Software is making it easier to create data visualisations that are interactive and can be shared via the web. For example, we can create maps with ArcGIS and QGIS, representations of networks with Gephi, interactive models of complex systems with NetLogo, 3D renderings of large datasets with Blender, statistical insights with RStudio and Shiny, and script libraries such as D3.js.
In this category of OxTALENT we look for visualisations that tell a story, provide an insight, make the complex simple or illustrate a beautiful pattern in a data set.
Winner: Dr Alfie Abdul-Rahman for Poetry Visualization on the Web
The close reading of poetry was a novel area of study for the judges, concerning as it does the analysis of individual poetic features of a poem. Dr Alfie Abdul-Rahman created a stunning visualisation tool, Poem Viewer, which allows users to explore 26 poetic attributes from individual word assonance to vowel position. Despite the multi-dimensional nature of the data visualised, the interface has clearly been designed with the user in mind. The judges were very impressed by the ease of use of the tool despite its high information density and by the thorough documentation of the evolution of the tool (and visualisation designs) through the publications section of the Poem Viewer. It’s rewarding to see the use of interactive visualisation tools in unexpected disciplines, and this was definitely a worthy winner of the visualisation category.
Joint Runner-up: David Ruvolo for Airport Security
David created a very clean and stylish interactive report on air marshal misconduct in the USA. The judges particularly appreciated the attention to detail (and impartiality) of the visualisation, and David’s release of the source code available via GitHub so that others can learn how to build these interactive visualisations with R and Shiny. Unfortunately as this is a very recently developed report it wasn’t possible to measure the impact or engagement of the visualisation.
Joint Runner-up: Robert McNeil for Explained: EU Migration to the UK
Robert McNeil produced a very informative video on EU migration to the UK with a view to the potential outcome of the forthcoming EU referendum. The video was extremely professional and designed to communicate bite-sized and balanced pieces of information to the audience, which the judges particularly appreciated. While videos do tell a story through visuals, the judges felt that the underlying data of the visualisations is difficult to interrogate and understand separately to the narrative provided by the narrator: hence the nomination for runner-up.
Honourable Mention: Raphael Leung for Oklahoma Demographics for Determining Lifeline Broadband Subsidies
Raphael Leung submitted an entry visualising legislative changes in the allocation of broadband subsidies for low-income families in Oklahoma, developed using the R language. One of the judges contacted Raphael suggesting that he investigate the use of Shiny to convert static maps into interactive cartograms in the future. With only three days until the competition deadline, Raphael resubmitted his entry with a well-designed interactive cartogram allowing users to more easily understand the changing impact of the broadband lifeline subsidy on Oklahomans. The judges felt that the effort and aptitude that Raphael demonstrated in learning new visualising tools was more than worthy of an honorary mention.