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This post was written by Andy Kirk, founder and editor of visualisingdata.com. Andy will be guest editing Information Aesthetics for a short period while Andrew takes a well earned break.

Last week, Andrew posted details about a unique visualization competition being organised by museum software company EDM Studio. The aim of ths commission-based contest is to invite ideas for an interactive visualization covering the subject of sexually-transmitted infections. The winner will take a prize of $5,000 (three finalists will each receive $1,000) and will then collaborate with software and exhibition experts to help implement their visualization for a real-world museum installation at Telus World of Science - Calgary.

Since this initial announcement, further information has become available to help entrants understand the competition requirements and so I wanted to share these details with readers who might be interested in forming a submission.

1. Where is the competition dataset?: Data is available via an Excel spreadsheet named 11H02-CompetitionData.xls which can be retrieved on EDM Studio's competition page. Note that the spreadsheet includes three tables.

Table 1: Newly Diagnosed STI Cases by Month for Calgary and all Alberta, 2009-2010
Table 2: Infectious Syphilis Cases by Year for Alberta and all Canada, 2000-2009
Table 3: Chlamydia Cases by Age and Sex for all Canada, 2009

2. Which of these tables do you visualize? That's totally up to you. This is a deliberately small but eclectic mix of data (age, disease, location, sex, etc.) to give you some flexibility. Pick and choose as you see fit.

3. The exhibit schematic shows two touch-screen monitors, why is this? The museum exhibit will run identical copies of the interactive "STI data explorer" software on the two 19" touch-screens shown. This software will be developed by EDM with graphic/visualization design input from the competition winner who receives the commission (one of the three finalists).

4. Can I submit an interactive rather than a still image? Sorry, no. Allowing interactive entries (e.g. flash animation) would make entering the competition much less attractive to graphic design and information design folks. We want to judge "apples" with "apples". Focus all of your effort on producing a compelling static information visualization. Valid entries must be a single page (4:3 aspect ratio) image.

Use the 300 word text limit to describe how your visualization approach could be further developed as an interactive. Don't get hung up on this text description, we aren't judging your prose (bullet points are fine). And don't feel that you need all the answers right now. The whole point of the commission is paying one of you to help work out the details.

5. My friend and I want to work together on an entry. Is this allowed? Sure. Of course you'll have to split the prize money should you win. Two freelancers working together is fine; a company tasking three of its employees to work on an corporate entry is not.

A reminder that the contest closes on 22 August. If you are interesting in participating, or have any further questions, please send an email to sti-competition@edmstudio.com.


Here's a timely article in Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper. It points out that Alberta now has the highest syphilis infection rates in Canada.


Thu 04 Aug 2011 at 8:39 AM
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