Public discourse on the Arctic is often passionate, but rarely well informed.  Stereotypes and anecdotes dominate, rather than hard data. While deep local knowledge exists on the state of the Arctic, its peoples, and its frontier regions, it is not easily available to the public, nor is it presented in a visual format to aid identification of positive trends or emerging challenges. Professional social scientists lack mechanisms for empowering citizen scientists with intuitive direct access to their Arctic research, for popular self-learning and for social sharing of those lessons.

Local and international stakeholders alike would better know the true condition of Arctic frontier regions, and better place these regions’ changing context over time if publicly available quantitative and qualitative comparative data were collected, compiled, and presented on-line via accessible and interactive visualizations.

This Barents data portal pools public data and builds on data engines to generate an embeddable Barents data visualizations, equipped with tools for uploading new datasets and creating visual data displays, and matched with weekly reporting from representative Barents communities.  We have drawn lessons from the Arctic Social Indicators report and leverage existing efforts to compile Arctic data at the county-equivalent (NUTS3) level, including the Community Climate Change Survey, SEARCH, AON-SI, and H3l projects, while layering in additional series of publicly available physical and social scientific data.

The project is a unique effort to match emerging tools for popular data visualization and community centered data journalism with public county-equivalent scientific data on the Arctic. Ultimately, the aim is to empower citizens with the tools to learn and share more about their own community and to place their community into the context of intuitively similar and dissimilar places nationally and across borders.

We center on the Barents region: Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Northwest Russia at the county level, but our aim is for this pilot project to generate lessons that might then inform subsequent larger pan-Arctic efforts in data journalism and intuitive sharable visualization of public data.