Clarkson U. students in Saranac Lake studied ‘Big Data in the Adirondacks’

POTSDAM — Clarkson University students stationed in Saranac Lake focused on “Big Data in the Adirondacks” for their Adirondack Semester Integrated Research Project, and they will give a presentation on it at 7 p.m. May 7 at the Potsdam Civic Center Community Room.

The event is part of a lecture series offered by the the Laurentian Chapter of the Adirondack Club. The students’ presentation will survey current large-scale data collection projects in the Adirondacks and report on the students’ own experiences collecting data of different kinds from ethnographic studies to business data to water quality monitoring. They will reflect on the “Big Data”‘s potential for good, such as providing facts that influence important policy decisions, and for ill, such as surveillance of individuals that is difficult to escape, even in a place known for being “forever wild.” They will present ideas for future Adirondack Semester students to contribute to a long-term data collection project.

Nine students lived and studied together in Saranac Lake as part of the Clarkson Adirondack Semester program. Working with professors Jeanna Matthews and Annegret Staiger, they took 15 credits of coursework. Students are expected to analyze complex problems related to environmental, social and economic sustainability.