Joint Regional EITI MSG Meeting and Data Visualization Boot Camp

Date Originally Published: June 30, 2015
Date Republished: October 13, 2017

Our journey toward the liberalization of government data has never been a single-team effort. Among the partners that have helped us promote data transparency and reuse is the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global standard requiring governments and the extractive—mining and oil and gas—industries to disclose their financial transactions. Companies participating in the EITI publish the amounts they pay to their respective governments, which in turn also publish their collections from these industries. The goal is to ensure the transparency of revenues from natural resources.

Last December 2014, the Open Data Task Force worked with the PH-EITI Multi-stakeholder Group (MSG) and Secretariat to develop a Contracts Dashboard. It catalogues around 40 mining and oil and gas contracts, in addition to accompanying annexes and an infographic displaying a timeline of these contracts. This joint project is in support of our mutual trust to promote openness and the timely disclosure of information.

This June, we once again partnered with the PH-EITI and International Secretariat to conduct the Joint Regional EITI MSG Meeting and Data Visualization Boot Camp. Held from June 8-9, the event aimed to enable stakeholders to share EITI objectives and experiences across countries, and also promote the visibility and utilization of EITI data. Task Force Creatives Lead Smile Indias facilitated sessions during the Data Visualization Boot Camp, which occurred alongside the MSG Meeting.

The Boot Camp brought together communication officers, graphic designers, and MSG representatives from a variety of backgrounds. In line with the EITI’s goal to increase public awareness of its data, these participants were tasked to create stories out of big data. Graphic artists were expected to develop narratives from the latest EITI data and translate these into easy-to-understand visualizations.

On the first day, Indias opened her session with a brief introduction about Open Data Philippines, followed by a longer discussion on the basics of visualization. Why is good design important? How does one go about producing good design? These are some of the questions Indias sought to answer in her presentation, which tackled not just design theory and the relationship between narrative and target audience, but also important skills such as data scraping and structuring. Useful data visualization tools such as Many Eyes and RAW were also introduced. A hands-on session followed, during which groups of participants visualized different news articles using pens and paper.

The highlight of the second day was the main workshop. Participants had previously been divided into ten groups based on identified users of EITI data (e.g. policymakers, investors, CSOs, etc.). During the workshop, they were asked to create compelling visualizations directed to a specific user. Each group had at least one designer, one communications officer, and one MSG representative to act as mentor. Afterward, the groups took turns presenting their output to the rest of the participants and other MSG members. A special panel judged the results and awarded four winners and one grand winner.

The overall atmosphere of the joint meeting and workshop was characterized by learning and collaboration. Attendees learned not just from the session facilitators but also from their teammates and mentors. By working together and sharing their strengths, participants were able to produce output that they could not have come up with alone. In the same way, the success of this event stands as a testament to the value of partnership. Moving forward, the Open Data Task Force remains committed to working with other stakeholders toward promoting data transparency and accessibility.