November 01, 2012

The seven deadly sins: Sheepallenge 2012

Over the past couple of months/weeks we've been having a lot of fun with the Twitter data we've been pulling in through our DOLLY project.  We've looked at beer vs. church, binders full of women, and even Big Bird.   But why should we have all the fun?  Wouldn't you like to be a sheeple too?

So in that vein and despite the frankenstorm on the East Coast which has reduced Taylor to nibbling on dry Ramen as he makes maps, we're pushing forward with our November Sheepallenge.  Building upon the idea of IronSheep 2012 (in which teams were given the same datasets and tasked with making "tasty maps") we have provided Sheepallenge participants with a set of Twitter derived data as part of an fantastical, allegorical, mapitorital competition taking place this month.  This is going to be so wicked cool!

After some brain-storming we decided to go with the theme of the Seven Deadly Sins (Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Pride, Sloth, Wrath) inspired in part by the cool mapping exercise by Mitchel Stimers and others at Kansas State University (here).  After all, the Twitter data from which we were pulling reflects the commentary of daily life.  What better source for uncovering the sins that lurk within the hearts and microblogging activities of Internet users? So we sat down and came up with range of terms that we thought did a decent job of representing a sin (e.g., the term Big Mac for Gluttony or honor student for Pride) and compiled them into a "sindex" for each each of the seven sins.  The sindex can be used as an aggregate measure or divided into its component parts (see meta data below).
(btw, Stimers et al maps are NOT based on tweets but indicators such as crime, income, etc.)

The challenge to you is to make your own map(s) of the 7-deadly sins with our data.

Those of you who registered as research participants should have received an email with a link to download the data.  If you are just reading this now and are thinking "Man, I should of signed up." email Monica and asked to be hooked up (  We probably can accommodate more participants but no guarantees.  Currently we have 33 visualization groups/classes/people signed up from around the world so we can't wait to see what we end up with.

Whoever creates the most interesting, fun, informative and aesthetically pleasing visualization or data-driven artwork, will receive a prize and will have their visualization posted about here on

Rules for the Sheepallenge 2012
The rules are as follows:
  1. You can not post the raw data on the internet or redistributed to others.  Please contact us before using the data for any other research purpose.  Commercial use is prohibited.
  2. Maps may created in a range of formats from static maps (e.g, choropleth, cartograms or cartoons) to animations or interactive interactive maps.  Maps can be submitted as an attached .jpg or .pdf or can be a link to an interactive or animated map. 
  3. Your visualization needs to use at least one of the data files included in the 7-sins data package. Adding additional data from other sources (e.g. census, crime stats) is definitely allowed. You can chose one sin, one aspect of a sin, or all the sins.   
  4. For your visualization to be considered by the judges, you must email it to by November 30, 2012.   Monica will forward it on to the judges for consideration.
    1. Include a jpg/pdf of the actual map (or series of maps) or a link to an interactive or animated map. 
    2. Include a Word document that has (a) your name (or group), (b) your contact info (c) the specific seven sin dataset(s) you used and (d) a title/name for the map.  Although it is not required, feel free to include a short description/abstract of what you did, especially if you think it is cool/important.
  5. Multiple entries are allowed but submit each map separately as outlined above.
  6. Judges should not be bribed with chocolate.  (It is OK to bribe your local cartographer/GIS expert for help as long as you credit them in your work).
  7. The judges will select winners across a range of categories and map types.
  8. Winners will receive bragging rights, a carefully constructed electronic certificate (suitable for framing) and perhaps some FloatingSheep paraphernalia we have kicking around.
  9. By submitting a map you give the blog permission to post it under the creative commons attribution-noncommercial-sharealike license we use for all our stuff.
  10. Goto rule 1.
Please direct all questions to Monica ( or Ate (

May the best map win!

Metadata for Sheepallenge 2012
Much more extensive metadata is available with the data but the basics are:
  • The database is about 70 MB in size
  • Data covers all geotagged tweets made within the United States between June 26 and October 30
  • Keywords used (and associated sampling rates when appropriate) is available online
  • We have also include a range of other terms that may (or may not) fit in well with a particular sin (e.g., does Justin Bieber represent Lust? Or Pride?  Or Envy?).  Some of them (such as a random selection of tweets) will be useful for standardizing purposes.

1 comment:

  1. Are you selecting a new Pope? Lets see those awesome maps. :)


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