The Coming Months


This summer I made a documentary on the Pine Rocklands of south Florida and have found myself in the peculiar position of being in love with an ecosystem and everything thing that it is an represents so it’s only fitting that when asked to do a semester long data visualization project I work with the Pine Rocklands.

Original phylogeny from Lauren Trotta’s paper

Original phylogeny from Lauren Trotta’s paper

Lauren Trotta of the University of Florida created the very first plant phylogeny of Pine Rockland plant species and found just over 500 plants that can and do exists within the Pine Rocklands and though the figures included in her published article are very good in term of scientific figures, they still lack an accessibility and interactive quality that allow someone to fully understand where specific species lie within the chart.

For the next few months I will be working with various data sets to visually show the diversity and beauty of the Pine Rockland flora. I will do this through:

  1. illustrations

  2. animations

  3. data visualization tools (charts, graphs etc.)

rough animation showing the deforestation of the Pine Rocklands of south Florida overtime

rough animation showing the deforestation of the Pine Rocklands of south Florida overtime

The project will consist of multiple components including a web page/scrollytelling aspect as well as a large singular phylogeny re-imagined in a way that is more detailed.

Some sources of inspiration come from the amazing speakers we have had in my data visualization class with Alberto Cairo including:

Maarten Lambrechts’ project recently published in the pudding; I really liked his animation morphing the countries of Europe into circles on a graph and though I do not have the technical skills to do this through coding, I’m fairly confident I could be able to achieve a similar product through animation.

Another source of inspiration comes from last week’s blog post which you can read about here and discusses Roni Levit’s work which I admire for it’s bright colors, simplicity and ability to effectively convey the hierarchy of information.

The Pine Rocklands are a really great stepping off point into many relevant environmental and political topics today such as the importance of green spaces in urban areas, deforestation, climate change and sea level rise and I hope by telling more people about them and their value to also educate people about their importance.

You can view my proposal slideshow here

Leila Mae Thompson