Data for Good Seminar: Tapan Parikh, Cornell Tech
Data for Good Seminars invite leading academics from around the world to share how they are using data to address societal challenges.
Hosted by the DSI Data, Media and Society Center
Guest Speaker: Tapan Parikh, Associate Professor at Cornell Tech and in the Information Science Department at Cornell University
DSI Data, Media and Society Center Chairs:
Susan McGregor, Associate Research Scholar
Eugene Wu, Associate Professor of Computer Science
Data, Media and Society Center Website
Participatory Mapping and Virtual Reality
Participatory mapping refers to techniques and methods that support the inclusion of local perspectives and knowledge in the construction of cartographic representations. In this talk, I will present some of my group’s work in developing novel technological platforms for participatory mapping. The first project, Local Ground, is a web-based tool that helps youth and communities develop compelling map-based narratives for civic advocacy. I will outline some of the ways that Local Ground was used in the bay area, including to involve youth in the planning of a public park, ground-truth civic data about food access, and document air quality issues across the BART transportation system, as well as some of the lessons we learned about the efficacy of data-based narratives in these civic contexts. The second (as yet unnamed) project is currently exploring the use of virtual reality for participatory mapping. VR headsets are a natural platform for map-based spatial applications, as they support orienting in 3D space, virtual object manipulation and multi-user collaboration. I will demonstrate a VR platform that we have been developing supporting these features, and discuss how I have been using it in my courses and research. I will conclude by outlining other potential applications of mapping in VR, and directions for future work.
Bio: Tapan Parikh is an Associate Professor of Information Science at Cornell Tech in New York City. His research interests include human-computer interaction and the design and use of information technologies for youth empowerment and civic development. He teaches the Remaking the City course at Cornell Tech, which connects graduate students with civic organizations to work on service learning and design projects for local impact. Previously, he was one of the founders of the Information and Communications Technologies and Development (ICTD) research area, and helped start several international social enterprises working in agriculture, microfinance and health. He has received the NSF CAREER award, a Sloan Fellowship, a UW Diamond Early Career Award and was named Technology Review magazine’s Humanitarian of the Year in 2007.