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Global Viz Marathon: an international data viz competition in Nantes

Global Viz Marathon: an international data viz competition in Nantes

The French session of the Global Viz Marathon 2012 was held in Nantes from 9 to 11 November. We take a closer look at this data visualization competition, which brought together more than 1000 students in 21 sites across the planet, and see some of the work produced over the weekend…

Seven teams for a global challenge

L’École de design Nantes Atlantique and the Quartier de la Création (a cluster of creative and cultural organizations based in Nantes) co-hosted the 1st French session of the Global Viz Marathon for its 2012 edition from 9 to 11 November in Nantes.

Viz Marathon

The data visualizing marathon, which took place on the 6th floor of the Eureka building at the heart of the Quartier de la Creation on Ile de Nantes, brought together local teams from Nantes, as well as from Paris with students from Strate Collège, Laval with students from ESCIN and one representative from Picardie from ESAD in Amiens. Despite a relatively late announcement of the event, seven teams nonetheless entered into the spirit of the challenge over the three days. Over 1000 students were taking part in the challenge simultaneously, in 20 other locations around the world, involving 176 establishments and 38 nationalities.

The aim of the competition is to design, over the three-day period, an interactive application or computer graphics conveying information in the most effective, original and striking way, working from a data set provided by the New York organizers of Visualizing.org.

Three data sets for seven visualization projects

Three sets of data, provided by the partner institutions of the competition, were duly revealed on Friday 9 November at 5pm (11am New York time). The first focused on the importance of the two main candidates in the recent US election on social networks. The second recorded the spread of contagious diseases in the world. The third compiled data on global air traffic.

More than 36 hours later, the projects were presented to the teams from the Quartier de la Création and the School during a special buffet to conclude the event, after hours of hard slog and a good deal of caffeine… These projects included, for example, Flying to the moon, a smart and elegant computer graphic developed by Antoine Bardet, Lola Charpentier, Marc Lecerf and Simon Rochard: they calculated how many times the distance from the Earth to the moon was covered by air travellers, destination by destination.

Or how about the interactive application Diseater, the social network for trending diseases, developed by Guillaume Faure, Rahman Kalfane, Nadim Raad and Coralie Sabin, where diseases discuss their “travels” on a funny kind of social network.

Despite the fact that, in the end, none of the French teams received a prize, the enthusiasm and excitement around the French session were almost tangible in the discussions and images which circulated throughout the weekend. The quality of the hosting by the Quartier de la creation was particularly appreciated by all the participants.

An excellent weekend, which will no doubt be a warm-up for a subsequent 2013 edition, and which was also an ideal introduction to the forthcoming Information Design Master’s Degree Program, scheduled to begin in October 2013.