Announcement - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Arctic Data Stories: Learn Data Visualization and Create Maps for Data-driven Policymaking

| Dec. 08, 2020

Map Showing warming as elevation

Showing warming as elevation demonstrates the disproportionate effect of climate change on the Arctic. Values represent projected 2040–2060 temperatures (RCP 8.5) minus 1880–1920. Data from KNMI Climate Explorer. Map by Greg Fiske/Woodwell Climate Research Center.

What to make of maps? How do we understand what information goes into creating them? How can we use them to craft better policy in the Arctic?

The Arctic Data Stories workshop will offer a low-stakes, fun environment for students with non-technical backgrounds to explore the interaction between geospatial data and policy. Thanks to partnerships between HKS' Arctic Initiative, the Woodwell Climate Research Center, and Esri, students will have a rare opportunity to interact with these organizations' experts in policy, climate science, data management, and mapping.

Over the course of several weeks, students will learn about topics in data visualization and policy, while gaining literacy in ArcGIS software. Throughout the workshop students will work in small groups to produce StoryMaps, web-based narratives that contextualize geography, while addressing specific policy questions in the Arctic. Topics covered include:

Storytelling and design principles: How to create an attractive, informative narrative

Intros to ArcGIS, remote sensing, and StoryMaps

Data sources and quality: Where to find information and whether to trust it

Data-driven policy: Maps, decision-making, and reflections from policymakers

Sessions will be held virtually on Fridays from 12–2 p.m. on February 5–26 & March 5, 2021. We ask that participants commit to attending all sessions when applying.

The application for this workshop is competitive, and space is limited. Students wishing to participate should fill out the form HERE

Students who apply by December 18, 2020 will be given preference for participation. Final applications are due no later than January 21, 2021 to fill any remaining slots

Questions? Please don't hesitate to reach out to Sarah Dewey ( or Brittany Janis (

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Janis, Brittany and Sarah Dewey.“Arctic Data Stories: Learn Data Visualization and Create Maps for Data-driven Policymaking.” Announcement, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, December 8, 2020.

The Authors