Workshop Recap: Using Data to Tell Compelling Stories About Land | Land Portal

The Land Portal has been using data stories since 2019 as a way to demonstrate how combining data with engaging, memorable and persuasive narratives can empower communities to tell their stories to the world. 

In the workshop, “Using Data to Tell Compelling Stories About Land,” we featured winners of the 2021 Data Story Contest and their data stories as well as one of our data scientists. Panelists presented their data stories and shared their points of view with regards to writing and sharing an effective story.  

Dr. Konrad Hentze, a GIS expert at the Land Portal, began by sharing theoretical inputs about data and why data stories are key for the land sector. 

Data on land is sparse yet important. There is a lot of variety of data on land, security, and ownership, but people still struggle in using it to make a point or get central messages across. 

Dr. Hentze differentiated between three different data types that the Land Portal hosts: quantitative data, qualitative data and spatial data (which is by its nature often quantitative, but still important for us to be considered separately). However, the main question for all three types is: how do we communicate the data to recipients, donors, activists, and other interested parties?

The rest of the workshop was a discussion about data and storytelling amongst the winners of the 2021 Data Story Contest: 

Rapid Mapping of Areas Marked for Demolitions by Diana Wachira 

This data story was a very urgent reaction to a governmental plan that would have rendered about six informal settlements demolished in Kenya. And more than that it was that this land reposession plan came about at a time where Kenya had just gotten a lockdown order and the government had issued a curfew. It was the first time the country was experiencing COVID 19 pandemic. So at that moment was when we had our first eviction of an informal settlement in Nairobi and this eviction resulted in about 80,000 people being left homeless. 



Cambios Uso de la Tierra: Borde Sur Urbano-Rural Bogotà by Dr. Manuel Enrique Perez Martinez 

In the city of Bogotá (Colombia), the expansion of human activities associated with population growth to provide goods and services has intensified the use and change of rural landscapes. These complex processes have had repercussions on the alterations of terrestrial and aquatic systems at high magnitudes, intensities and scales, especially on the composition and dynamics of multiple ecosystems. 

My question was how to translate this scientific knowledge into a narrative. And I find this data story conveyed graphically the knowledge in a more direct way. I believe that data stories are a way for us to have a global dialogue about local data.  – Dr. Manuel Enrique Perez Martinez 

News from the Frontline: Resistance, Belonging and Territory by Dr. Auta Azevedo

We are a collective of female photographers in Brazil telling our own stories. 

We have never been a minority. We have been minoritized.  Of the urban population of underdeveloped countries, the favelados and faveladas of the global south represent an astonishing 78.2% of the population (DAVIS, 2006). In Brazil, more than 11 million people live in favelas (according to outdated IBGE data) but we have always been ostracized. We make up a collective that is mostly peripheral, with a view that does not come from numbers, but from our own experiences as women who carry the stigma built over our territory. The data we bring to tell our own version of this story illustrates our voices and visions of a community where we resist (unemployment, precarious living and working conditions, hunger of many residents, urban and domestic violence) in a collective way.”

About the Speakers


  • Dr. Konrad Hentze, GIS expert Land Portal, is interested in the use of GIS and Remote Sensing in the dispute of conservation, agricultural development and equal land rights. Currently, he is focussing on normative aspects and narratives within Geospatial analysis for interdisciplinary land science. 

  • Diana Wachira, Program Officer Pajoma Trust, is an urban and regional planner by profession, with a bachelor's degree from the University of Nairobi, having been trained in spatial and analysis software including SPSS, GIS, AutoCAD and Archicad as well as the MS Packages. DATA STORY: 

  • Auta Azevedo, Member of,is a Doctoral candidate of Anthropology, a member of MABI (Movement Breaking Invisible Barriers of Coque) and a member of (Coletivo de fotografas do Coque), as well as a popular feminist educator. 

  • Dr. Manuel Enrique Pérez Martinez, Professor at the University Javeriana of Colombia, holds a Doctorate in Territorial Studies from the Universidad de Caldas, as well as Master in Planning and Administration of Regional Development from the Universidad de Los Andes.

Watch the replay below or by clicking here



Related content: 

Share this page