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From the DataLab
Unlocking Insights from Public Data
A Case Study with COVID-19 Exposure Data
Throughout the pandemic we have seen a proliferation of public data reporting and sharing, which for many may have been their first exposure to dashboards and real-time data visualization. To help our community engage with public data and to illustrate how data science workflows and tools can be combined to create similar impactful visualizations, the DataLab team focused on a dataset that had not yet been visualized – campus COVID-19 exposure data. The UC Davis DataLab hopes the community finds this visualization useful as an exploration tool and example of the power of good data viz.
M.V. is a postdoctoral scholar at the UC Davis Center for Community and Citizen Science where she partnered with DataLab on the MPA Watch Project, an analysis of publicly collected coastal use data. The data gathered from such participatory science projects is often extraordinarily complex, which can make it difficult to use for decision making. “Data science techniques can offer new understanding and interpretation,” she notes. When M.V. isn't testing models, rock-climbing, or writing speculative fiction, she’s working to dismantle barriers to the use of community-derived data and harnessing data science in the pursuit of improved social and environmental outcomes.
From frog trapping and gene sequencing, to coordinating the Davis R-Users Group while a DataLab postdoctoral affiliate, Ryan has made indelible contributions to UC Davis. "The ability to quickly take any sort of data and visualize it to tell a story is really powerful," he said in a recent interview about what he learned during his career at UC Davis. "I wish more people realized that it's worth the pain of learning a new computational language, because it does open doors."