Josh Doyle has done a remarkable job at establishing the Chicago Data Visualization Group in the city. Just a couple of years ago, noticing a gap in Chicago’s active peer network, he rightly identified a larger interest in data visualization. As he noted, Josh will be active in the community but I will be stepping-in to organize the group’s meetups. I am very excited that I have an opportunity to spend a little time working with this group. In large part, I am relieved that Josh has done the hard work of keeping a new group active in it’s initial stage. In the upcoming year, I have the luxury of building upon previous work.
What will that work entail? Namely, I want to increase the number of opportunities for members through the meetup group. We’ve begun scheduling a pair of events each month; a workshop early in the month and a seminar or presentation at the end. It would be ideal to keep this pace throughout the year, if not more.
There is a general approach to upcoming events. In addition to increasing frequency, I hope this group can provide a rich variety of meetups in these areas:
- Show & Tell
Chicago’s local talent has produced superb visualization, many of which feature Chicago itself. Companies like Datascope Analytics, Datamade, Chicago Tribune, and others actively use data visualization as a means of effective communication. To further the local community–our community–I hope we can share work through a show and tell for every meetup.
This was introduced as “lightning talks” in the most recent meetup, but will continue to exist as a show & tell.In addition to showing completed works, I hope members will be brave enough where work-in-progress can be shared to solicit feedback in the development process.Want to give a show & tell? Bring a laptop (and dongle) that can connect to a VGA cable and be prepared to talk. For now, we’ll keep the lightning talk format to a 5-minute limit.
- Teach & Learn
Data visualization is a profession that involves skill and toolset. We are fortunate that many of us work in a growing software development, UI/UX, data analytics, and general IT fields. But it also leaves limited opportunity to learn in a rapidly changing field. This year we will be offering a series of free workshops on various data visualization tools. Paul Katsen has held the well-received D3 workshops.
In the upcoming year, we aim to expand to other tools, including R and more D3. We also would like for you to lead sessions. With over 800 members in our group alone, there is sufficient talent that could be taught to others from our own ranks. Always feel free to reach out with a new idea for a workshop that can be useful for budding and experienced data visualization-ists.
We already have had great speakers, such as Andy and Cole, visit us in Chicago. I hope to bring more leaders in visualization to our meetups. There are some exciting speakers that are being confirmed for later this year.Local talent is also important. Chicago-based Datascope Analytics have presented to our group, as will Datamade, Chicago Tribune, and a variety of people who participated in the DIVVY Data Challenge.
In May, we will be holding an event at the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s City of Big Data exhibit. I hope we can continue to feature data visualization from our own community as featured seminars.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but a start to a good year. I am interested to hear your feedback through this blog, @ChicagoDataViz, chicagodataviz@gmail,com, and at the events.