries

Library Fast Facts

AND a new tab for County Fast Facts.

County Fast Facts

The dashboards use the 2012-2018 Wisconsin Public Library Service Data provided by libraries via their annual report. Filters at the top of the dashboards allow a library or county, and a year to be selected. Additional details can be viewed by hovering over areas of the dashboard.


At the bottom right hand corner of Tableau dashboards, there are options to 1. Share, 2. Download, or 3. Full Screen.

  • Share Embed Code: Click on the share icon to get an embed code, a block of HTML, which allows the dashboard to be added in a website or blog. The Fast Facts dashboard is embedded on this SCLS web page, which automatically updates whenever changes are made.
  • Share-Link: After filtering to data of interest, click on the share link to provide a direct link to the filtered results.
  • Download: After filtering to data of interest, click on download and then select the format. An image, PDF, and PowerPoint allows the dashboard to be used for handouts or presentations.
  • FullScreen: Use the full screen to explore the data.

This and other library dashboards are published on the South Central Library System (SCLS) Tableau Public page:!/. Please share ideas to make any of them better!

FUN FACTS: Fourth of July

According to the United States Census Bureau, American flags are big business with $6.3 mil imports and $20.8 mil exports in 2018. Statistics like these are highlighted on Fun Facts:Fourth of July



This and other holiday visualizations are made available from the United States Census Bureau Statistics in Schools which offers free educational resources using real life data. Besides Fun Facts, they provide other resources including maps, games, videos, and more. Activities are available by topic and grade levels with teaching guides.

Check it out, have a fun (safe) 4th of July, and don't forget your American flag!

Forward Analytics

The Wisconsin Counties Association formed a new research organization, Forward Analytics, to provide nonpartisan analysis of issues affecting the state. Their mission is “to use the best data available to highlight challenges facing the state, and to assist policymakers in understanding that data so they can make informed policy decisions”.  Worker shortages, changing demographics, and the opioid crisis are among the issues impacting the direction of the state and counties.

Research Reports and a “data lab” (compiled state statistics) are freely available on their website: Be sure to check out their latest report: Falling Behind: Migration Changes and State Workforce.