Before the launch of Incidents, or how NEB calls it Pipeline Incidents Visualization, NEB decided to have an internal open house to gauge how the other NEB employees felt and thought about the visualization. And of course Vizworx and the Ilab was invited to attend which I found was a great opportunity to gather user research. The open house provided snacks for attendees and it started off with Katherine, the product owner, demonstrating the uses of the visualizations.
Once the demonstrations were over, we split up into groups and people got a chance to play around with the visualizations if they wanted to. A few grouped up and asked Katherine some more questions about the capabilities of the visualizations, but I decided to wander off to the smaller groups and see what they were up too. It was interesting to see what departments were interested in using the visualization for their work. One department focused on reporting and operation regulations. They wanted to use the visualization as a quick way to summarize incidents in a certain time period and use an image from the visualization as a report to show her supervisor. It was a pretty interesting use case.
Another use case was to visualize the amount of incidents in regions and to investigate which companies caused incidents in a certain amount of time period and why. They were quite passionate to see the potential of the visualization to help dissipate the animosity towards certain oil companies. I completely agree with this type of inspiration and motivation to use data to back up sensitive positions.
As an environmentalist, I had a negative view on the oil and gas sector but I was always one to seek the truth and understand both sides of the story. Hence being able to work on this project was a great opportunity to understand the inter-workings of the energy sector for Canada. And my only hope for this project and for future projects is that others will come play with the visualization and be able to start understanding both sides of the story more clearly, thus allowing them to create a more informed opinion.
I’m quite pleased with the path that NEB has taken the steps to become more transparent. Data is valuable and data is neutral. However, raw data can also be very hard to understand and pull findings from. Therefore, data visualization is very important in order to help others understand what the data is trying to convey. I look forward to seeing what other organizations and companies start to do with their data. Will they create data visualizations to help guide their future decisions? Will they release their data to the public to allow a sense of transparency?
We’re in exciting times, and I, for one, am grateful I was able to work on such a groundbreaking project.
If you’re interested in checking out the visualization, you can click the link below to check it out! Enjoy playing with it!