What's in store for the Sharing Economy?

In partnership with KPMG and Imperial College, we created a large-scale data visualisation that took data about the evolving Sharing Economy and provided commentary alongside a workshop.

The project

The piece told the evolving story of the Sharing Economy, it's growing prevalence and mentions. 

The graphic explored the issues around the expansion and diffusion of the ‘Sharing Economy’ – the collaborative ecosystem in which resources and services are shared peer to peer, as popularised by companies such as Uber and Airbnb.

The process

One of the main technical considerations for this project was that the end result would be presented at the KPMG Data Observatory at the Imperial College Business School. This bespoke display is made up of 64 full HD screens, wrapped around in a 313 degree arc to create an amazingly immersive experience. The resolution of 30,720 x 4,320 pixels is believed to be the highest in Europe for a single display and posed a good design challenge; it is almost twice as large as the size limits of Adobe Illustrator’s artboards.

We were given two datasets – the first taken from a survey by Imperial College which had been carried out over 6 years and asked recipients about their awareness and use of Sharing Economy services. The second was a set of contextual data that went back 20 years and provided milestones in digital history that influenced the evolution sharing economy.

The primary feature of the survey data - and the most difficult to implement - was mapping the participants’ geographic locations. We explored various methods of visualisation before settling on diamonds with a semi-opaque centre fill which created interesting shapes whilst also allowing a clear view of density. This angular visual style was carried on to be the look and feel of the whole piece. 

We mapped the diamonds by taking the participant’s longitude and latitude coordinates and using scripts to position them on an equirectangular map. The supporting survey demographic data was then created by a mixture of manual and scripted methods.

To get around the issue of the massive resolution, we worked at 50% scale and then exported at full size. 

The end result was an immersive visual that presented the data at an unprecedented scale, allowing workshop attendees to walk along the timeline and explore events at their own pace. The bright colours combined with the darkened room and circular layout created a vibrant and unique piece of data design.