ITP Blog

Data Art - Week 9: Earth Cancer


Humans are most empathetic towards fellow humans more than other beings or objects, as they can relate to their experiences. So what if objects were made from the same material that humans are made up of, would we be more empathetic towards it?

Environmental health is something that humans sometimes chose to ignore and don't really understand the repercussions. This idea uses pollution data to visualize tumor tissue on the globe, suggesting the intensity of health risk involved in the area.

We would be getting the live data for AQIUS (Air Quality Index United States standard) which is a number used by western government agencies to communicate to the public how polluted the air currently is or how polluted it is forecast to become. As the AQI increases, an increasingly large percentage of the population is likely to experience increasingly severe adverse health effects. Different countries have their own air quality indices, corresponding to different national air quality standards. Some of these are the Air Quality Health Index (Canada), the Air Pollution Index (Malaysia), and the Pollutant Standards Index (Singapore).



  1. Create 3D sphere for web browser that can be mapped with Geo-location co-ordinates. (

  2. Get 'Air Quality Index' data (
  3. Get GPS co-ordinates for major cities around the world (
  4. Map the data onto the 3D sphere (
  5. Create and map smaller spheres onto the co-ordinates, assign diameter based on AQIUS value.
  6. Create texture maps for the earth and tumor spheres.
  7. Host on a webpage. (Earth Cancer)


Developer & Data Analysis: Wenqi Li

Illustrator & Concept Development: Nitish Wakalkar