Carbon emissions, local air pollution and many environmental challenges are very real.  But they're also invisible.  So how do you get people to suddenly 'get it'?  We have created some simple 'tools' that can be used by any organisation to inform and engage.  And we can use and adapt these for bespoke projects such as refining the images, adding specific context material, applying within wider communications project.  For now, please feel free to use the tools below, share them and also give us feedback on how they are helping with your engagement projects.

Realtime Visualiser

It makes sense to use annual emissions as the core metric for carbon accounting - whether for individuals, businesses or countries.  But we believe that it makes more sense to show daily or real-time emissions if the purpose is to engage people who would otherwise be uninterested in the subject.  That's why we have created this tool that enables any annual carbon dioxide quantity to be shown as a real-time quantity.  

The screen shot here shows an example of how the tool will display data. You can try it yourself using the tool below. This is a literally your blank canvas to produce a real world visual!

How to use this tool:

Simply fill in the name of your project and an annual amount of carbon dioxide and the tool will show the emissions as a real-time stream of bubbles.  This visual can then be embedded in a web-page or shared by cutting and pasting the link.

Emissions Comparison Widget

Sometimes you don't need to see emissions in real-time, but it is still useful to visualise rates of emissions. The Comparison Widget allows you to add up to two different emissions - simple quantities or rates. You can then see them together on a range of time scales (how much per second, per minute, per day or per year).

How to use this tool:

First select the material to visualise. The choice is carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide or water (we can't remember why CO is on the list - probably just a test material). In '# of masses' select 1 or 2. Add the size of the masses, and units. If it is a rate, include the time-period (e.g. per year). Press submit.

See the same quantity on different time periods with the time period buttons. The 'Scaling obj' button adds or removes a scaling object appropriate to the scale of the volumes.

Population Explorer

When you can see yourself in statistics you engage with them on a wholly different level. That’s why at Real World Visuals we help people to see people in statistics about people. Sometimes we need reminding that it is not just numbers we are talking about and sometimes we need reminding to pay attention to the actual numbers rather than misguided intuition.

How to use this tool:

Population Explorer is a new crowd-vis tool. Pick a number and Population Explorer will create a population of that size that matches the British population. For instance, in a population of 100 there will be 59 Christians and 25 people with no religion. Population Explorer can be used for any population, but more interestingly it can allow us to use population as a way to understand natural and financial resources.

View on full-screen here. See here our general blog on crowd visualisation, and here for blog about this specific Little Britain tool.

This tool can be easily adapted to show any population data, and we are actively looking for projects where dissemination to a non-specialist audience is important.  The tool can also be used to show animals, perhaps to help people understand species decline.  Please get in touch if you have a data set that you think we can help visualise like this or within a wider communications challenge.