EMAPS 2014 – a data visualisation ‘sprint’ at SOGE

For those wondering why there was an assortment of unfamiliar people hunched over laptops in the department between the 22nd and 26th of April, I can now explain. The department was playing host to a ‘data sprint’, a data visualisation workshop, loosely based on the format of a hackathon (that is, an internet based competition – though one that stayed within the confines of the law, and which didn’t take place in a dingy wire stewn basement, but the far from dingy, though slightly warm and now hermetically sealed, rooms of SOGE).


Teams of experts, graphic designers, and academics were presented with research questions, and then given four-ish days to come up with both data and the visual means to convey some kind of answer. The broad theme was climate change adaptation, and the governance and financial complexities that surround it. Participants came from Science Po, the Digital Methods lab at the University of Amsterdam, Density Design at the Politecnico de Milano, as well as some participants from Oxford’s School of Geography, amongst others.

The event was part of a Bruno Latour affiliated project EMAPS (electronic maps to assist public science: http://www.emapsproject.com/blog ), an attempt to address the feasibility of communicating the complexities of science and technology via visual media – a spin off from his ongoing ‘Mapping Controversies’ project. The outcomes of the sprint will form part of a wider research output, though in advance of that, the following photos give some indication as to what was going on.

IMG_9591 – Bernhard Rieder, University of Amsterdam, presents financial flows as a Sankey diagram, as part of a data dashboard (http://labs.polsys.net/tools/tafib/)

IMG_9600 – A network diagram, with some illustrative elements to highlight the monitoring of climate adaptation funds

Thanks to the Young Foundation, SOGE, and all the participants for their contributions, and special thanks to Jeannie for keeping reception open on Saturday. Details of the final output will follow.

Tom Turnbull

DPhil Candidate

More info: http://www.geog.ox.ac.uk/graduate/research/tturnbull.html