Interest in Data Visualization is Off the Charts!
Vol.7 Issue 8

The Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center (MMAC) Tech Talks have developed quite a reputation as an entertaining and informative source of analysis on emerging technologies and business insight. The latest MMAC Tech Talk, held on October 27, 2021, was no different! This sixth installment featured keynote speaker Gerson D. Vasquez from the U.S. Census Bureau, who spoke to the fascinating art and science of “Data Visualization.” Interest was high, as this MMAC Tech Talk had the second highest attendance of all MMAC Tech Talks. Data affects everyone, so this topic of Data Visualization was applicable to all attendees.

MMAC Tech Talk keynote speaker, Gerson D. Vasquez (U.S. Census Bureau), presented an entertaining yet informative discussion on Data Visualization. Gerson was joined by Aeronautical Center Director Michelle Coppedge, Deputy Director Kevin O’Connor and Tech Talk host Justin Cockroft.

We live in the “Information Age,” so it’s no surprise that data is one of the most valuable commodities we use. Data is driving business decisions, determining organizational trajectories, guiding marketing and outreach, and assisting in the evaluation of the effectiveness of programs and initiatives. Data is key, but it often exists in huge, meaningless banks of information. The information is of no use until it is understandable.

Gerson Vasquez demonstrated that Data Visualization is a tool that brings clarity and usability to information. Data Visualization helps make sense of the data and present it in meaningful ways. It translates data into visual formats such as graphs, charts, scatter plots, heat maps, dashboards, and other pictorial representations of that data. During the Tech Talk, Gerson displayed several geospatial maps which overlay data visualizations on maps, thereby relating the data to the geographic areas from which it was extracted. By viewing information through these types of data visualization lenses, Gerson illustrated that data can be used much more effectively. Trends and patterns can be identified, and comparisons can be easily drawn.

In his presentation, Gerson additionally shared numerous resources and links which are publicly available from the U.S. Census Bureau for incorporation into privately-owned data models and visualizations. The Census Bureau serves as the leading source of quality data about the nation's people and economy, and with the 2020 Census data releases underway, the data community will continue to have updated population figures to explore. Together with the annual American Community Survey, the resulting repository of census data is expansive and covers over 11.7 million geographic areas, with associated geospatial files. The Census Bureau uses analytics and dashboards to help propel the culture of data-driven decision making.

During the August 25th MMAC Tech Talk, Gerson Vasquez displayed an example of a data visualization graphic he developed for the U.S. Census Bureau. Data Visualizations such as these help make information more usable and understandable by showing trends and patterns which might otherwise be buried in the data.

The Aeronautical Center continues to be data-driven, always learning and trying to better understand our information. Across the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, we are using Data Visualizations to improve our business practices as we fulfill our mission to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world. Much like the U.S. Census Bureau, “we are data people, always striving for a better data culture.”

The Aeronautical Center is pleased to present these quarterly technical briefings, called ‘MMAC Tech Talks’. The MMAC Tech Talks showcase a variety of industry experts who share their insights, experiences, and discoveries as they relate to the aviation and business industries. The Tech Talks offer a glimpse of where technology stands today, highlighting current trends in aviation and business, and how these trends impact the way we live. They also explore problem-solving strategies using innovation and collaboration through cost effective measures. The quarterly MMAC Tech Talks facilitate the sharing of technological solutions for the ever-changing needs of the Aeronautical Center, and the world.

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