Students visualize data to solve problems at Build Day contest
By Bara Safarova
Discussions of race, rights and inclusivity throughout the Brazos Valley abounded at the Feb. 5 – 6, 2016 Open Data Build Day competition in which citizen teams vied for prize money by mining and manipulating census data to create spatially illustrated solutions for diversity-related challenges.
“There was $5000 in prize money for the teams that submitted the most daring, critical, creative, engaging and practical solutions,” said Bara Safarova, a doctoral student who helped the Texas A&M College of Architecture Diversity Council organize the 22-hour marathon competition.
The various challenges, related to social issues influenced by ethnicity, gender, age or a disabilities, were announced at the start of contest by Bryan and College Station city officials and representatives from the Brazos Valley African-American Museum and other participating groups.
“The challenges,” Safarova said, “were designed to generate critical discussions about diversity and inclusivity at Texas A&M and throughout the Brazos Valley.”
Build Day participants had 23 hours to respond with solutions derived from datasets available from the U.S. Census and other public agencies. Their answers were illustrated spatially using art, geographic information system maps.