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R-Based Online Data Analysis Tool

The goal of this Silent Spring Institute project is to create a user-friendly dynamic online interface that allows researchers to access and interact with data from three large-scale household exposure studies.

Many fields including environmental epidemiology and risk assessment would benefit from increased access to data describing the general public's exposures to various chemicals. Though studies such as NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) and RIOPA (Relationships of Indoor, Outdoor and Personal Air) allow users to download exposure datasets, preparing the downloaded files for analysis requires a substantial investment of time and data management expertise. This project aims to improve on that model by using R and Rapache to integrate basic analytic processes, querying, and plotting into a dynamic website. The resulting online tool will allow researchers to quickly answer fundamental questions, familiarize themselves with datasets, and will encourage comparative in-depth analysis within the interface.

online interface

To achieve these aims, the online tool will combine the statistical programming language R with more traditional website programming languages to achieve a powerful and accessible dynamic interface. The site will be hosted on a dedicated virtual server running CentOS, Apache, R, and RApache. Existing R packages such as brew, ggplot2, and Cairo will be used to bring R functionality and analytic power to the online data tool. Website design will employ Sencha (ExtJS) to increase functionality through a desktop-like layout familiar to users and supported across standard browsers.

Further information on data processing, methods, and QA/QC procedures will be included to prompt discussion on sampling and analytic methods within the field. The tool will be shared with collaborators in hopes of providing a launching pad for creating a model for a standardized and central exposure data repository.

Role: Lead in developing, managing and designing the online tool. Test and select optimum technology for website development. Perform system administrator duties such as acquiring, configuring, and troubleshooting necessary programs on dedicated virtual server. Write code, standardize datasets, and address security issues involved in providing access to data.