Ugly Christmas Sweater Uses Data, Instagram To Spread Awareness Of Wildfires In Spain

Proximity Spain, experts in data and how to use it, tapped in to the Christmas season to launch the Ugly Data Sweater initiative along with the NGO Reforesta to spread awareness of the devastating fires that swept through the country.

The fires in Spain devastated more than 300,000 hectares in 2022, making this the year the worst destruction in the past 25 years, according to the companies. As a reminder to take care of forests all year, Proximity and NGO Reforesta used the ugly sweater concept to send a message.

The message appears on the sweater, where snowflakes are fire, the fir trees have been burned to ashes and the reindeer flee from the flames. Each decorative element on the sweater has been designed based on the data surrounding the forest fires that occurred in Spain this year. For example:

  • The mountains represent a graph showing the evolution of forest fires in Spain during the past decade. 
  • Nine matchsticks mark the nine out of 10 fires that are thought to be caused by humans. 
  • 10 fir trees, five of which have been burned, reflect events in provinces like Zamora or León, which experienced their woodlands going up in flames. 
  • Several decorative borders comprising 463 dots mark the number of fires of more than 30 hectares that occurred in the country, according to the European Forest Fire Information System, of which 55 were large forest fires. 
  • And as reindeer vanish from the sweater, it serves as a reminder that thousands of animal lives were lost, yet no data exist. 



Those interested can read the data by scanning the sweater using the Instagram filter Ugly Data Sweater. Instagram and embedded technology allow those who purchase the sweater to scan certain points to see the related data about the devastating fires that swept through Spain in 2022.

Two elements are in the sweater, a QR code with the main information and technology that draws the data into the phone. It works like augmented reality that show information above the sweater. The data doesn't change. It is always the same data.

The data comes from the EFFI and the Spanish Ministry for the Ecological Transition between January 1 through November 1, 2022.

The limited-edition sweater is available for purchase, with all proceeds donated to Reforesta, a not-for-profit created in 1991.

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