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    As part of the celebration around the World Statistics Day 2015, and following the launch of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals Report, the United Nations Statistics Division is excited to announce the #WSD2015 Data Visualization Challenge competition.


    We Challenge You to:

    Use your creativity and imagination to build an infographic or dynamic visualization featuring the latest data from the 2015 MDG report.

    The winner solution will be announced on 20 October 2015 - World Statistics Day 2015! The best visualizations received will be showcased on the UNSD website, on the unite website, and at related platforms worldwide.


    What is the task?

    Visualize the MDG data answering a development policy question, such as:

    ● What are the interlinkages, synergies and tradeoffs between different targets? For instance, does achieving certain targets increase or decrease the likelihood of achieving other targets?

    ● What is the relationship of different types of official development assistance (ODA) to the achievement of different MDG targets?

    ● What characteristics of least developing countries were most relevant to explain the achievement of development goals and targets?

    These research questions are only an example; you may come up with your own questions to put your analytical and data visualization skills to the test. 


    The final submissions must cover the following materials:

    ● A web link (url) to a working (live) demo

    ● Original code, data files and other electronic files hosted in a public repository

    ● A PDF document describing your project, which should include:

    ◦ Abstract: A brief summary of the project, with a maximum of 120 words.

    ◦ Problem and Motivation: A description of the problem you have addressed, explaining the why is it relevant, what are the main variables involved, and what development policy questions you intend to address.

    ◦ Approaches: Describe the approaches used for examining and analyzing the data.

    ◦ Tools Utilized: Describe which technologies you leveraged during your project.

    ◦ Results: Describe how the results of your work may contribute to improve the use of data for development.



    The project should make use of the indicators from the MDG database which can be accessed from here. A tab delimitated downloadable file is also available in the resource section on your right. A comprehensive metadata repository for the MDG dataset is available under this link.

    In addition to MDG database, participants are encouraged to use other international sources of official statistics to enhance their analysis (e.g., any series available in UN Data, World Bank Development Indicators, etc.

    Who can participate?

    ● This challenge is open to the general public. We welcome the participation of students, data scientists, data journalists, and graphic designers.

    ● Teams of up to three people can submit by acknowledging all contributors under the “description” field on the submissions form.

    ● Participants can submit as many times as they’d like. However, only the last submission will be taken into consideration.


    All solutions will be reviewed by a Committee of the #WSD2015 Data Challenge. Only original work will be accepted and judged following these criteria:

    ● Alignment with challenge objectives

    ● Sound data analysis and accuracy of results

    ● Originality

    ● Relevance

    ● Quality and organization of documentation presented

    The best solutions will be showcased on the UNSD website, this website and at related platforms worldwide. Winners will be announced on 20 October 2015 as part of the celebration of the World Statistics Day 2015.

    View winning solutions

    Is the world a better place today? 

    1st place

    Dr. Jeremy Boy

    “Is the world a better place today?” (isWBPT) is a web-based, interactive visualization app based on the Millenium Develoment Goals data. This visualization for the people is designed to help users overcome three potential barriers, which are often overlooked in the design of visualizations and in the presentation of data: literacy barrier, interaction barrier and task barrier.

    » Launch Demo

    » Download the code

    » Read the documentation

    Millennium Development Goals - Indication Correlation Explorer


    Mr. Max Galka

    This data visualization allows you to explore the relationships between Millennium Development Goals indicators via two interactive graphics.

    » Launch Demo

    » Download the code

    » Read the documentation

    Halting the Spread of HIV 


    Ms. Emily Schuch

    An exploration of the HIV incidence rate, which measures the number of new HIV infections as a percentage of the population. Visualizations include a line plot of the HIV incidence rate by region, a world map of the HIV incidence rate by country with a slider to view by year from 1990 to 2013, and a heat map of the 20 countries with the highest average HIV incidence rate from 1990 to 2013, by country and by year. Predictive modeling was also explored to look for factors which may be significant in reducing the incidence rate.

    » Launch Demo

    » Download the code

    » Read the documentation

    The Urban Century: Exploring the impact of "Slumification" on Development Goals 


    Mr. Niccolo Cirone

    This project is intended to encourage further analysis on the difference between development policies for rural areas and policies for slums, and on how we can make sure that our development actions are can be effectives in urban environments. This Visualization was chosen by Tableau Software as “Viz of the Day” on August 30, 2015.

    » Launch Demo

    » Download the code

    » Read the documentation

    Behind the scenes of the UN Millennium Goal Development Report 


    Dr. Katharina Rasch

    ”Behind the scenes...” is a visualization of the metadata behind the UN Millennium Goal Development report. It answers questions such as ”How much data is behind the MGD report?”, ”How many people does it represent?”. Users can explore how much data has been collected about each of the millennium goals. They can learn how much of Earth’s population is represented in each of data points collected and see for which goals the UN is making progress in collecting more data in recent years. The visualization can be a companion when reading the report or looking at other visualizations. It can be used to investigate if results presented are grounded on a sound basis of data.

    » Launch Demo

    » Download the code

    » Read the documentation

    Health inequity in your city 


    Dr. Doohee You

    Given our focus on urban health, the project intended to elicit the magnitude of health inequities in urban areas using MDG indicators. We want to highlight that sections of the urban population are disadvantaged in accessing services and achieving healthy outcomes. The project, therefore, focused on providing a quick and clear understanding of the current situation as well as trends, while providing benchmarks for each country to compare their performance with others. We used a pooled dataset to obtain MDG indicators and used data visualization tools to construct country profiles. The results of this project have been acknowledged by the WHO Global Health Observatory in 2015 and have contributed to raising awareness on urban health inequity.

    » Launch Demo

    » Download the code

    » Read the documentation

    Challenger organizations: 

    UN DESA Statistics Division

    The Statistics Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) is committed to the advancement of the global statistical system. We compile and disseminate global statistical information, develop standards and norms for statistical activities, and support countries’ efforts to strengthen their national statistical systems. We facilitate the coordination of international statistical activities and support the functioning of the United Nations Statistical Commission as the apex entity of the global statistical system.