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

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. This workshop targets students with and without prior experience in mapping, data visualization, and Arctic research. 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. You can view example StoryMaps on UnstableGround here

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 on Fridays from 12–2 p.m. from February 11 to March 11, 2022, on Zoom. We will host a final workshop at the Woodwell Climate Research Center in Falmouth, MA on March 26 and 27. We ask that participants commit to attending all sessions when applying. Limited travel funding for non-local students will be available. In-person participation will depend on COVID-19 University and local public health guidance. 

The application for this workshop is competitive, and space is limited to 15 students. Students wishing to participate should fill out the form HERE.

Students who apply by December 20, 2021, will be given a preference for participation. Final applications are due no later than January 14, 2022, to fill any remaining slots

Questions? Please don't hesitate to reach out to Nadezhda Filimonova ( or Daniel Bicknell (

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Bicknell , Daniel, Nadezhda Filimonova and Sarah Mackie.“Arctic Data Stories: Learn Data Visualization and Create Maps for Data-driven Policymaking.” Announcement, , November 17, 2021.

The Authors