On October 21st, this week’s session of FSL, we explored different ways to represent data. We met up at the UBC North Bus Loop and then shortly after walked towards the Centre of Interactive Research on Sustainability. Once we got there, a few of us sneakily poured ourselves coffee and tea and sat down into separate groups.
We were then instructed to open a document that was on each of the laptops sitting on our desks. A data table about the amount of oxygen production of algae when using different types of fertilizer popped up on all of our screens. The data table was difficult to read so we began to experiment with which type of graph would work best. After multiple attempts, and dealing with technological difficulties, we decided that the scatter graph was the best way to represent the data.
Then, a representative from the Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP), gave a presentation on visually representing data. CALP showed us how they educate communities on climate change action. For example, instead of a simple graph on the effect of a sea-level rise in Delta, they altered an image to show how a beach front property in Ladner would look like with a sea-level rise. Seeing the actual house being over taken by water was much more powerful than a simple graph. They explained to us that visually representing data can be much more useful in education, which is the first step to dealing with climate change.
They also showed us a video game they are developing on mitigation and adaptation to climate change, as well as a realistic animated model of Downtown Vancouver. I think we all found this super fascinating, and I definitely hope I can try this video game.
All in all, I think this was an extremely interesting and informative session. We learnt a valuable lesson on the crucial importance of representing data clearly and effectively to an audience, which I think will help us in the years to come.