FIU hosts International Open Data Day in North Miami

Florida International University celebrated International Open Data Day at the Biscayne Bay Campus Saturday with a hackathon focused on the use of data to deal with climate change.

International Open Data Day is a worldwide festival in support of technology and transparency. According to organizers, themes for the day included: tracking public money, open mapping as well as projects showing the impacts of climate change.

The BBC event, spearheaded by journalism Professor Susan Jacobson, was attended by about three dozen people. Brian Schriner, the dean of the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts, kicked off the day with a brief talk about the use of data in dealing with – and hopefully solving – the region’s thorniest issue: sea level rise.

He signed out Jacobson for her work in that arena, specifically an app that maps the current and future impacts of the rising ocean.

Julie Kramer, a software designer for MDLIVE Inc. and a co-captain of Code for Miami, said she was happy about the turnout.

“We got a lot of students from FIU, a lot of people that don’t know a lot about open data and are learning about it and our Code of Miami core members,” she said.

The day included hands-on workshops by Samantha Sunne and Sheyla Aguilar de Santana, who showed attendees how to use free tools like Google MyMaps and ArcGIS to visualize data.

Kirsten Cabarcas, a digital media student at Florida International University, said the event was interesting and useful.

“Open Data Day was actually really interesting,” she said. “I learned so much about data visualization and how to use maps to tell stories. There are so many tools out there that I did not know about until today.”

Miami’s chief innovation officer, Mike Sarasti, unveiled a live preview of the city’s new open data portal website, which includes information on building permits, public record requests and detailed budget data.

“If we are all more data-driven as a community by increasing data literacy and ability- that is going to help us target our communities that need the most help, tackle our more intense problems, and in the end- make our communities stronger,” he said.


Caplin News contributor.