Data Expedition: Mapping the Garment Factories

Women sewing at long tables next to tall windows in a garment factory.

The horrific factory collapse at Rana Plaza in Dhaka has brought the business practices of global garment brands, as well their thousands of suppliers, into the spotlight.

At School of Data we noted that corrupt and missing data were part of the story. Data on building permits in Bangladesh is largely unavailable due to lack of state inspections. However, after years of pressure on global apparel brands from labor activists, the publishing of garment factory supplier lists is becoming increasingly standardized. We’re asking you to join us in mapping the data on garment factories.

Data Expedition: Mapping the garment factories 

When: Saturday May 25 – 12:00 BST to May 26 18:00 BST – link to your timezone

We’ll be looking for projects such as:

  • Mapping garment factories locally and globally

  • Exploring the global supply chain of garment export and imports

  • Mapping the ownership of local factories and global brands with open company data

  • Finding stories and patterns in the connections between global brands and local garment factories

Sign up here for the Data Expedition!

Please note that limited space is available. For more information about the Data Expedition format, we encourage you to read this article.

How can I participate?

There are several ways you can get involved:

  1. Data Wrangler? Offer to hold a hangout with a small group to introduce them to a particular tool or trick e.g. Basic Mapping, Data Collection techniques. As soon as the expedition starts, problems with data will start arising and we’ll need people to help guide people through. Sessions already proposed include mapping with TileMill and an introduction to working with Corporate Information.
    If you’re able to help out by offering a one hour introduction to a topic via Google Hangout (max 8 participants), simply add your name, skills and your availability during the weekend in this sheet.

  2. Lead a team! Are you able to help to coordinate a team on the day? This involves, helping your team to clarify a question they are answering and helping to shepherd them towards resources which could be useful to them and helping to ensure that they reach their final destination. The School of Data team will hold a specific hangout for team leads on Friday to prepare them for the weekend’s activities.

  3. Join the data collection squad! Before the expedition: Help us collect and clean the supplier lists in this GoogleDoc and join our GoogleHangout on Thursday, 23 May at 19:00 CET. Instructions and details can be found here.

  4. Participate! Join the investigation, the main part of the expedition which will take place on Saturday 25th May. We need storytellers, designers, engineers, scouts and analysts to make sense of the data and tell the real story.

Please make sure you are registered here and that you select “Mapping the Garment Factories” in the “I’m Interested in…” section. Please note: you will need to be available for at least 6 hours during the expedition period and spaces will be tightly limited, so preference will be given to those who can definitely commit to the expedition. Spaces will be confirmed later in the week.