2019 Challenge Coin Data Vis

The 2019 Challenge Coin is a pretty special little piece of artwork. The graphic on the back of it is based on number of responses for each makerspace that had all three surveys (Economies, Leadership, Member) submitted that year.

There’s still time to participate in the survey for 2021 data – if your space + 1 member + 1 leader fill out a survey, you’ll get a 2021 challenge coin – which isn’t the one pictured here – but it WILL be equally as nifty.

How was it created? It was done in Processing, and the code is dynamic – it will be reused for future years coins, even if the shape or style of the coin changes.

The outer ring of dots represents the leaders who have submitted surveys for their makerspace. The scaling for shapes for the leaders is slightly larger than the membership data. Here’s a little bit of a zoom in – so we can take a look at some details.

Nova Labs was far and away the makerspace with the most participation in 2019 (and we are very blown away by all the hard work they and all the other spaces did to help promote the survey). The large solid diamond represents 17 leaders who submitted the leadership survey. If there were duplicates from one leader, we kept only one of their multiple responses. The sweeping array of outlined squares represents the 172 unique members who completed the member survey. The data for each space is in line, radially. Being on the coin means that we received the Economies survey; only one Economies survey is needed per space.

Sample of the table of data that is represented on the coin. n.x is leaders and n.y is members.

The spaces are arranged in random-ish order.

Highlighted in pink in the table on the left are the spaces that had 1 leader complete the leadership survey. For the most part, when deciding how to organize the coin’s values, the data were arranged so that no instances of 1 leader would appear next to each other.

If you take a look at Inspiration Labs and Knox Makers you may be wondering why it’s ok to have two values of 3 next to one another. Or you might be wondering why Idea Lab Kids Howard County and Marianapolis Innovation Lab are next to one another.

The answer to that is fairly simple. I was happy with how the piece looked with just splitting up the 1’s, and I split them up in no particular order. This little coin is art with an element of data. The most important thing, to me, was getting this into folks’ hands before the 2022 survey concluded – so when I ran the sketch and saw something appealing, I went with it.

Getting to the point of having our data clean and correctly checked was incredibly important. The initial tally of spaces was done in R Studio by Jenn Deafenbaugh and it was replicated and corrected by Zach Scalyer from Prepared for Flight using R. (That’s part of the reason the coin takes so long to get out – the data has to be as accurate as we can possibly get it.)

800 coins are on order and are making their way to Nashville, where they will be labeled and mailed to each of the makerspaces that appear on the coin. (If a space has closed or if it has moved since the fall of 2019, please let us know at data [at] nationofmakers.us.)

On the front of the coin are four of the goals in the Nation of Makers Mission: Passion, Innovation, Creativity and Diversity. Nation of Makers uses the work done with the survey to further its mission of advocating for makers and maker organizations.

Also on the the front of the coin is Rosie the Riveter from the “We the Rosies” project on “We the Builders”. This image was selected because it’s a symbol of a time that makers came together to create something bigger and awe-inspiring as a collective.

If you have ideas for the imagery that should be included on the front of future coins, please email them to data [at] nationofmakers.us.