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Data Studio celebrates one year pioneering the data frontier

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Cal Poly’s Data Studio celebrated one year since its grand opening at its second annual Data Studio Open House on Friday, May 3. The Data Studio, which helps students pursue data-based research projects, hosted data expert Dr. Melissa Cragin and exhibited projects by undergraduate and graduate students.

The Open House was a chance for the Data Studio to share its mission with the Cal Poly community, said Data and GIS Librarian Jeanine Scaramozzino.

“The purpose of the Data Studio Open House is twofold. First, it’s to give students from all colleges the opportunity to share their research projects,” Jeanine said. “Second, it’s to bring in nationally recognized speakers – this year Melissa Cragin – to discuss larger implications surrounding data in society and education.”

The Data Expert

Melissa Cragin, AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow, Office of the Assistant Director of the Directorate for Biological Sciences, has worked both in the library world and the data research world, and shared her vision of data in the future in a talk entitled “Pioneering in the Data Frontier: Discovering the World Anew.”

“You’ve got someone who knows about academics and knows about the realities in the world,” Jeanine explained.

Melissa’s talk explored how data has become universal in the modern world, through tools like Google Maps and technology like smartphones, making large amount of information available at your fingertips.

“We’re at a point where there’s absolute excitement about data approaches and big data,” Melissa said. The increase in data means a change in how humanity views the world, she said. Currently, political and social norms are struggling to keep up with the inundation of information.

In the future, qualitative analysis of data will be key to understanding how all these numbers and information fit into our day-to-day lives.

Data Pioneers

At the same time, many Cal Poly students shared their own projects generating and analyzing data for future use.

Natasha Meyers-Cherry shared her graduate research into fish populations off California’s coasts, while mechanical engineering student Ian Painter’s work with a team of students to create a LiDAR-based autonomous vehicle. Student Hannah Panno shared her work with OpenStreetMap, mapping paths, which earned her the title of one of the top 50 mappers in the United States through the program.

Each student project showed a different way to use new technologies and new data to improve the world around us.

And, at the end of the Open House, it was clear what a bright future really waits in the data frontier.

For more about Data Studio visit our site. Photos from the 2013 Data Studio Open House are on Flickr.

For more on OpenStreetMap’s top mappers, check out their blog.