Challenge: Visualize Groundwater Trends, See Your Work in Times Square

Challenge: Visualize Groundwater Trends, See Your Work in Times Square

Groundwater is an important renewable resource, keeping the ecosystem's water cycle healthy and supplying fresh water for drinking, agriculture, and industry. But human over-use is depleting many groundwater aquifers, a trend which could be amplified by climate change. Despite the alarming statistics, the issue of groundwater depletion is rarely in public consciousness.

Data visualization can play an important role here. Visualization techniques are already critical to the scientists studying the issue, but their efforts are aimed toward analysis and expert monitoring, not public discourse. Therefore, we've partnered with HeadsUp! to challenge you to design a data-driven indicator of groundwater trends for public consumption. And we're thrilled to announce that the winning visualization will be presented in one of the most public venues possible: the enormous TS2 video signboards in Times Square.

Here's how it will work. Use the 6+ weeks until the deadline to develop a fully-functional data visualization of groundwater trends, appropriately designed for Times Square. It has to be both eye-catching enough to compete with all the visual noise and simple enough to understand in 20-30 seconds. Along with your visualization, submit supporting story boards or animations that explain how the project would fit into a motion graphic spot on the signs. This should include any title frames, annotations, or contextualizing content that will help make sense of your indicator. Projects will be judged both on their success as a visualization and their suitability to the venue. The winner will then work with the motion graphics producers at TS2 to ready their project for display. There will be 3 months available for this production work, with the visualization spot premiering in Times Square on World Water Day (March 22, 2012) and running for a month.

Check out the challenge page for more details and the data sets. Please get in touch with any questions — we'll post any answers that are relevant to all participants on the challenge page.

Many thanks to HeadsUP! and TS2 (a Thomson Reuters/NASDAQ alliance) for making this challenge possible, and to our data providers, Leonard F. Konikow of the U.S. Geological Survey and Jay Famiglietti, Director of the UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling.

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