Data visualization challenges present the opportunity to push our skills to the next level and do what we crazy data-types love to do best: play around with data (no, not something I usually bring up at dinner parties).

It’s interesting to see how others approach the same data challenge. Sometimes submissions are painful, some are solid, and some are downright sublime. We may not always fully understand the scoring criteria, and we may not always agree with the outcome, but we will definitely learn something in the process.

Today I found out that I won the Tableau Sports Viz contest with my dashboard showing the worst sports droughts in North America. (That officially means I am benefiting from other’s misfortune, by the way – sorry, Cleveland).

What did I win? The chance to duke it out with a couple fellow “Dataviz” enthusiasts at the upcoming 2012 Tableau Customer Conference in San Diego. In front of a crowd. With a timer. And some really big screens showing my every mouse click (even the stupid ones). I’ve never had to create a dashboard while others watched my every move, so it should be an interesting experience.

If you’re up for the challenge, and feel like spending a few late nights wrestling with some uncooperative data sets, here are a couple other contests that are on my radar (no onlookers to fret about with these ones):

1. Chandoo’s Visualize Excel Salary Data Challenge

  • Challenge: “analyze more than 1900 survey responses & present your results in a stunning fashion” (get the data here)
  • Cost to enter: Free
  • Winner gets: XBOX 360 & Kinect Bundle (valued at $299)
  • Deadline: July 6, 2012

2.’s Visualizing the London 2012 Olympic Games Challenge

  • Challenge: “Use data and design to visualize the Olympics, helping us understand and enjoy as we watch” (find your own data)
  • Cost to enter: Free
  • Winner gets: $3,000 (interactive submission), $1,500 (static submission), and $500 (people’s choice)
  • Deadline: July 27, 2012, 11:59 pm EDT
3. Many more data mining and predictive analytics competitions:


Best of luck!