Collect, Connect, and Communicate:  Data Visualization for Neighborhood Exposure Assessments

PI: Lance Waller, School of Public Health, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics; Community Lead: Clarence Williams, Chapel Hill Neighborhood Organization, Dekalb County, GA

We live in a connected world with massive amounts of data at our fingertips. We can track our location, find directions, and compare prices with a glance at a mobile device. We can also explore multiple sources of information regarding local environmental exposures through data compiled and made available by national and state governments, research organizations, companies, and community groups. With so many types of data, it can be difficult to figure out what data we want, what tools we have to connect data from different sources, and what methods we have to communicate the data to ourselves and to our communities. In this project we use computer maps to link environmental data from different sources that relate to the same community. The project supports a partnership between the Chapel Hill Organization in Dekalb County and researchers at Emory University to create a set of computer tools to find, link, and map environmental data relating to pollutant exposures and citizen concerns in the Chapel Hill neighborhood. The tools will allow community members to see the exposures in maps of their neighborhood in order to gain an understanding of their potential exposures.

How this study advances exposome science: The exposome represents a summary of all the environmental exposures an individual may face where they live, work, worship, and go to school. This project provides maps of exposures so that individuals can see their potential exposures in these locations. By examining the locations where an individual spends time, the maps provide a visual assessment of that individual’s exposome and a tool that could be used by other communities in the future.