Previously, he wrote about political news and produced podcasts and interactive content focused on Ocean County, NJ at Ocean County Politics. Stories first broken by Gavin were often cited by larger media outlets, including NJ.com, POLITICO, InsiderNJ and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show.
In 2017 he launched OPRAmachine, a statewide freedom of information portal that automatically publishes public records requests & responses made under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA), the first website of its kind to exclusively serve New Jersey.
Gavin has been recognized as an authority on government transparency and open data within the state as a result of his platform’s impact. He has also appeared in court as an expert witness, testifying in cases involving the production of digital data held by government agencies, and has succesfully appealed denials of access to public records in court. He also regularly provides expert commentary to the media on open government, public affairs, technology issues and related topics.
Gavin has previously conducted public opinion and public policy research at the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University, where he worked on data analysis for state legislative and issue polls, in addition to serving as a co-author of the Center’s report on New Jersey’s underground construction economy.
He is currently working as a data scientist with the Rutgers Urban & Civic Informatics Lab at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy at Rutgers University, where he works to apply emerging technologies, GIS and big data analytics to inform data-driven public policy development and the creation of smart, socially just & sustainable cities.
M.S., Data Science & Strategic Analytics, 2020
B.A., Political Science, 2018
Back in February, we announced plans to accept applications from the community for a new public-interest initiative, the OPRAmachine Research Fellowship. We planned to start moving forward with this in March, but the world rapidly changed when COVID-19 struck. Given the well-documented delays in responses to OPRA requests at the height of the pandemic, we felt that it wouldn’t be prudent to award the fellowships in the spring as originally planned.
In this post I will introduce zipcodeR, my new open-source R package that provides a set of integrated functions and data that make working with ZIP code-level data easier in R. The package provides a comprehensive, offline dataset for US ZIP codes in addition to integrating outside open data sources from the Census Bureau and Department of Housing & Urban development to aid researchers and data science practitioners working with ZIP code-level data in R.
I’m thrilled to announce the public release of a new interactive dashboard created from 3 years of OPRA request metadata collected via OPRAmachine. I first created the OPRAmachine platform in 2017, and one of my goals since starting the project was collecting data about OPRA requests in order to track how well public authorities comply with New Jersey’s state freedom of information law. The large amount of data collected through the platform is proving to be a valuable source of data for researching OPRA compliance in the state.
A tool for researching the opiod epidemic in New Jersey and where & when overdoses are occuring