Innovative Data Visualizations to Engage the Public with USGS Science

“From Stream Gage to Twitter Feed: innovative data visualizations to engage the public with USGS science”

As the world’s largest water data provider, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) plays a vital role in protecting life and property, monitoring available water resources, and understanding our Nation’s aquatic ecosystems. Disseminating this water data and accompanying science is just as critical as producing it; however, traditional science products are often overlooked by general audiences even though they resonate with technical ones.

Enter #dataviz. Data visualizations present an opportunity to innovate and transform the ways in which USGS shares water science through a combination of engaging displays of data, captivating design, and compelling science insights. This talk will share examples and describe the creation of these non-traditional science products which are intended for public consumption.


Lindsay Platt is a Water Data Scientist for the Integrated Information Dissemination Division within the Water Mission Area at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech, but before embarking on a traditional engineering career path, she found a passion for writing code to conduct data analyses (first in MATLAB and then in R).

Now, as a data scientist with the USGS, her primary role is to distill large or complex water data into meaningful insights through reproducible science and innovative data visualizations. She also leads the USGS R training program, which teaches other USGS scientists how to wield the power of scientific computing to create their own reproducible workflows.