2017: A year in GeoDataViz

As we start a new year we thought it would be a good time to reflect on 2017 and also look ahead to 2018. 2017 was our first year with the new team name, GeoDataViz, prior to which we had been known as CartoDesign. You can read more about the changes we made and the reasons why here.

Throughout the year we saw and heard an increasing number of things from many others that validated our decision to make these changes to our team. We always want to stay relevant and forward-thinking and we feel that we are really well placed to do this. It was much more than just a change of name for us – more a change of mindset and a new approach to data. We’re now more journalistic and we aim to tell compelling visual stories rather than just map topography. When working through a project we are now asking more questions, challenging requirements, digging deeper and looking for different angles to tease out narratives and insights.

One of our big achievements last year was the release of our GeoDataViz Toolkit (read more about the release here). Our toolkit is a set of resources that will help you communicate your data effectively through the design of compelling visuals. It is something that we developed and used ourselves throughout 2017 and it enabled us to be more efficient and consistent, allowing us to free up time to work on other things.

We started GeoDataViz Labs to free up some time to work on innovative ideas and techniques. We use this time to work on ideas and create proof of concepts that aren’t necessarily dictated by a current project. We believe that it’s important to always keep learning and expanding our capabilities, and we find that we will employ most of these new concepts in future projects, or they will at least help inform our work.

Some other highlights:

Working more collaboratively – In 2017 we made a real effort to work more closely with other designers and developers at OS. This enables us to work much more effectively and deliver better work as a result of our collective expertise.

Meeting other dataviz teams – We had fantastic meetings with teams from the Financial Times and the Office of National Statistics. It was really useful to share experiences and ideas and also good to see lots of commonality amongst our teams and the way we work.

GeoTech masterclass – In November we presented a masterclass at the Geovation Hub. The evening event was a great success and we had some fantastic feedback from delegates. The workshop material is now freely available as part of our toolkit and we already have other workshops in the pipeline.

BCS Programme Chair – Paul continued his role in the British Cartographic Society, helping to deliver a successful conference. We are now looking forward to the UK Mapping Festival later in the year.

Dataviz Summit – In December we attended and exhibited at the DataViz Summit in Manchester. We hope to attend more dataviz conferences this year and meet more people from this broad and inspiring community. This event was a nice way for our team to round off the year.

We also looked at 3D cartography, animation of spatio temporal data, map annotation (drawing inspiration from data journalists), vector tiles and offline mapping amongst many other exciting projects.

2018: Looking ahead

In 2018 we will continue researching, testing, breaking and making things. We already have some exciting projects in the pipeline and look forward to visualising new datasets and telling more stories.

We have committed ourselves to posting on this blog more regularly – sharing our latest work, activities and best practices. We will continue to support our customers and build out our toolkit with new content. We will be at the Geovation Hub more regularly and will be running more workshops throughout the year.

If you think we could help you or you’d like to discuss GeoDataViz then don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can reach us via email at cartodesign@os.uk

Happy New Year 🙂

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Tutorial – visualising data in Kepler with the RNLI
Tutorial – visualising data in QGIS with the RNLI
Join us at the UK Mapping Festival

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