Indy Big Data Visualization Challenge

Now in its second year, the Indy Big Data Visualization Challenge is your opportunity to connect and learn from some of the Midwest’s foremost thought leaders in public open data and data visualization. Conducted in concert with the Indy Big Data Conference, the Data Visualization Challenge invites participants to explore newly released open data sources, bring diverse perspectives and skillsets together to pursue creative insights, and deliver solutions with the potential to significantly benefit the public good.

This year, Indy Big Data is excited to partner with the Indiana Management Performance Hub, the state’s new data sharing and insights agency, to host the Challenge. The Management Performance Hub will publish never-before available datasets to the Indiana Data Hub, the state’s home for free and public information on topics ranging from healthcare to public safety to government finance.

The subject area for this year’s Visualization Challenge and the subsequent datasets to be provided will focus on improving Indiana’s talent pipeline and workforce.

Indiana must build the 21st Century talent required to sustain our prosperity and competitive edge as the world economy changes. The State faces the challenge of filling more than 1 million jobs over the next 10 years. To meet this goal, we need more specially trained and skilled workers meeting the needs of Indiana employers. The data compiled for this data visualization challenge contains information about employment patterns and higher education activities in Indiana. The challenge is to use the data to answer questions about how the higher education sector responds to changes in the demand for skills in the economy. Potential questions could include: What trends did you find in talent and workforce alignment? Did you find any barriers to employment or education in areas of misalignment? What ideas do you have to better identify and improve the alignment of Indiana’s talent pipeline with the present and future needs of employers in the state?

The productivity of the United States economy requires a highly skilled labor force. Given rapid progress in science and technology, the type and composition of skills that are valued by employers change over time. No one really knows what skills will be the most important over the next two or three decades yet hiring decision need to be made, students need to pick courses and degrees, and educators/trainers need to develop teaching materials. To make things worse, the production of skilled workers and their continuous upskilling is an expensive and time consuming process–one cannot produce a new physician, engineer, or data scientist in an afternoon.

The public and private universities and colleges that make up the higher education sector play an essential role in developing the workforce of the future. But how well do these institutions respond to the changing needs of the economy? Are they agile enough to respond to short-term changes in skill demand? Do they make sound investments for long-term human capital development? And, what about workers themselves? Do students make good choices about what to study in order to productively contribute to future economic prosperity?

The data (and associated documentation) specifically compiled for this data visualization challenge contains information about employment patterns and higher education activities in the United States for the years 2010-2016. The challenge is to use the data to answer questions about how well the higher education sector responds to changes in the demand for skills in the U.S. economy. Use the data to construct measures of higher education responses to labor market activity.  Specifically, you might like to help answer: Are increases in job postings for a specific skill set associated with a subsequent rise in the number of students graduating from related educational programs? How can educational programs best be linked with occupations and industries? Do patterns and trends in the data vary over time, across different parts of the country, or across fields of study? What factors best explain if the higher education sector is more or less responsive? What is the best way to communicate and visualize results to different stakeholder groups to inform data-driven decision making by students, educators, employers, regional developers, industry, and others?

Teams that participate in the Indy Big Data Visualization Challenge will be given the opportunity to present their work to a panel of open data, visualization, and subject matter experts on the morning of the Indy Big Data Conference on September 26th. Teams chosen as finalists by these judges will then have the opportunity to present during the Conference’s general session to all attendees.
Presentations must be limited to no more than 5 minutes. Participants are not limited to any single visualization tool but developing a working demo is strongly encouraged.
Teams must register for the Visualization Challenge no later than 12pm EST on September 21st.

Datasets for the Challenge will be made available through the Indiana Data Hub on September 12th, 2018. At least one of these provided datasets must be used; additional data can be added.
There will be a Webinar scheduled for September 14th to give participants the opportunity to become more familiar with the newly available datasets and ask questions to subject matter experts.

Visualizations will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • ability to provide new, actionable insights
  • value as a tool for data exploration
  • relevance for a general audience
  • scientific rigor
  • September 12th – Challenge data goes live on the Indiana Data Hub
  • September 14th – Webinar for participants (not mandatory)
  • September 21st – Team registration deadline
  • September 26th – All registered teams will present to a panel of judges, selected teams will present during the general session of the Indy Big Data Conference

All submitting teams grant Indy Big Data and the Indiana Management Performance Hub the right to publish and to publicly display visualizations, recorded presentations, and images

  • Teams will be limited to no more than ten (10) individuals.
  • Teams that are not able to present in-person during the Conference on September 26th are not eligible to participate.
  • Challenge participants must also register for the Indy Big Data Conference. Students competing in the Challenge will be given a significant discount.
  • Each Solution must support English language use, and all written parts of entries must be in English.
  • Solutions are expected to have been tested for basic functionality, accuracy of messaging, and integrity (i.e. security), and must be accessible to the judges for confirmation that solutions function and operate as described.

Danny Lopez


Moderator of Visualization Challenge

Additional Information:

Please contact Vera Kotlyar with any questions:
For Dataset inquiries, please contact: