This project visualizes global migration data (2015) of more than 200 countries. The main part of the website is a 3D earth model which is interactive to show immigrant data of a given state (in and out). The visualization is carefully designed to demonstrate multiple dimensions of the data: the number of figure icons stands for the number of immigrant, the color of the lines stands for sex ratio of the immigrant, and the animation shows the moving direction from origin to the destinations. Readers can see which country has more outstanding migration situation at first glance.In the process of data analysis, we pick some interesting findings such as Hong Kong attracts as much as ninety percent of female immigrants from southeast Asian countries, and more male immigrant are moving to north Africa. The data also shows the increasing number of immigrants to the US and popular European destinations such as Germany from 2010 to 2015. The workflow of this project is a very good example of data driven news: first we have the whole set of the database, then we visualize the data and pick the outstanding part of the data, only then we are able to ask the specific question of how immigration policy has impact this country, and this group of people.
What makes this project innovative?
This project uses 3D technology which is not ground breaking for data news, but still catch a lot of eyes because it is simply fun to interact with. To achieve this goal, we use a web-based 3D language Three.js for modeling and rendering. At the same time, the editorial part of the project is in parallel with the data visualization, pointing out interesting findings of the data. The text also serves as a guideline of exploring the data. Click on the country name in the text and the globe with rotate to the chosen country and shows the data accordingly. We think this is a smart way to put the information in different layers. It’s like the strategy of museums providing “1-hour/4-hour/whole day tour guide” to allow reader with different degrees of interest in this topic to get the most important information without confusion and distraction. In this way we innovate a pattern of good user experience for more projects to come.
What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?
This project drew a lot of attention for its technology and user experience, and it also inspires scholars and journalist to research with our project to write more on the topic of global migration. Since the project is launched, many other newsrooms in China start to learn and try 3D visualization for their data news project, and the trend is growing fast.
Source and methodology
Data visualization by d3.js and 3D visualization by THREE.jsSource: Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN), DEMIG Policy Data, International Organization for Migration
Xiangjun Chen, Chen Huang