Presented By O'Reilly and Cloudera
Make Data Work
March 13–14, 2017: Training
March 14–16, 2017: Tutorials & Conference
San Jose, CA

Visualizing the history of San Francisco

Rumman Chowdhury (Accenture)
11:00am11:40am Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Visualization & user experience
Location: 212 A-B Level: Non-technical
Secondary topics:  Geospatial, R
Average rating: ***..
(3.00, 2 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • People who want to tell a visual story with data
  • People who use atypical data sources

What you'll learn

  • Learn how to parse out useful information from a lot of data
  • Understand how to utilize nondigital data in your visual communication
  • Discover how to make your story engaging and accessible to a larger audience
  • Understand how different visualization tools can work together


“A picture is worth a thousand words.” In this case, these words tell the rich social, cultural, and economic history of San Francisco. In collaboration with the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts—an organization whose mission is to transform cities into creative outlets, apply technology to solve problems, and shape how art is created and consumed in the digital era—and Metis Data Science, Rumman Chowdhury created an interactive data art installation with the purpose of educating San Franciscans about their own city. Rumman discusses the challenges of using historical, predigital-era data with D3 and R to craft a compelling and educational story residing at the intersection of art and technology. The project combines data analysis with cutting-edge visualization tools to present this story in a walk-through interactive gallery format.

Topics include:

  • Using predigital or atypical data: Informative data can take many formats, particularly in a predigital era. Rumman explains how to combine and process disparate data sources. Her data was mainly sourced from historical archives and public data sources.
  • Crafting a visual story meant to educate a broad audience: Rumman explains how to parse out useful and interesting data from over a century’s worth of archives and how to make that data flow into a story.
  • The technical aspects of D3, R, and other tools used to create visuals: Rumman covers the challenges she faced as well as how she selected which visualization tool was the best fit for each visual.
Photo of Rumman Chowdhury

Rumman Chowdhury


Rumman Chowdhury is a senior manager and AI lead at Accenture, where she works on cutting-edge applications of artificial intelligence and leads the company’s responsible and ethical AI initiatives. She also serves on the board of directors for three AI startups. Rumman’s passion lies at the intersection of artificial intelligence and humanity. She comes to data science from a quantitative social science background. She has been interviewed by Software Engineering Daily, the PHDivas podcast, German Public Television, and fashion line MM LaFleur. In 2017, she gave talks at the Global Artificial Intelligence Conference, IIA Symposium, ODSC Masterclass, and the Digital Humanities and Digital Journalism conference, among others. Rumman holds two undergraduate degrees from MIT and a master’s degree in quantitative methods of the social sciences from Columbia University. She is near completion of her PhD from the University of California, San Diego.

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tauhid khan | IT MANAGER
03/06/2017 6:32am PST

Looking forward to attending this presentation!