Love Data Week

During Love Data Week this February, we showed off our love for all things data. An international celebration that’s taken place since 2016 on the week of Valentine’s Day, Love Data Week aims to celebrate data in all forms, foster a community around data users and enthusiasts, and promote good practices around the sharing, management, and use of data. As a lover of data and a believer in using it to bring about changes that matter, I decided to participate in the week by showing how data can be experienced in different ways. 

Using spatial data from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and cleaning it in ArcGIS Pro, I created several datasets showing streets with pedestrian and cyclist crashes in cities in Massachusetts. I brought those datasets into Blender to create 3D models of the roads where the height of the roads is based on the number of crashes and printed 3D models of each of the cities. The models, of course, have a visual component to them, but they also offer a tactile experience where a user can pick it up and feel which roads had the most crashes. While it was certainly a fun, creative endeavor to see what was possible when trying to make data tactile, it was also an effort to show how one might make data more accessible by presenting it differently. 

Love Data Week may have ended, but experimenting with different representations of data and seeing how those representations might serve different needs or communities is something I love and hope to experiment with more. If you are interested in learning more about the process of making this kind of 3D model or want to check them out in person, you can reach out to the Digital Scholarship Group at Join us in carrying the spirit of Love Data Week forward and celebrate the value of data all year round!