Microsoft Professional Program Certificate in Data Science by Robert Walker

I'm happy to announce that I've completed the Microsoft Professional Program Certificate in Data Science!  After six-months of courses capped off by a challenging machine learning problem issued by Microsoft data scientists, I've learned a lot and am excited to use my new skills.  As proof of my accomplishment Microsoft has issued this official certificate!



3D Printing of Environmental Models by Robert Walker

As part of my job as a data analyst/scientist it often means I need to build models of the data to understand the data, test the data, and visualize the data.  Today I'm going to focus on the later - visualization; specifically 3D Printing computer visualizations to help clients, colleagues, and the public understand the complex models and data we use.

Modeling for 3D Printing

When I model data I often want to include all of the variables - depth, concentrations, soil type, geology, surfaces, well screens, water tables, infrastructure, and more.  This helps the engineers and scientists I work with see the best picture I can give them and helps me analyze the data to see what makes sense and what doesn't (e.g., a groundwater sample above the water table might trigger an investigation to see if the water table has risen or dropped or if maybe the sample was mis-labled and is really porewater or surface water or maybe there is a perched zone of groundwater not in my model!)  

However, when it comes to doing a model that I plan to 3D print I have to make the model much simpler to accommodate the technical limitations of the printer, like size, thickness, lack of transparency, inability to 'zoom', etc.  Therefore, I often find these 3D printed models most useful in non-technical discussions, such as for marketing and public relations.

Recent Example:

Impact of a 3D Model

Even with a simplified model, the impact can be huge for a client or a consultant.  Being able to physically see and hold the site can provide a huge benefit.  If nothing else, the models often make huge first impressions and can start a conversation.  Many times, especially for public presentation, such as in trials or public proposals, having a simplified 'real' model for a judge, jury, or public to handle and visualize can have lasting impressions on how they perceive the site and understand what will or has happened during an environmental investigation, design, or remediation.

If you are interested in learning more about how to create these models please leave a comment or contact me.