Empowering the Public Through Everyday Data Analysis
There are vast amounts of data all around us—but the tools for understanding it all remain the purview of a small number of experts and analysts. Dr. Wesley Willett, Canada Research Chair in Visual Analytics, wants to bring data analysis tools out of the lab and into everyday settings, helping everyone to collect, analyze and make decisions based on both public and private data.
Using hands-on engagement and rapid prototyping practices, Willett and his research team are working to create new online, physical, virtual and augmented-reality systems that allow individuals to access and use data in their everyday lives. These systems include public tools that will help citizens explore vast collections of open data from governments, companies, non-profits and other institutions. They also include personalized tools that can help individuals collect, visualize and explore personal data to better understand their homes, habits, finances and health.
As new sensing and display technologies make data an ever-increasing part of our lives, systems that allow everyday users to manage data and make data-driven decisions represent a crucial avenue for public empowerment. By creating accessible, personal and ubiquitous analysis tools designed for non-experts, Willett and his team aim to democratize data analysis, enabling whole new classes of users to understand and benefit from their own data.