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IEEE VGTC VPG International Data-Visualization Contest
2016 Theme: Spatio-temporal Visual Analytics

2016 Winners

  • Bayesian Visual Analytics for Geo-Spatial Temporal Data - Tata Consultancy Services Research, India
  • Local Competition for Students Creates Unused Capacity - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Honorable Mention: Multi-scale Voronoi-based ACT Assessment - University of Illinois at Chicago

See all of the entries on the 2016 Entries page.

Call for Participation, 2016

Dear colleagues,
Location ambiguity within the contest data was reported on Friday, Aug 27 and remedies proposed by the data owner have been posted in the Questions section below. In light of the data integrity issue, VPG has decided to push back the submission deadline to Tuesday, Sep 20.

The IEEE VGTC VPG International Data-Visualization Contest
Contest Theme: Spatio-temporal Visual Analytics
Collaborator and Support: ACT, Inc.

DEADLINE: Wednesday, August 31, 2016 Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The IEEE Visualization and Graphics Technical Committee (VGTC) is sponsoring its third International Data-Visualization Contest to recognize outstanding design in visualization and visual analytics from around the world. The 2016 contest theme is “Spatio-temporal Visual Analytics.” The contest will be administrated by the IEEE Visualization Pioneers Group (VPG) under the auspices of IEEE VGTC and in collaboration with ACT, Inc. (ACT is a non-profit organization in the education readiness assessment sector.)  The awards will be announced at the IEEE VPG Reception to be held at the IEEE VIS 2016 conference. You are not required to attend either the VIS 2016 conference or the VPG reception to participate in the contest.

Contest Challenge: Spatio-temporal Visual Analytics

ACT operates nearly 9,000 testing centers annually to deliver The ACT Assessment to over two million high school students on six different Saturdays each year as part of its open, “National” program.

Use of the test data by schools and government agencies has grown significantly in recent years. This growth is increasing the demands on the ACT network and test seat availability. Thus, ACT seeks to use data to carefully mange its system and its operating costs.

The 2016 challenge is to develop a visual representation of how changes in availability of an ACT product (i.e., an assessment test) in a geographic area or as part of a distribution network can affect nearby or adjacent distribution sites by moving students or assessments, changing dates, or some other strategy.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • How does the introduction of a new delivery location affect existing delivery?
  • How does the addition or subtraction of a distribution site affect demand in neighboring sites?
  • How do proximity and availability affect participation in the assessment by geographic region?
  • What is the optimal Test Center Network for each season by geographic region?
  • What geographic areas are at risk of under or over utilization?
  • How can derived measures like Market Saturation, Percent Utilization, and Cost per Unit be aggregated and visualized at local, regional and national levels?

Contest Data

Questions and Answers

Q1. In ACT_TestEvents.csv: we have capacity and assigned measures , as per data documentation they are proportional to number of students , can you please explain the way you have calculated these proportions?
A1. Generally, the numbers reported are a weighted sum of different student types or expense types. The number of types, their descriptions, and any associated weights used for the calculation are held secret as a provision of publication.

Both variables are measured in "#of students", though decimals were permitted.
1. capacity = the number of students that can be tested in one event
2. assigned measures = number of students attended or signed?

Q2. In the Topics of interest : There is no clear distinction between a delivery location and distribution site ? Are these two terms similar ? Or can you please explain the difference between these terms?
A2. These two terms have identical meanings for the purpose of this challenge.
Q3. We have population for zip codes, can you please tell me these population figures are for which year?
A3. Population figures are from the 2010 Decadal Census (summary file 2) and are the value reported in the column labeled: SUBHD0101_S20 Number - Both sexes; Total population (all ages) - 15 to 19 years
Q4. In ACT_AllPointsFile.csv, we found some errors in the coordinates of the test centers. Could you check that? Here is an example. The point #384378 and #384379 share the same coordinates (42.453086, -73.247088). However, we found that their coordinates should be (42.425860, -73.244090) and (42.459603, -73.273657). We guess there might be an error in the geocoding setup as most test centers failed to be located to the correct positions.
1) the published locations are at the zip5 level, so all centers in the same zip5 will have the same coords.

2) any alternate coords submitters want to use would be fine, and submitting methods to obtain them, or those new coords themselves would be welcome additions to their submission.

3) treating all centers in a zip5 as one center, OR as many centers with small distances between them are both reasonable options.

4) any other creative methods and descriptions would be welcome as inputs


All visualization and visual analytics designers, developers, researchers, and practitioners from business, academia, and government sectors around the world are eligible to participate. Submissions cannot promote a commercial product.

Submission Limitation

Contestants may be lead author on no more than three submissions to the 2016 contest. They may be a co-author of any number of submissions.

Submission Deadline

Contest packets must be received by 5PM PDT on Wednesday, August 31, 2016 Tuesday, September 20, 2016. Updates to submissions are accepted until the deadline.

Selection Procedure

Five distinguished IEEE VPG members chosen jointly by the VGTC and VPC chairs will review the contest submissions thoroughly and assess the top contest winners. The chair of the selection committee will submit the committee’s recommendation to the IEEE VGTC chair by Friday, Oct 14, 2016.

Contest Award

IEEE VGTC will award a certificate to the best submission in each of the following five categories:

  1. Overall Excellence
  2. Originality
  3. Appropriateness
  4. Understandability
  5. Communication Impact

Submissions will be considered in all categories and may win more than one award. Winners in all categories may have a chance to see their visualization work:

  1. Being applied to ACT’s data analysis, product development, and/or marketing/promotional efforts
  2. Appear on a cover of IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications (CG&A) in 2017. IEEE CG&A will make the final determination about publishing.

Submission Details

The 2016 contest accepts only static visualizations in the form of an image. Contest participants should email the submission package to ieeevpg@googlegroups.com. The package must include:

  1. A pdf file that contains:
    1. Title of the data-visualization contest submission
    2. Name, affiliation, email address, and postal address of the participant
    3. A maximum of 300 word description of the visualization written in English
  2. A static visualization figure in jpg or png format.

The size of the total submission package must be less than 10MB. Entrants will receive an e-mail reply within 1 business day to confirm receipt. If you do not receive a reply, please let us know. For questions, contact vpg_awards@vgtc.org.