Migrant deaths and disappearances in the Mediterranean by Naledi Hollbruegge

After the North African/European refugee situation had been in the news for several years, it slowly disappeared from the media. In early 2020, I wanted to raise awareness that even though we might no longer see these stories in the news, people were still dying on their way to Europe. There was, and is, still a problem to solve.

The missing migrants project (https://missingmigrants.iom.int/#:~:text=The%20Missing%20Migrants%20Project%20dataset,lives%20lost%20during%20migration%20worldwide.) does an amazing job at collecting and openly sharing important data on migrants that have gone missing or have been certified to have died and I used their data to create this visualisation.

Missing migrants assigns a location classification for different parts of the Mediterranean but no spatial files to show these. So I used Alteryx to group the locations for all the incidents and create outlines to indicate the span of these regional classifications.

I then used Mapbox to visualise these regions and create a map that was both realistic (to communicate that these are not just abstract data points) and dark (to strike the right tone for this tragic topic).

I then used this map in Tableau to create the final visualisation. Visualisations of migration can problematically reduce these real human struggles to emotionless data. So the tone of the visualisation, with the right colour and font choices was important to me. It can be difficult to strike the balance between showing the overall scale of the impact while not losing the individual stories out of sight, so I included the link to the original article for each data point from which Missing Migrants created the data (the link appears when clicking a point). These articles provide pictures and context to humanise each of these dots.