About the Project

The goal of this project is to build an online tool for exploratory survey data analysis and use it for teaching research methods to undergraduate students. The project leverages technical approaches from image analytics, faceted search, and online map navigation, combining them into a novel survey authoring and online publication system. The system will be used in several research methods classes at UCSD. In addition, it is being tested in a number of surveys conducted by partner projects.

We focus on three main objectives:

  • Making survey data easy to share online and explore collaboratively
  • Ensuring that survey data analysis is accessible and understandable by non-experts
  • Introducing easy-to-use visual analysis techniques in research methods curricula


During the first year of the project we primarily deal with software enhancements: making the visualization more robust, developing an authoring system, adding statistical measures, and publishing additional surveys, in sociology and other fields, in preparation for classroom teaching. During the second year, we continue on software enhancements, in parallel with classroom teaching in research methods classes, and evaluation of learning outcomes.


The project team includes experts in social sciences and computing:
  • PI Ilya Zaslavsky is Director of the Spatial Information Systems Lab at SDSC. In the past, he also worked as an urban planner and social geographer, and developed survey analysis software. More information.
  • Co-PI Akos Rona-Tas is a sociologist and the Chair of the UCSD Sociology Department. As part of this project, Professor Rona-Tas will be teaching several research methods classes using the software. More information.
  • Co-PI Kevin Lewis is an expert in social networks and an Assistant Professor at the UCSD Sociology Department. In this project, Professor Lewis will be primarily responsible for the evaluation of learning outcomes through student surveys. More information.
  • Side Li is an undergraduate computer science student. He is primarily focusing on SuAVE server-side components, and the survey authoring and collaboration systems
  • RenĂ© Patnode is a graduate student who has a background in both computer science and sociology. He was project's software developer till 2015
  • David Valentine is a research programmer at the SDSC Spatial Information Systems Lab. He is customizing the software for use in other projects, in particular dealing with resource inventories.
  • Tom Whitenack is a research programmer at the SDSC Spatial Information Systems Lab. He implemented the earlier Silverlight-based version of the software to galleries of people, allowing online editing and updates of personal profiles.
  • Natalie Kadonaga is an undergraduate engineering student at Harvey Mudd. As an intern at SDSC, she developed this website, video tutorials, and other materials.
  • Maria and Natalie Kalyuzhny are high school students at Mount Everest Academy, a charter school in San Diego. They developed the icons you see in some of the surveys.

Silverlight Applications

Before we started on SuAVE, we used Microsoft Silverlight to publish image galleries and surveys online. Here are some of the earlier applications. You need to have the Silverlight plugin installed to view these examples.

As part of NSF-supported EarthCube CINERGI (Community INventory of Earthcube Resources for Geoscience Interoperability) we also used the Silverlight application to publish inventories of information resources developed within various geoscience domains. See the current inventories on the CINERGI page.