Wednesday, February 23, 2011



NEW YORK (February 21, 2011) –, the global open data visualization platform created by Seed Media Group and GE, opened its World Water Day data visualization challenge today in collaboration with Circle of Blue, the leading news organization reporting on global water challenges. The challenge calls on designers, data experts, and visualizers to tap into the world’s stream of water data to create visualizations specifically on the topic of urban water. The international contest offers a $5,000 cash prize to the winner and offers a chance for contestants to help solve urban water issues through data and design.

The challenge topic was inspired by the World Water Day 2011 theme Water for Cities.

“Many of the world’s metropolitan centers lack the planning, infrastructure, and water resources needed to support the mass migration of residents from rural to urban areas,” says J. Carl Ganter, Director of Circle of Blue, “This is why cities are simultaneously places where the most dire resource challenges converge and where new ideas and water-related investments can be tested.” Circle of Blue therefore teamed up with to host a challenge that would make use of the abundance of water data available.

“We’re delighted to partner with Circle of Blue to host a challenge that galvanizes our community of cross-disciplinary thinkers and designers to use the open water data to reveal new patterns and trends and introduce new ways of understanding urban water issues,” says Adam Bly, Founder of

The competition runs from February 21 through March 15 and will be judged by a panel of water and data experts as well as information designers. The results will be released on World Water Day, March 22, at To enter the competition or to find more information, visit

Share your data

Competition organizers encourage researchers, organizations and government agencies to share their data or point to links of existing data they would like participants to consider. Email suggestions and links to visualizing (at)  circleofblue (dot)  org Additional data, resources and links are located at

About is an open online data visualization platform created by Seed Media Group and GE. It is a free resource for designers and students looking for open data about world issues – such as climate change and global health; a platform for the creative community to share visualizations with each other and the public under a Creative Commons share-alike non-commercial license; a service that provides researchers, decision makers, media organizations, educators and the public with important information design; and a tool for schools to showcase the work of their students and help bring data visualization into the classroom.

About Circle of Blue

Circle of Blue is the national and global network of leading multimedia journalists, researchers and data experts that produces daily coverage and trend-setting reports about water issues from every continent. Circle of Blue approaches the freshwater crisis with three coordinated, interrelated components: front-line journalism, existing and new science and data, and communications design. Circle of Blue’s widely referenced reporting makes water issues personal and relevant while providing a hub for data visualization, aggregation and integration. Circle of Blue applies the best tools of the 21st century to help provide the knowledge that people need to make informed decisions. Circle of Blue is a nonprofit affiliate of the Pacific Institute.

Media Contacts:

Saira Jesani
jesani (at)  seedmediagroup (dot)  com

J. Carl Ganter
Circle of Blue
media (at)  circleofblue (dot)  org
+1.202.351.6870 x110


A Challenge: Making Sense of Water Issues Through Data and Design

A mass migration from rural to urban areas is underway globally. More than half of humanity lives in cities. Of all the challenges that influence this transition, none is more fundamental than water. Yet many of the world’s metropolitan centers lack planning, infrastructure and the water resources needed to support the new tide of urban residents. That’s why cities are simultaneously places where the most dire resource challenges converge, and testing grounds for new ideas, practices, and water-related investments for managing urban transformation.

The Challenge, the global open platform for data visualization, and Circle of Blue, the leading news organization reporting global water challenges, issue an ambitious and rapid-fire call to designers, data experts and visualizers to tap into the world's stream of water data. The international contest, which offers a $5,000 cash prize, challenges cross-disciplinary thinkers and cutting-edge creative teams to use and display data to reveal new ways of understanding trends and patterns, complex systems and relationships.

Topic: Urban Water and Sanitation

- connections between water and infrastructure capacities in cities

- the effects of climate change on urban water supplies

- urban water systems and sources

- water quality and water pricing

- water management and city planning

- innovation

- urban water data

Sample projects

Participants might explore:

• Access to safe water and sanitation, and the relationship to education, GDP and other indicators;
• New ways to map and track water climatological changes in the U.S. Great Lakes region, which supplies water to more than 40 million people, and comparing the Great Lakes to other parts of the world;
• How urban areas use and manage water. Participants might tap into massive streams of live information from major river flows and aquifers that feed major metropolitan areas such as Mexico City or Los Angeles;
• Asia's water challenges — more than a billion people live downstream from the Himalayan glacial melt. How will climate change affect these flows and how will urban areas monitor and prepare for a potentially drier future?
• Relationships between disease, water and climate;
• Urban water management and the quality of available water data.
• Financing water infrastructure.

How to participate

Sign up online at

Visit the water challenge on for more information and data

Visit Circle of Blue's resource site at for more data and ideas.

Submit your visualization at


This is a rapid-fire competition. It opens on Monday, February 21st; the competition closes March 18 and winners will be announced on World Water Day, March 22.


Entries will be judged by a diverse panel of water and data experts, and information designers.

The winning entry will receive a $5,000 cash prize provided by GE.

Past challenges

Past challenges have compared life expectancies, explored the relationship between green space and health, charted relationships between agriculture and resources, and showed relationships between the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Councils.

No comments: