This week, as the Digital Shoreditch festival draws to a close, a few of us from R/GA got the chance to attend an evening to talk with other London agencies and start-ups about data visualisation. We couldn't resist the urge to build a little something to take along.

The evening event, which was a bit of a mixer following a one day conference hosted by Digital Dumbo, took place at the CampusLondon in Shoreditch. Local creative companies were invited to create a data visualisation about some aspect of their company. There were interesting graphics exhibited by Moo, Carrot Creative and several others. We, however took the chance to make something which people could interact with.

The temptation was to engineer something very ambitious, but this was a quick project which we would need to pull together between other jobs, so we did our best to keep the idea simple.

The result was a rendering of the Instagram activity of R/GA-ers from offices around the world. Anthony built a simple web form which was circulated to all of the company asking for access to their Instagram photos. It also identified which of our offices they are based in and then went off to gather up the instagram content. A bit of harvesting later and we had a rich set of data which we could serve to a front-end via a simple API.

The front-end, built with HTML, JavaScript and Canvas by Pedro illustrated the geographical spread of the location of Instagram photos of people from each office. Plotting the distance between photo and office showed differing habits and characteristics at our different offices. It also made a fun slideshow of people's images.

Being able to touch the display to explore different offices and their photos brought people closer to the data, and it was interesting to watch them play.

Just an ad agency

I was a little surprised by a comment that I heard from several people.

"How come you are writing code? I thought you were just an ad agency."

It's nice to get a chance to dispel that myth and tell people about the products and platforms we build at R/GA. we create a lot with code, and sharing a tiny glimpse of that was lots of fun.