Opening Up Big Data Solutions to the Public

As Catherine Lawson and her AVAIL (Albany Visualization And Informatics Lab) team empower a new generation of students to assimilate computer science knowledge and subject-matter expertise in the mining and dissemination of “big data,” they create groundbreaking web-based solutions for government and business.

big data solutions
Members of AVAIL team: left to right, computer science graduate Eric Conklin, Catherine Lawson, and Matthew Wolkoff.

Lawson, associate professor in UAlbany’s Department of Geography and Planning, along with AVAIL project manager Matthew Wolkoff, database expert Alex Muro and a team of graduate students, are tackling a range
of open source and open data projects.

Working with New Jersey Transit, AVAIL is incorporating U.S. Census household data into micro-simulations of bus transit ridership to give New Jersey-ites, and ultimately transit riders everywhere, ultra-efficient open source trip-planning.

Lawson’s team is also developing a Cloud-based decision support system for New York’s Mesonet, a statewide network of automated weather stations. Through an AVAIL-produced interactive web-based map, Mesonet stakeholders will select evidence-based sites that best serve New York.

Overseas, AVAIL is transforming an academic study on community gardens by University of Glasgow colleagues into an interactive map to increase community participation in these agriculture networks’ expansion.

Locally, graduate students are providing web-based solutions for private companies contracted through AVAIL, part of UAlbany’s Lewis Mumford Center.