Design by SFEI

November 30, 2018 (All day)

In the fall of 2018, the RMP held its first ever Data Visualization Challenge. To promote new visualizations and insights, participants were directed to the millions of RMP water quality measurements that reside in a publicly accessible database ( The contest received a breadth of submissions - from high school students to established professionals - and after careful consideration, winners were selected based on predetermined evaluation criteria. 









1st Place - Kaveh Karimi Asli & Froggi VanRiper

Web tool concurrently showing water and fish tissue mercury data from the Bay over time 

"San Francisco Bay-area sediments and waterways have unusually high levels of mercury. Much of this is residue from the gold mining activities of the late 19th century, but new mercury enters waterways each year from industrial and municipal wastewater discharge. Fish living in contaminated waterways accumulate organic mercury in their bodies. When these fish are eaten, the mercury passes up the food chain, harming the human or animal that consumed the fish."

"This tool shows two data measurements in relation to one another: Mercury content of water samples, and average organic mercury content found in the tissues of four common fish species in the San Francisco Bay area. The data spans the years from 1994 to 2017. Purple dots on the map of San Francisco represent individual water samples tested in a given year. The darker the dot, the higher the mercury content of the sample. You can click on any individual dot to view the exact measurement. The chart inset in the lower left shows the range of organic mercury levels found in each fish species during that year, represented on top of a gradient of safety thresholds for consuming those fish."




2nd Place - Akshar Ramkumar

Jupyter notebook with interactive maps assessing the geographic and temporal patterns of pH, mercury, and select pesticides. 

"To understand the effects of pH in the bay, and to gain familiarity with the data, I started off by finding the correlation between the year and the acidity. Although over the years, the acidity has increased, it was by a minimal amount, and finding and analyzing the most acidic areas is most important. I plotted the data using plotly and basemap (separately), giving each data point its year and pH values. The datapoints are coloured based on their values."

"Next, to understand, Mercury, I found the correlation between the year and the acidity.  I graphed the data with plotly, after converting units to micrograms/liter.  I graphed the data with plotly again, after converting units to micrograms/liter. An unsafe amount of mercury in water is classified as 2 micrograms/liter, and none of the mercury measurements came close to this level. However, the San Joaquin River had consistently high measurements of mercury, at about 0.1 ug/L. There have also been articles concerning contaminated fish around these areas, flagging them for concern." 

"In order to get more insight into the bay as a whole, I searched up a list of concerning pesticides in the bay area at Then, I identified all of these pesticides that were in the dataset: 42. I took 3 especially bad pesticides [atrazine, paraquat, and glyphosphate] in the current results, and graphed them. Each of these three, bad pesticides showed up multiple times on the map...Overall, these conclusions are important to understanding the safety of Bay Area waters, and these tools allow for further investigation."

Map to Event: 
Programs and Focus Areas: 
Bay Regional Monitoring Program