For the second round of the 2014-15 On Think Tanks Data Visualisation Competition, we limited entries only to interactive visualisations.

Interactive visualisations can run the gamut from simple actions like mousing over items to display more information. Or by clicking on a bubble, it could 'explode' sub-categories. Or an interactive visualisation could change based on user input, such as we saw in a number of tax planning visualisations in the 2013-14 version of the competition. Or, indeed, they could take a combination of approaches.

And in this round we saw a number of examples that did just that. Some relied on tools like Tableau and to give their visualisations interactivity. Others did more bespoke coding, relying on JavaScript libraries like D3.js to bring their visuals to life.

These various approaches were voted on by the public and narrowed down to the top five entries, which our diverse panel of judges have now reviewed.

So without further ado, the winner of Round 2 and of the US$1500 prize is...




Visualising the past, present and future of carbon emissions


Bill Dugan, Johannes Friederich, Duncan Clark, Robin Houston, Kelly Levin, Jennifer Morgan, Thomas Damassa


World Resources Institute, USA


The timing of this visualisation couldn't have been better -- it was sent in just as COP20 kicked of in Lima, Peru. That discussion was all about agreeing what data should be collected. This visualisation begins to show us why it's an argument worth having -- ensuring the right data is available to tell a compelling story is exactly what this visualisation benefits from.

The judges were, all in all, impressed with the visual. As one judge put it:

"It's very clear. It makes great use of: very robust datasets, historically comprehensive data, simple but effective scenarios, well rendered and easy to understand graphics, regional dimensions (it's easy to see how Asia is emitting over time compared to Europe) and more. It has a very clear voice over. The policy implication is a no-brainer and is well communicated. All in all, excellent!"

The use of the animation to guide a viewer through the content was also welcomed by the judges and seen as quite innovative.

The only down side to that was that some judges felt there could have been a little bit more interactivity. As it stood, there're only a few buttons that help to navigate positioning in the animation. Buttons that helped to pause the story and explore the data would be on our wish list for next time. And another judge suggested there should be options provided to download the data.

Our congratulations to WRI and the Kiln team for this job well done. We hope it went down a bit better at COP20 than the Greenpeace stunt!


As for the winner of our $500 runner-up prize? See below.


Demystifying data: A visualization based on the IPPF/Guttmacher report


Tia Jeewa


The International Planned Parenthood Federation


The judges really appreciated the combination of the various elements in this one visualisation that really make it a whole: 

'I like how they combined a data visualisation, with a data visualisation generation tool, with a brief tutorial on how to use it. It also provides key messages which can clearly help their target audiences.'

It's a great example of how to take the pedestrian bar chart and make it a lot more user friendly. But never satisfied, the judges had their own features they'd love to see: a way to download charts once they're made by the user, and a more powerful sort function (right now if looking at the more desegregated data around income and location it only sorts by the top number. 

Several judges did highlight that having the five key messages embedded in the visualisation really strengthened it.

Visualisations considered by the judges

So well done to our winners and all of those who submitted visualisations for this round. Be on the look out in January for the last round of this year's competition, which looks at best use of a data visualisation as part of a communication strategy.