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webpick of the week

The Refugee Project

Experimental, Public Service

The Refugee Project is an interactive map that tells the story of global outbound refugee movements between 1975 and 2012. The vast scale of such movements is difficult to grasp from the numbers alone. To show the real, tragic impact of global displacement, Hyperakt, a Brooklyn-based studio dedicated to illuminating social issues through design and data visualization, worked with creative technologist Ekene Ijeoma, who specializes in map-based data visualization. Together, through over 500 hours of work, they created interactive graphic representations of the size of refugee diasporas from dozens of unstable or repressive nations each year. The graphics are based on refugee and population data from the United Nations and UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency. Taken alone, this data could be easily forgotten or ignored. But when it’s made visible by the map’s clean, intelligently designed graphics, the story it tells is shocking. Hyperakt and Ijeoma, working with writer and researcher Ted Cava, created over 80 pieces of content that help users understand the events that have led to some of the largest refugee movements of the last 40 years. Since the site launched, it has been visited nearly 50,000 times, mentioned in about 5,000 tweets, and covered by the international press. This is good news to the site’s creators, who hope these numbers continue to rise. “Our aim is to educate the general public about these tragic events,” says Ambika Roos of Hyperakt, “and hopefully enable new insights into the problem of refugees worldwide.”