(Un-) serious business in data viz

Hi there,

I am Alsino






I design maps,

digital interfaces and data stuff

Maptime Berlin

Airbnb vs Berlin



Show me some UFOs!


  • Alsino's course project at the University of Applied Science, Potsdam, end of 2015
  • Found an interesting database on UFO sightings
  • Idea: Are people in Germany still reporting UFOs today? Where do they live? Are they crazy (maybe)?

The plan:

  • Alsino and Hans met at Maptime Berlin (a few months back)


  • Decided to re-work the project (i.e. get all the data) as fun little side project (...just gonna take a few weekends, right?"); learn more about Mapbox GL JS, Open Refine and more...


  • Goal: Design and develop an interactive map that shows all UFO sightings in Germany


  • Hans wrote a scraper to collect all the sightings information from the database (node.js) and store it as csv


  • Geocoding (i.e. finding lat/lng) with Google Geocode-API and OpenRefine (see this great tutorial)


Dark Data Magic

CSV file with all UFO sightings


Early Crappy Design:

a few



The Stories

A quick demo

A few takeaways from the project

It spawns creativity but...

...side projects can take a lot longer then expected...

(especially if you are co-releasing with media ;)

1. Do unserious and fun stuff

If documentation is incomplete, some workarounds may be necessary

2. Try new technologies

(i.e. Mapbox GL JS)

You may reach people that you did not intend to reach.

3. Know your audience


(Un-) serious business in dataviz

By alsino

(Un-) serious business in dataviz

Presentation at Hacks&Hackers Berlin, 9.11.16

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