How has your municipality’s climate changed?

Category: Best data-driven reporting (small and large newsrooms)

Country/area: Austria

Organisation: Addendum.org

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 8 Dec 2019

Credit: Danijel Beljan, Gerald Gartner, Markus Hametner

Project description:

In one of the hottest summers in recent years, we showed how climate change played out on a local level. We showed rising temperatures and numbers of heat days based on both historical data and projections. The piece rewrites itself based on the users’ input location.

Impact reached:

Local newspapers in most austrian states partnered with us and either republished the investigation or based their local reporting on our findings.

Techniques/technologies used:

All our data sources – both historical temperature data and projected change of indicators – were provided to us as geospatial 1x1km raster files, which we processed using a R pipeline based on Timo Grossenbacher’s reproducable ddj template. We used ~2100 municipality centers retrieved from openstreetmap and wikidata to transform the raster data to municipality data, which we then transformed (using javascript) to an interactive story that changes depending on users’ inputs.
We also created reports for local papers showing how their regions were affected, which they used for additional reporting.

What was the hardest part of this project?

(Use „Wien” as an example input, this will show you data on Vienna)
By raw amount of data, this was our largest (big) data project yet. The hard parts were figuring out how to make the large amount of data legible to our users (and process-able by us), creating a story that could change dependin on the users’ input, and supporting other reporters’ local reporting.

What can others learn from this project?

Climate Change can be interesting to both reporting partners and readers if the impacts can be shown on a local level and made legible to non-specialists. The latter was achieved by using the measure of heatdays and not showing relative differences, but for example absolute temperatures.

Project links: