F&ES 603b / 2018-2019

Environmental Data Visualization & Communication

Credits: 3

Spring 2019: M, 10:30-12:20, Bowers
 

 
Welcome to the Information Age. Data production is growing at 50% per year, or more than doubling every two years. We are not only producing more data from existing sources, we are constantly creating entirely new streams of data, whether statistical, text, audio, video, sensor, and bio-metric data. Yet, our ability to access, manage, understand, and synthesize all this data is extremely limited. Visualization is a powerful means of enhancing our cognitive abilities to learn from data, especially when informed by insights into human behavior and social systems. While developing the quantitative skills necessary for analyzing Big Data is important, understanding how to  effectively explore and communicate insights from data – whether big or small – is equally essential for policymakers, researchers, and practitioners alike. In this course, you will learn how to effectively explore, identify, and communicate key insights from environmental data to diverse audiences through visualization and presentation. Classes will consist partly of short lectures on key principles of effective communication, data management, and visual design, coupled with discussions, peer critiques, and hands-on visualization activities. Throughout the term, we will introduce R and Tableau and use these tools to develop and experimentally test alternative visualizations. The experiments will illustrate and reinforce key principles examined during lectures and discussion. No prior experience with R or other programming languages is necessary.