Perhaps that last one isn’t a classic combination – yet. But it’s not for lack of effort. Data scientists and designers are embracing the happy marriage of these two disciplines, and the results are bringing greater understanding to the world around us.
Data visualization is the reinterpretation of numbers and facts in ways that are appealing and accessible to all. It throws an artistic light on rigid science, translating cold, hard, data in terms that everyone can understand and appreciate. Throw in some online wizardry and you’ve got charts and maps that come alive, inviting you to explore otherwise unappealing information.
At Ecotrust Canada, we’ve embraced data visualization wholeheartedly. From our mapping roots to newer web technologies, we’re exploring ways to make information accessible and understandable to the people who need it most.
We launched data.ecotrust.ca in 2014 as a hub for some of our favourite data visualizations. Using open data sets from fisheries and forestry, we’re shedding light on fishing licence and forest tenure ownership, salmon harvests, cultural values, and more.
Our data site is also home to two interactive reports. In 2014 we released the interactive version of Understanding Values in Canada’s North Pacific, which examined the values supported by the commercial fishing industry beyond mere dollars and cents. In 2015 we released Caught Up in Catch Shares, a look at the changes brought about by the introduction of fishery quotas and other privatization schemes. Both combine narrative, photography, and compelling data visualizations to tell their stories.
Since our inception, we have been lending our mapping expertise to First Nations conducting traditional land use and occupancy mapping projects. In recent years, we have also mapped forestry tenures, fisheries management, potential impacts of oil and gas pipelines, landscape management plans, and more.
Venturing online, our team has also embraced interactive data visualization through several mapping portals:
Interactive or static, online or in print, the act of mapping puts people’s stories on the landscapes to which they are so irrevocably tied – a true intertwining of people and place.
Graphs and Illustrations
For all the glitz and flash of the digital world, we’re happy to report that good old print media has not been forgotten. We bring the same design principles – grounded in our in-depth knowledge of the subject at hand – to static graphs and illustrations, lending insight and clarity to complex data.
Regardless of medium, we strive to tell a visual story tailored to our audience. As wonderful as spreadsheets are, we do what we can to make data useful and inviting, illuminating otherwise-hidden patterns and insights.