Call for Visual Data Storytelling Contest Entries

Following the success of the two successful 2017 and 2018 IEEE PacificVis Data Storytelling Contest, the contest will take place for the third time in 2019. Data storytelling, narrative visualization, or explanatory visualization has emerged as an important industry trend, with events such as the Tapestry Conference, the Information is Beautiful Awards, and the Malofiej Infographics World Summit, as well as new visual essay publications and blogs such as The Pudding, Explorable Explanations and Google News Lab’s Data Journalism blog. The purpose of this contest is to encourage professionals, researchers and students to demonstrate the value of their visualization research through effective visual data storytelling, and to contribute to this exciting development in the broader visualization community.

PacificVis is a unified visualization symposium, welcoming all areas of visualization such as: information, scientific, graph, security, and software visualization. Storytellers are invited to submit visual data-driven stories that draw upon any of these areas. Unlike contests such as the VAST challenge or the SciVis Contest, the data for the PacificVis visual data storytelling contest will be left unspecified; storytellers are free to choose any publicly-available dataset(s). Similarly, the task that storytellers are to accomplish is to successfully communicate a message or series of messages (i.e., a narrative, a series of insights) using visualization techniques and supported by the underlying data. The themes of the story can draw from any topic, including current affairs, history, natural disasters, and research findings from the sciences and humanities.

Videos of the finalists from the 2017 and 2018 contests can be viewed at

For additional inspiration, consult these articles:

Or watch these videos:

Once Upon a Time: From Data to Stories (John Schwabish @ Socrata Connect 2017)
Animation, Pacing, and Exposition (Tony Chu @ OpenVisConf 2016)
Where's Larry? Bringing Data to Life Through Story (Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic @ Tapestry Conference 2017)
Entries may be submitted by teams or individuals, and from both industry and academia alike. Conference sponsors can participate non-competitively. Submissions must fulfill the requirements explained below.


  • Submission can take several forms:
    • Video: .mp4, .avi, or .mov formats are preferred, with a maximum length of 5 minutes. Note that video submissions that appear to be tutorials or demonstrations of a visualization tool will not be considered; the focus of the submission must be a visual narrative about the data, not a visualization tool or technique.
    • Data Comic: a multi-page .pdf file that tells a story in the style of a comic book.
    • Infographic: a single-page poster .pdf file that tells a story.
  • Submission must be in English with a succinct story title or headline.
  • A 150-word extended abstract using the IEEE VGTC poster template that briefly describes the data analysis and design process undertaken by the storyteller(s). The abstract should not include the message(s) communicated by the story; the story must stand alone in this regard such that a viewer should not need to read the abstract to understand the story.
  • A list of references that include the publicly-available dataset(s) that informed the story and those that are visually represented within the story, as well as any tools, libraries, previously published techniques, or software applications used during the data analysis and story design process.
  • The story must feature at least one programmatically-generated visual representation of data; visual representations of data generated by manual illustration (e.g., on paper, using illustration software) are allowed; however, these representations must be used in conjunction with a programmatically-generated visual representations of data. In addition, the programmatically-generated visual representation(s) should be the authors’ own work, using techniques or tools created by the authors. Third party techniques or applications may be used in conjunction with the authors’ own work as long as proper credit is given to their respective creators and it is made clear which aspects of the implementation represent the authors’ own work.
  • The authors can use any source of data to build their story. Nevertheless, we provide a dataset for authors who wants to use a common data source with years of flight data transportation. The dataset is available here with its detail :
  • The entries must be original data-driven stories that have not been previously published elsewhere
  • For the winning entries we expect the following additional requirements:
    • At least one member of the winning team must register for the conference and be present at the contest's poster session and award ceremony.


Submit online through the new Precision Conference System at the PacificVis 2019 Storytelling Contest track

Important Dates

  • Submission Deadline: January 18th, 2019, 9 PM (PST)January 25th, 2019, 9 PM (PST).
  • Notification Date: February 8th, 2019February 15th, 2019.
  • Final Submission: February 22nd, 2019, 9PM PSTMarch 1st, 2019, 9PM PST.

Awards and Rating

A jury of visualization and data storytelling experts will carefully judge each submission and make the selection of award winners. Successful entries will effectively communicate a narrative, message(s), or insight(s) using visual representations of data. Each judge assigned to a submission will give the submission a score from 1 to 5, and they will be asked the following questions:

  • Is this work relevant to the PacificVis Data Storytelling Contest?
  • Is the story original (i.e, not previously published elsewhere)?
  • Is the story engaging and interesting?
  • Is the narrative point or message of the story clearly discernible? Are insights clearly communicated?
  • Are data sources adequately referenced?
  • Are data sources publicly available?
  • Does the story feature at least one programmatically-generated visual representation of data?
  • Is it clear which aspects of the story represents the author(s)’ own work, using techniques or tools created by the authors
  • Is proper credit given to the creators of third-party techniques or applications used to generate the story?

Accepted submission will be published on the PacificVis Storytelling Contest channel on Vimeo. Awards will be presented to the winners during the conference.


Name     Affiliation
Chris Bryan Arizona State University
Yun Wang Microsoft Research Asia
Benjamin Bach Edinburgh University
Till Nagel Mannheim University of Applied Sciences
Jeremy Boy United Nations Global Pulse
Samuel Huron Telecom Paris Tech
Charles Perin University of Victoria


For questions regarding the contest, please do not hesitate to contact the chairs directly via

Contest chairs

Rebecca Ruige Xu
Syracuse University, USA
Jian Zhao
Christophe Hurter
French Civil Aviation University, France

Copyrights © IEEE Pacific Visualization Symposium 2019