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The winner takes it all

Speed read
  • 15th annual Vizzy contest showcases the work of scientists, artists, and hobbyists
  • Entrants compete in a variety of categories for over $10,000
  • Winning submissions feature topics about geoscience, planetary mapping, and starfish larva

This week the NSF and Popular Science magazine unveiled the winners of the 15th Annual Vizzies Challenge.

The competition identifies the most visually engaging photographs, videos, illustrations, interactive apps, and posters produced by scientists, artists, and hobbyists.

<strong>Celestial cartography. </strong> 'Here there be robots,' a poster by Eleanor Lutz, took home the Expert's Choice Award in the 2017 Vizzy Challenge. Courtesy <a href= 'http://tabletopwhale.com/index.html'> Eleanor Lutz. </a>Formerly known as the International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge, the Vizzies awards $2,000 to winners in the Expert’s Choice awards and $250 to the People’s Choice winners.

Here’s a sampling of some winners from this past year.

One winner in the competition was “Flyover Country.” The offline app presents geoscience data in real-time when the user flies over different locations.

Developed by Shane Loueffler, Amy Myrbo, Sijia Ai, Reed McEwan, and Alex Morrison, “Flyover Country” won the Expert’s Choice award in the interactive category.

The app uses data from a selected flight path before take off, and shares geoscience information about the ground on the flight path below.

Eleanor Lutz’s poster, “Here There Be Robots,” is a map of Mars. However, it’s not just any map of the red planet: it’s inspired by medieval cartography, giving our terrestrial neighbor a fresh look that hasn’t been visualized before.

<strong>Hungry Starfish Larva.</strong> This elaborate time lapse photograph took home the Expert's Choice award for the 2017 Vizzy awards. Courtesy William Gilpin, Vivek N. Prakash, Manu Prakash.

Lutz took home the Expert’s Choice award in the posters & graphics category for her project, which uses data from the United States Geological Survey Color-Coded Contour Map of Mars and satellite imagery from the NASA Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter.

The incredibly detailed map features several geographic characteristics from Mars, including craters, ridges, and mountains.

In the photography category, William Gilpin, Vivek N. Prakash, and Manu Prakash’s project “A Hungry Starfish Larva” earned the Expert’s Choice award for its depiction of a ravenous starfish.

The picture was a time-lapse photo in which all the starfish’s vortices were combined into one image showing how it consumes algae.

If you’re looking for more examples of awesome visualizations, check out the full list of winners.

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