This past weekend, Jacob Perkins and I attended data in sight: making the transparent visual, a data visualization competition organized by Creative Commons, Swissnex San Francisco and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Held in the Adobe SF office and structured as a competitive hackathon, the aim for teams was to create a complete data visualization from scratch in two days. Participants came from all over the world and included folks from established large companies, small start-ups, academia, non-profits, and several lone freelancers.
Friday evening, the contestants were briefed on the challenge. Our very own Jacob delivered a stellar presentation of a carefully curated collection of useful datasets, that included specific suggestions of how the data might best be used. This layer of practical explanation really helped folks quickly understand and get excited about the beautiful possibilities of Infochimps datasets.
After the presentations, participants formed into 19 teams of 3-5 developers, designers and data experts. The groups worked continuously until Sunday at lunchtime and in the end, 14 of the teams delivered a final presentation, and 8 of the 14 used Infochimps data. (You can peruse those 8 visualizations here: Pathlist, Marvel Universe Social Graph, UFO Siter, Uber Shady, Parkalator, CuriouSnakes, Disaster Strikes: A World In Sight and Silenced.)
A group of 11 judges (including myself) evaluated the teams’ efforts and while most of the teams created some impressive results, we quickly agreed upon the ones we thought were the best. There were five prize categories, and 4 out of the 5 winners used Infochimps data!
MOST ACTIONABLE: Parkalator
This is a multi-model parking cost optimization tool for San Francisco residents. It helps drivers decide where to park to save money or whether it’d be cheaper to take a cab.