data canvas hackathon

Press Release: Data Art Challenge Launches

February 12, 2015

San Francisco, CA – At the Lift Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, on February 6, 2015, the partners of Data Canvas: Sense Your City, debuted the live, open data map now streaming from a network of DIY environmental sensors deployed by citizens in seven cities across three continents.

That debut also marked the launch of the online, international Data Art Challenge. From now through March 20, 2015, teams from around the world are invited to submit projects that take the Sense Your City data and tell its story in a compelling way. An expert jury will judge the submissions and bestow the winners with a suite of prizes including cash, coding classes, and international flights.

Data Canvas is a media network to promote public awareness and engagement around civic issues through the use of data stories. The initiative is a partnership between swissnex San Francisco, Gray Area, and Lift.

Phases Data Canvas


Participants must use data from the network of nodes in San Francisco, Boston, Rio, Geneva, Bangalore, Singapore or Shanghai, but they can also use existing publicly available data sets, under the following conditions:

  • That data must be mashed up with data from the swissnex nodes
  • The use of other data sets is disclosed
  • Other data used is open and legal and does not violate the rights of third parties


The Data Canvas partners and jury hopes to receive a wide range of creative submissions: Data visualizations (image, infographic, video, motion graphic, interactive web app), games, sonifications, or any other format imaginable. The international jury will review projects based on the following criteria, among others:

  • Creativity in storytelling
  • User-Experience
  • Fusion of multiple data sets
  • Data literacy & transparency
  • Actionability

Entries can be uploaded as any type of digital format, as long as an explanation of the usage is provided in the submission.

Prizes and Jury

Prizes include a flight to one of six swissnex location cities: San Francisco, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro Bangalore, Singapore, or Boston. Seeed Studio is offering $1,600 worth of credit to kick-start the next urban maker project. A flight to Geneva, Switzerland, and a ticket to a Lift Conference will also be awarded, as will a Creative Code Fellowship from Gray Area, $3,000 cash, and a $3,000 value of Creative Code Classes taking place in San Francisco, summer 2015.

The esteemed jury includes Bruno Torturra (Midia Ninja, Fluxo); Ariel Schwartz (Fast Company); Eric Pan (Seeed Studio); Jennifer Gabrys (University of London); Daniel Sciboz (HEAD-Geneve); Olga Saukh (ETH Zurich); Benjamin Wiederkehr (Interactive Things); and Ben Fry (Fathom).

Press Contact

Perrine Huber
Head of Marketing & Communication
swissnex San Francisco t: (415) 604-9772 

Data Canvas Contact

Emina Reissinger
Partnerships & Initiatives
swissnex San Francisco t: (415) 604-9789 

More Info

About swissnex San Francisco

swissnex San Francisco is a platform for the exchange of knowledge and ideas in science, education, art, and innovation. We highlight the best of Swiss and North American ingenuity and create opportunities for networking among our diverse group of professional contacts in the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, and beyond. swissnex San Francisco is a public-private venture and an initiative of Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), managed in cooperation with the Department of Foreign Affairs as an annex of the Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco.