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Sonification and Spatial Visualization

For April's meetup, we will hosting two experts discussing their experiences with hearing and visualizing data.

6:30 PM -- Networking & Food from Green Turtle Columbia

7:00 PM -- Greetings

7:05 PM -- Hearing Patterns in Data - Dr. Lewis Berman

8:00 PM -- Global Land Monitoring using Landsat Data - Dr. Matthew Hansen

9:00 PM -- Post Event Drinks at Green Turtle Columbia


Loyola Columbia Grad Center 210/230

8890 McGaw Rd, Columbia, MD


Hearing Patterns in Data

Sonification is the aural equivalent of visualization - the ability to hear patterns in data. Sonification has been applied in domains as disparate as meteorology, real-time monitoring of network throughput, analysis of computer software and rowing. This talk will introduce sonification and cover some examples, from interactive sonification of swimmers’ strokes to Dr. Berman’s own sonifications of education data and code in a software project.

 Global Land Monitoring using Landsat Data

Quantification of global forest change has been lacking despite the recognized importance of forest ecosystem services. In this study, Earth observation satellite data were used to map global forest loss (2.3 million square kilometers) and gain (0.8 million square kilometers) from 2000 to 2012 at a spatial resolution of 30 meters. The tropics were the only climate domain to exhibit a trend, with forest loss increasing by 2101 square kilometers per year. Brazil’s well-documented reduction in deforestation was offset by increasing forest loss in Indonesia, Malaysia, Paraguay, Bolivia, Zambia, Angola, and elsewhere. Intensive forestry practiced within subtropical forests resulted in the highest rates of forest change globally. Boreal forest loss due largely to fire and forestry was second to that in the tropics in absolute and proportional terms. These results depict a globally consistent and locally relevant record of forest change.

Please explore the various data products available.


Prof. Lewis Berman is a graduate program director and an affiliate faculty member of Computer Science at Loyola University Maryland. He earned his Ph.D. in 2011, his thesis topic being the sonification of computer program code to improve program comprehension. Previously, Dr. Berman served as a developer and project manager in industry, working at various times on everything from web sites to embedded systems and artificial intelligence. Dr. Berman is also a pianist and composer, holding a Master of Music from the University of Cincinnati.

Prof. Matthew Hansen is a remote sensing scientist with a research specialization in large area land cover and land use change mapping. His research is focused on developing improved algorithms, data inputs and thematic outputs which enable the mapping of land cover change at regional, continental and global scales. Such maps enable better informed approaches to natural resource management, including deforestation and biodiversity monitoring and can also be used by other scientists as inputs to carbon, climate and hydrological modeling studies. Prof. Hansen's work as an Associate Team Member of NASA's MODIS Land Science Team included the algorithmic development and product delivery of the MODIS Vegetation Continuous Field land cover layers. His current research includes taking the global processing model for MODIS and applying it to the Landsat archive. Exhausting mining of the Landsat archive has been used to map forest disturbance in the Congo Basin, Indonesia, European Russia, Mexico, Quebec and the United States. The methods developed in these efforts will be used to test global-scale disturbance mapping with Landsat data. Other current research efforts focus on improving global cropland monitoring capabilities, for example global soybean cultivated area estimation using MODIS, Landsat and RapidEye data sets.


Right across the street!

Green Turtle Columbia

8872 McGaw Road

Columbia, MD 21045

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  • Zhong F.

    Now we can hear and see the data, maybe in the future we can smell and taste the data (?). After working for NASA and NOAA over 15 years, I am always happy to see that satellite data been used to solve some real world problems.

    April 11, 2014

    • Lewis B.

      We can feel the data - there are examples of data expressed as touchable surface features.

      April 11, 2014

  • John F.

    Informative and educational presentations on sonification and mapping. I learned more than I expected!

    April 11, 2014

  • Lewis B.

    Sonification references as requested: my thesis is online at In the references at the end, note especially [55] on network sonification, [33] and [127] on meterological sonification, and [80] on data tables. My Eclipse-CSound integration is described at Finally, the Int'l Community on Auditory Display is at Glad people enjoyed the talk. Ping me with any questions.

    April 11, 2014

  • Dean

    Very good presentations on topics I've heard about but in which I had very little background. Sparked some ideas that I will explore. Thanks to presenters and organizers.

    April 10, 2014

  • John


    April 10, 2014

  • Brian R.

    Anyone going from Baltimore, I'm having car issues?

    April 10, 2014

    • Chris S.

      I might be leaving from home in B-more

      April 10, 2014

    • Brian R.

      I'm covered thanks!

      April 10, 2014

  • Matt R.

    I have an improv class.

    March 21, 2014

  • Brian R.

    Very excited!

    March 21, 2014

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