Data Visualization a Big Winner in Knight Challenge

June 21, 2010
140 Views

j04331183 150x150 photo (business intelligence tools)Data viz has an established role in business—but these days it’s also gaining traction in the realm of public service.  Proof:  The prestigious Knight News Challenge, an annual competition that funds innovative ideas for spreading

j04331183 150x150 photo (business intelligence tools)Data viz has an established role in business—but these days it’s also gaining traction in the realm of public service.  Proof:  The prestigious Knight News Challenge, an annual competition that funds innovative ideas for spreading news and information in communities, has awarded two of its twelve prizes to data visualization projects.

According to the Knight Foundation’s announcement, these two projects provide “easy-to-use tool sets for journalists and bloggers to illustrate raw data visually – one of the most promising new areas of digital journalism.”  Topping the list of Challenge winners is City Tracking, which netted $400,000 of the $2.74 prize total.  According to designer Eric Rodenbeck, this innovative app will “allow users to create embeddable data visualizations that are appealing enough to spread virally and that are as easy to share as photos and videos.”

Although City Tracking is still in development, Rodenbeck’s company already has a strong track record.  Stop by Stamen Design to see some of their work.

At the other end of the Challenge prize spectrum (with a $74,000 award) is TileMill, a component of Development Seed’s MapBox.   Creator Eric Gunderson explains that tilemapping capabilities “will help local media create hyper-local, data-filled maps for their websites and blogs. Journalists will be able to tell more textured stories, while residents will be able to draw connections to their physical communities in new ways.”

All twelve winners offer interesting ideas about information  communication–so check out the whole story at Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab.

Cynthia Giles
Spotfire Blogging Team

Image Credit: Microsoft Office Clip Art