February 1st, 2016 - Tucson, Arizona During the weekend of January 22nd through 24th the University of Arizona’s Science and Engineering Library hosted student hackers from 35 different colleges for the largest hackathon in the Southwest - Hack Arizona.
This annual talent pipeline offers university students of all tech backgrounds and experience levels the chance to break into teams and tackle challenges provided by event sponsors. Put on by the University and Innovate UA, this 36-hour race from project conception to presentation saw great success this year with over 97 completed projects presented by teams on the final day.
Of the many teams and challenges to be hacked, it was Tucson Flux Team that met Metropia’s Data Visualization Challenge. The Data Visualization Challenge was to visualize and rationalize Metropia data, discerning the patterns and the dynamics of the data. Tucson Flux Team excelled at both aspects of the challenge - visualization and rationalization.
Mario Salomon, Metropia’s Director of Product Operations, was especially pleased with the team’s “vision of practical and real, live use of their tool” even with the offline and anonymous data Metropia provided, “their system was designed to be able to handle the conditions.” As for the rationalization part of the challenge, Salomon says “what Tucson Flux achieved was highly unique and ambitious - the ‘inter user similarity,’ which is the relationship between users and space and time, was elegantly displayed in a graph form and provided a unique visualization of the interaction of those users during a specific time range.”
Salomon feels that patterning and information like that organized by Tucson Flex has the potential to “greatly change the way people commute in cities” - an accomplishment that echoes Metropia’s own intention. Salomon and the entire Metropia team hope that Tucson Flex had “as much fun developing a great hack for an interesting problem as [Metropia] did supporting them!”