All Press Releases for June 24, 2009

Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity at Ryerson University Selects AVS/Express to Visualize Retail Data

Leading edge research facility uses AVS/Express for data mining and visualization

    WALTHAM, MA, June 24, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Discovering new and profound meaning from massive quantities of retail data is a challenging area of research that requires experience and powerful technology. The Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity (CSCA), a leading edge non-profit research unit, based at Ryerson University, has selected AVS/Express, a powerful data visualization system from AVS-Advanced Visual Systems (, as a key component in their Data Mining toolkit.

The CSCA studies private- and public- sector economic activities that deal directly with consumers, including working with various retailers, service firms and real estate developers in the shopping centre industry. The CSCA has committed considerable resources towards building and maintaining large, digital, spatially-referenced databases of the Canadian retail economy. These databases, which are updated on a regular basis, are a valuable source for documenting and analyzing changes in the retail system.

Mining data that is intrinsically multi-dimensional, spatial and temporal in nature, presents a number of challenges. Indeed, according to Dr. Tony Hernandez, Director of the CSCA, "Our challenge is to distill massive quantities of spatial and temporal data into concise and accurate reports that illuminate important trends and quantify their impact on North American commerce. The task has been historically cumbersome because of the complexity of the data and an inability to fuse GIS data with other research formats."

"The parallel processing and rich visualization features of AVS/Express have allowed the Centre to fully integrate many different data formats without creating a complex new data model or encountering slow rendering of large volumes. As a result, the entire research process has become much more dynamic and the new lens that we are able to focus on spatial data has produced more meaningful micro and macro views of the information," notes Hernandez.

Funded through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the CSCA is developing geovisualization applications to take advantage of the powerful and customizable architecture of AVS/Express. The Centre is using AVS/Express Developer Edition to import data and create customized data visualization modules; AVS/Express Parallel Edition to harness the power of different hardware devices and speed rendering; and AVS/Express Multipipe Edition to present findings in a theatre-scale setting that will allow both researchers and visitors to experience the data in unprecedented new ways.

Dr. Hernandez added, "We are a leading edge research facility and our mission to become a one-stop destination for the latest in retail, consumer and commercial research is dramatically enhanced through our use of AVS technology. Our strategy is to leverage the power of data visualization and transcend the conventions of institutional research, and AVS/Express has proven to be a powerful tool in helping us achieve that goal."

About Advanced Visual Systems

AVS/Advanced Visual Systems, founded in 1991, provides industry-leading, interactive data visualization software and solutions that help business, scientific and engineering users gain critical insight from all types of data. AVS' complete line of software products speed decision-making by bringing information to life using the latest in graphics, Web-based and interactive technologies on all major computing platforms. For more information visit or call (781) 890-4300. Offices and distributors worldwide.

About the CSCA

The Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity (CSCA) is a non-profit research unit based at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario. The Centre studies private- and public- sector economic activities that deal directly with consumers, including working with various retailers, service firms and real estate developers in the shopping centre industry. CSCA provides a research focus for members of the retail and development sectors and facilitates the discussion of issues of mutual concern, the exchange of ideas, and the development of a network of professional contacts. It promotes research, innovation, education, and discussion. The Centre currently has the support of almost seventy public- and private-sector organizations and associations. For more information visit or call (416) 979-5379

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