- Understand various formats of data, diverse possibilities of data visualisation and effective tools for doing so, with a special focus on web-based tools
- Understand how to think through projects involving collection, processing and visualisation of data
- Develop a basic understanding of software packages and methods for visualising quantitative data, creating geo-visualisation and undertaking participatory mapping
- Understand the connection between data technologies and rights to access and use data
Day 1: 3rd August 2012
The first day discussions included a basic understanding of what is data, the significance and relevance of using data for representation, types of data, open data and the importance of understanding spatial data that included vector and raster data, data files, and formats and databases.
- What is data?
- Uses of data
- Types of data
- What is Open data
- What is spatial data
- Types of spatial data
- Data formats and files
- The example of the hand drawn map made by a scientist John Snow was discussed that was useful in establishing the relationship between poor and deprived neighbourhoods, contaminated water supply and cholera, which made the discovery that cholera is a water borne disease
- The other project that was discussed as an example was the Voice of Kibera project. Kibera the largest slum in Nairobi, Africa was mapped through participation of slum dwellers who were trained to map. Voice of Kibera project targeted on different aspects which made sense to people in Kibera such as news, deaths etc. Information was thus collected, classified and put up by the people themselves.
- The Kibera project thus became means of putting up news, etc on the net and this attracted a lot of people. Sadly, the slum dwellers had to move out of slums. However, this pioneering effort was lauded for its success as a possible tool to empower people that demonstrated how maps could represent voices of people and could tell stories.
- The other point that was highlighted was that although data can be empowering, it also has to do with who accesses and uses data. For example, information can also be used by the powerful to reach their goals at the cost of the people who make them. Putting up this information, does not mean that people's voices are heard or their problems are voiced and attempts made to address them, as data is power and many a times powerful get to access and use data. The issue is also about who owns the data.
- The other examples of representations or visualizations of data that were discussed included:
- The true size of Africa
- Google flu map: Search queries used to collect info on flu in areas
- Other maps shared included
- Use of face book worldwide
- Worldprotest.com, semantic analysis used to detect protests made by people
- Powercuts.in used participatory reporting of power cuts through phones
- Working with quantitative data
- What is quantitative data
- Quantitative data formats
- Softwares to work with quantitative data
- Scraping ethics
This session also included a group exercise where all the participants were split into three groups and were asked to try and build possible stories out of data that they considered important. The participants were asked to work out the details of the process of making the story in terms of the basic problem they wanted to highlight, the underlying processes involved or the hypothesis building, the data needed, the possible ways of representing data, the emerging perspectives and actions that could be planned based on the findings.
This session was a delight in terms of the range of ideas people churned out and also the way in which people tried to twist and turn around the hypothesis or the basic theoretical frameworks! These were some of the ideas that people brought out:
- Public schemes like NAREGA, how can we cull out stories from non understandable data
- Mapping carbon footprint
- Food we eat
- Revenue generated by movies
- Beach poor and rich parts, how garbage disposal is the problem
- Corporate sponsors in Olympics
- Corporate malpractices
- Map bus routes at bus stops, to analyse gaps in public transport
- Start looking at data on Groundwater and variables related to that
- Time series map of urbanization, Groundwater
- Bubble chart of Groundwater and agricultural production
- Heat map showing GW in areas where there is construction
- Groundwater level Time series inf
- Agricultural productivity
- Population and electricity supply
- Farmer suicides
- Industry and drinking water and sewage
- Map noise level in city and traffic
- Accidents and season, time
- Sickness impacting livelihoods and education
This session was followed by an introductory session on spatial data that included:
- Working with spatial data
- Spatial data formats
Day 2: 4th August 2012
- What is data visualisation
- Types of charts
- principles of data visualisation
This was followed by introduction to the guiding principles of visualization, A range of maps and visualizations were shown to indicate the different ways in which data could be visualized and the importance of having clear, specific messages keeping the target audience in mind and the importance of making the visualizations simple to view was emphasised.
The participants were asked to see these sites later:
- Charles Minnad see maps on net if u find
- David McCandiess The billion pound o gram
- Christain Nold softhook.com
- Light painting Paul Torrens, wifi geographies
- How’s life, OECD better life index
- Word clouds
- Tools for spatial data collection
- Tools for spatial data visualisation
Day 3: 5th August 2012
- Introduction to GPS
Overall, the workshop was a great experience in terms of getting a basic idea and concepts regarding the importance and significance of mapping and visualizing data, while the use of softwares would need some further hands on experience, handholding and practice.
- Shashank Srinivasan is an independent ecologist and cartographer who works with NGOS across India. He is interested in applied geographic information systems, conservation policy and environmental governance, and in the intersection of these disciplines.
- Sumandro Chattapadhyay studied economics and worked with architect-planners, social researchers and programmers on urban development, policy analysis, data visualisation and participatory mapping. Presently he is an independent researcher based in Delhi. He contributes to The Pop Up City blog and edits an upcoming blog on open geospatial data, mapping practices and location-based services in India.
- Sajjad Anwar is a hacktivist and programmer. He works on research and design of data analytics and infographics. He loves maps and have been part of the OpenStreetMap project for over four years. Associated with free software projects like Ubuntu and Mozilla Firefox, he is involved in building and testing accessible technologies.
The presentations from the workshop can be downloaded from below: