For those of you who haven’t heard, myself and my friend, Graham Jenson, made a data visualisation that won the supreme award at this years Mix and Mash, and I’d like to share with you some of reasoning behind the visualisation.
First of all I’d like to thank everyone who helped us, either by supporting us directly or spreading the word of our data visualisation, or more precisely Paul Callaghan’s work, with the Tweeting, FBing and Redditing, its been truly overwhelming.
How the idea came about? Well first off we needed a story to tell, all good visualisations tell a story, and we needed a good one. Graham had been talking for some time about Paul Callaghan’s work, and we saw that it was perfectly suited for a visualisation; it has data driven facts and a very compelling story. So we extracted the essence of Paul’s work, and created our goal:
“To visually convey the importance of technological and manufacturing companies to New Zealand’s growth and prosperity”.
How did we do it? We created chapters from each of Paul’s main points in his StrategyNZ Keynote, then with each chapter we thought; out of this point, what would look really good to the user and make the biggest impact, an example of this can be seen on our mining screen, so if we have estimates of how much mineral wealth New Zealand has, and our current rate of extraction, why not see how fast we can deplete them; the counters are haunting when you see that we can burn through all of our crude oil in just 15 years.
We took each idea, found the data surrounding it (thank god for data transparency in New Zealand), created a basic statistical model for the idea, then created a UI that allowed the user to adjust various atributes of the model. Each visualisation aims to maximise the visual impact of the point being made as the user is manipulating the model.
Thats basically it; doesn’t sound to bad when it’s put like that, but the development wasn’t without it’s problems, however, I think I’ll leave that for another post.
We had a lot of fun during the Mix and Mash, helped support the New Zealander of the Year 2011, and won some cash out of it. I look forward to next years competition, and hope that you all do too, and please comment below if you have any questions about the visualisation.