Visualization Sprint

Global Water Experiment

Visualization Sprint:
an experiment in collaborative
data visualization
Visualization Sprint Process Outline

Global Water Experiment

Coders, designers, and data experts: contribute to a collaborative effort in data visualization. Show off your skills, discuss technique, or dive into a new HTML5 toolkit by participating in our first "Visualization Sprint." One lucky contributor will be selected at random to win a pass to this year's sold out Eyeo Festival and all contributors will be credited on the final project.

This first Visualization Sprint was conceived in response to a massive citizen science project involving 75,000 students from 80 countries around the world who have been collecting samples of water purity, pH, and salinity for the past year. The project is called the Global Water Experiment and it's organized by UNESCO and IUPAC as a central activity of the International Year of Chemistry. In keeping with the spirit of how the data was collected, we've devised this Sprint as an experiment in collaborative data visualization. Our goal is to have a finished visualization of the students' data that we can share with the world on World Water Day (March 22).

Jan Willem Tulp, the winner of our Eyeo 2011 Challenge, has kicked things off with a sketch using d3.

Data: we've posted an XLS version of the data set for exploration. URLs for JSON versions of the data are available in the Resources box when you fork a version.

How to participate:
  • Everyone should check out the edits made so far, vote for which modifications are successful, and comment on the direction of the visualization
  • Coders are encouraged to fork an existing version and improve it, or submit a new "alpha" version to start a branch from scratch
  • Data scientists can analyze the data set and send us your revised version for others to use

Explore Versions


Edward Lee's picture

User rltrafael points out that the code here uses relative URLs for the data and library files, so working on a version in your own IDE might be tricky. Version #5 now uses absolute URLs to avoid this problem. Also, you can download the JSON and library files to work in your own environment -- just remember to switch the URLs back to our servers before committing.

rltrafael's picture

Hi, I'm having trouble to do a checkout of one version. Can I do a checkout containing all files of a single version?

Edward Lee's picture

Awesome: the first (unprompted) version! Nice work, vlandham.

Edward Lee's picture

Let the sprint begin! Discussion of versions and the general direction of the visualization should go here.

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How It Works

A "visualization sprint" is a new collaborative design and coding experiment where contributors work together to find the best solution, or solutions, for visualizing a data set. Taking cues from citizen science, open source culture and code sprints, has conceived of this format in order to promote community dialog, learning, and feedback about visualization techniques.

Starting from an initial sketch written in a popular scripting language, anyone is invited to "fork" the code — adding to or modifying an existing version and then posting it back to the sprint. Any version can be forked, and new "alpha" sketches can also be submitted to start a new branch from scratch.

Check out the project prompt and data set at the top of the page, then look at the initial sketch. What are we trying to visualize here?
Explore other contributions: what are the branches the design has taken? where does the visualization still need work?
Add your voice to the discussion by voting versions up or down and commenting as you explore.
Choose a version to modify and click the "Fork This Version" button.
Work on the code, testing as you go along. When you're ready, commit your contribution along with a short description.
Repeat from step 2!

More Info

Is this project only for programmers?
Sort of. The purpose of this sprint is to explore and discuss techniques in interactive visualization, and it uses simple scripting languages so that we can easily see and modify the code. If you're not a coder we encourage you to participate by voting on the versions, adding your voice to the comments, analyzing the data set, or even sketching visual design directions that others could help realize.

What resources are available for my version?
When you fork a version, the top of the edit form will have a list of libraries and data sets you can use. If you need help figuring this out, just send us an email.

Can I transform the data set?
Yes! You are encouraged to transform and analyze the data set. If you modify the data in a useful way, send us the updated file so we can share it with everyone working on the sprint.

How does the sprint end?
The focus here is on process, but we also want to have a nice visualization (or several) to present on World Water Day. Hopefully, the consensus of all participants will bring the most promising branches to a state polished enough to be called "final."

Is there a prize?
Because this is a collaborative effort, no "winner" will be chosen. As a bonus for participating, however, we will give away a prize to one participant chosen at random: a pass to this year's sold out Eyeo Festival.