[This is a guest post by David Garcia Fernandez* about his visualization project “Everest, Adventure or Business?”]
A few months ago I developed a project about Mount Everest in which I wanted to research the impact of overcrowding in this region. As a supporter of mountain sports, I have seen in the press, Internet and television how the number of climbers and tourists has increased substantially every year.
The region has experienced a severe earthquake just as the climbing season started and among the missing people are a significant amount of tourists. Last year there was an accident in which 16 sherpas died. This tragedy led me to start some research about the current state and the relationship between the adventure of climbing the highest mountain around the world and the business built around it. So I decided to develop Everest, Adventure or Business.
Stages and challenges
The information gathered had to be in order and related in sequence to develop an engaging story about the situation in the region; so the decision was made to create two groups. On the one hand, data related with ascents and routes and how that was related with the time. On the other hand, data related with the expenditure and controversial issues such as fatalities, environment and the business around this region and its mountains.
Finally, this graphic illustrates how data was connected.
In the routes section users can navigate through a timeline with all the routes opened throughout Everest´s history and they can see a 3D motion graph which shows the pathway of the route selected.
The statistics section shows the climbing tendency and how it has increased dramatically in the last 20 years. It can see the effect of the crash of 2008. Moreover, users can filter the three parameters analysed in order to compare data throughout the years. Furthermore, there is significant evidence that the two first routes opened have been the most crowded paths and May is the month selected for climbers to make an ascent to the mountain.
The expenses section illustrates the rise of commercial routes in the last 20 years compared to the non-commercial routes. Moreover, we can see how the climbing taxes have increased since the first of January of 2015 in order to raise money. The climbing fees continue to remain the highest expenditure for this expedition.
The controversy section shows some evidence about the effect of global warming, since the size of the glacier decreased significantly. Moreover, the use of oxygen has risen due to the access of everybody (climbers and non-climbers) and the increase of commercial agencies. Finally, it can see that the percentage of deaths is higher due to accidents rather than physical problems.
*David Garcia Fernandez is a motion grapher at RTVCM (Spanish public television) since 2001. He is currently researching in fields such as data visualization, interaction design and user experience. You can follow him on Linkedin.