David Bihanic, designer-researcher

Deadly crossings to Europe

Refugees crossing Mediterranean Sea (2000-2016)

The world is facing the most significant migratory crisis in its history. Even of this very day, millions of refugees are scrambling to reach the EU after fleeing war-torn countries such as Iraq, Syria and Libya. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), around 35,000 of them died or went missing between January 2000 and September 2016. The majority of deaths were due to drowning or exhaustion. In 2015, 1 million of refugees tried to cross the Mediterranean — more than 3,770 were reported to have died.

The “Deadly crossings to Europe” project consists of an interactive map that graphically represents (and locates) the dead and missing refugees who have crossed the Mediterranean over that period (2000-2016) — detailed information is available by clicking on each dot. This webmap also shows the major routes they have taken, the main international migration hubs, and the most populous refugee camps — the leading host countries for refugees are identified in the background.

The first objective of this project (encouraged by the International Organization for Migration — IOM) was to make everyone clearly aware of this large-scale human tragedy. In addition, my aim was to encourage selfless action (emanating from different public and/or private actors). My deep intent was to foster local community initiative that provides assistance to the refugee and immigrant populations in Europe. To do so, I did not want to steer/channel action, to promote specific health or social assistance, for instance, or to direct the public to any specific NGOs. I rather sought to encourage the public to move forward constructively by finding their own way to support these migrating families who have risked their lives in search of a better future (towards constructive involvements); in other words, I were seeking to transform sudden ‘bursts of conscience’ into concrete altruistic behaviors and acts (in favor bottom-up actions).

Data visualization has the ability to influence and persuade its audience (for better or worse). This refers to a certain ‘cathartic’ power, closely tied to its inherent educational capacity and amazing incentive effect. Data designers (like any other) have an ethical responsibility to contribute to building an equal, harmonious and more human world. With this project, I hope to modestly contribute to this immense task, and in doing so act responsibly.

URL: http://www.davidbihanic.com/refugees














Data sources:

IOM (International Organization for Migration) — GMDAC (IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre), UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), HDX(The Humanitarian Data Exchange), WFP(World Food Programme) — ICMPD (WFP GeoNode; International Centre for Migration Policy), Reuters, United (European Network against nationalism, racism, fascism and in support of migrants and refugees), The Migrants’ Files (Journalism++ SAS, Journalism++ Stockholm, Dataninja), National Geographic, Esri, DeLorme, HERE, UNEP-WCMC (United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre), USGS (United States Geological Survey), NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), ESA (European Space Agency), METI (japanese ministry of economy trade and industry), NRCAN (Natural Resources Canada), GEBCO (General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans), NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), increment P Corp.

This data visualization was designed by David Bihanic (2016).

Conference presentation slides (in french) — Le Tank, a digital design agency and coworking space based in Paris.


* “Data Publics: Investigating the formation and representation of crowds, groups and clusters in digital economies”. Conference (speakers, workshop and exhibits) at Lancaster University, 31st March — 2nd April 2017 (http://datapublics.net / @datapublics / #datapublics) organized by Clara Crivellaro (Newcastle University), Joe Deville (Lancaster University), Daniel Richards (Lancaster University), Sebastian Weise (Newcastle University), and Louise Mullagh (Lancaster University / conference coordination and exhibition curation).

The conference was funded by the Digital Economy Network and the Data Science Institute (Lancaster University), with additional support from the Centre for Mobilities Research (Lancaster University), ImaginationLancaster, the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Digital Civics (Newcastle University), and the HighWire Centre for Doctoral Training (Lancaster University).

Download the program here

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