Session Summary:

In January 2021, Alaska residents seeking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment faced a convoluted maze of websites. The software was made for providers—not for residents.

The Anchorage Innovation Team built a fast, and mobile vaccine finder website for Alaska using R. What started as a web scraping prototype launched statewide one week later and ultimately connected tens of thousands of Alaskans to a vaccine.

This talk will cover how we used R to build Alaska's vaccine finder. Including:

  • Scraping and http packages (rvest & httr)
  • Using Heroku and S3 to run R jobs 24/7
  • Creating a flexible data service with R

Session Details


01:30 PM to 01:50 PM

Cherry Blossom

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Ben Matheson profile pic

Ben Matheson

Municipality of Anchorage Innovation Team

Ben Matheson is the Data Analyst for the Anchorage Innovation Team— a startup inside city government—where he helps people solve problems using data and technology. Ben works extensively with R and JavaScript to analyze data, visualize ideas, and build tools. He has worked as a public radio reporter across rural Alaska and covered the Iditarod. He enjoys getting deep into the mountains.