October 28, 2022

Making data visible to highlight Flat Holm’s ecological mission

Making data visible to highlight Flat Holm’s ecological mission

The FabLab team have been working with CSAD senior lecturer Dr Jon Pigott to create interactive exhibits for Techniquest that help communicate the ecological work being undertaken on Flat Holm island. Jon and FabLab worked with Cardiff Council, Yard Data agency, Flat Holm’s ecologists and members of Cardiff Met’s School of Technologies to make the data gathered on the island’s wildlife visible, accessible and meaningful to the public.

The island, off the South Wales coast, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and home to one of the UK’s largest populations of black back gulls which, nationwide, are in decline.  Other than other gulls and birds of prey, the island is safe from their predators so it’s important to monitor their numbers along with those of many other plants and animals that live there.  The FabLab team therefore worked with Jon to make an interactive map of wildlife observed in each area of the island each day.  They also worked together using live streamed data to create an exhibit showing the islands ever changing weather conditions. To bring Jon’s designs to fruition the FabLab team used its CNC design and machining and laser cutting expertise.

Before finalising his display designs, Jon tested prototypes made in the FabLab with children from Mount Stuart Primary School. Getting their feedback was an essential - and fun - part of the process to make sure that the exhibits really did achieve the project’s objectives of engaging children’s curiosity about conservation and ecology issues.

The interactive map and live stream weather chart are now on show at Techniquest in Cardiff Bay - and are helping highlight the important work that Flat Holm’s ecologists are doing to protect and support the island’s wildlife.

Find out more about the work FabLab, Jon and the DAPTEC (Data Physicalisation Technology) project partners undertook here:-


Find out more about Flat Holm and the project’s aims here:-


Visit the DAPTEC project website is here: http://daptec.org  

This project was funded through the Welsh Government’s SMART Expertise programme which supports collaborations between research organisations such as Cardiff Met and industry to deliver positive Welsh economic impacts. For more information about Welsh Government’s collaborative funding programmes visit SMART Expertise | Business Wales - Expertise Wales (gov.wales)

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