By: Diane Stirling
(315) 443-8975

The second meetup of a new community group focused on information visualization will take place on Wednesday, April 8.

April’s session is being sponsored by the Syracuse Media Group, publisher of the Syracuse Post-Standard and The event will be at the group's headquarters at 220 South Warren Street, in downtown Syracuse. The event begins at 6:15 PM, and pizza will be provided.

The meetup will feature an interactive panel discussion comprised of people who use data visualization in a variety of contexts, according to Jeff Hemsley, Assistant Professor at the School of Information Studies, who is the meetup’s organizer and host, said panelists will field questions about how they use visualization in their professions; provide opinions about current information visualization opportunities and challenges; and offer perspectives about where they see the field headed.

Among panel members are speakers from Syracuse Media Group, Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Michael Dupras is Managing Producer of Graphics and Staff Development at Syracuse Media Group and former Art Director of The Post-Standard. 

Jon Glass is general manager of the Collaborative Media Room at the Newhouse School where he teaches digital media including data visualization, visual storytelling and social media.

Rebecca Ruige Xu currently teaches computer art and animation as an Associate Professor in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Her artwork and research interests include artistic data visualization, visual music, experimental animation, interactive installations, digital performance and virtual reality.

“They will provide a range of perspectives about what folks from a variety of disciplines are doing with, and how they are thinking about, visualization,” Hemsley said.

The meetup group held its first gathering in March. It was formed to bring together entrepreneurs, business people, artists, students, academics, and government representatives to discuss the challenges and learn from others about visualization, Hemsley said. Those interested in attending might include “anyone who collects or maintains data…designers who might want to start working with data; educators who are thinking about starting to teach elements of visualization; governments, who have a lot of data; and even artists,” he suggested.

Information visualization “makes making sense of data a lot easier than looking at spreadsheets and columns of data. When we find ways to aggregate it and put it together, then we very quickly understand what we are looking at,” the professor added.

Hemsley said he hopes group members can gather between six to 10 times per year to explore topics that reflect their interests regarding information and data visualization. He envisions that future events may include a Saturday “Viz-a-thon,” where teams work to visualize a set of data, or a guest speaker showing the ins and outs of geographic information systems. Attendees are welcome to offer format and speaker suggestions.

Information about the event and the group, and an online form for RSVPs, is available at the InfoVis Syracuse meetup page.