Behind the dashboard at the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition
About a month ago the team over at iFormBuilder contacted us about an opportunity to build a real-time dashboard for the 2013 National CyberWatch Center Mid-Atlantic Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC). Naturally, we jumped at the opportunity (they had us at "real-time"). The event challenged cyber defense students to ward off the attacks of expert hackers seeking to disrupt electronic voting systems during a mock-election.
The iFormBuilder team provided eight voting Kiosks, where citizens could swipe identity cards using Socket Scanners and cast their votes on an iPad. The data was collected using iForm Kiosk and presented to participants using big board TVs and Klipfolio Dashboard.
Building the dashboard
The easy part of building this dashboard was connecting to iFormBuilder. Once we connected to iFormBuilder, the votes collected at the kiosks would be automatically added to the records so the data source would always contain the latest results. Our challenge, in terms of building the dashboard, was counting the votes up and organizing them according to candidate to show election results as they streamed in.
Each time someone cast a vote, that vote was entered into the data as a new record. Since the results were recorded consistently, counting and organizing the votes was very straightforward. So if you voted for Naifeh Dynasty's candidate for president, the record would show naifeh_dynasty in the corresponding entry.
To count all these entries, we used the COUNTIF function to set up a simple condition, and if that condition evaluated to true, it would count all those results. Since there were 6 options on each issue on the ballot, we nested each COUNTIF within an ARRAY function. Here's what it looked like in the Klip Editor:
The last thing we had to do was provide information about the candidates, since the above formula only spit out the number of votes for each candidate. For that bit, we simply hard-coded the candidate's name, party, and image in an ARRAY function for each respective column. Since there were 8 districts and a national race on the ballot, we had to create a 9 Klips. Here's what the presidential race Klip looked like:
In chatting with the team at iFormBuilder after the event, it became clear that even though the dashboard was a relatively small part of the competition (given this was a cyber defense challenge), the dashboard quickly became a focal point for monitoring results. Not only did it provide spectators with a real-time dashboard to view results as they streamed in, it also allowed the judges to compare voter turnout compared to the number of registered voters.
It's something we talk quite a bit about around here, but exposing data using a dashboard on a big board TV is a sure-fire way to pique the interest of your audience. If the data is visible, people are more inclined to use that data in decision making and take an interest in what the data is telling them. Learn how to display your dashboard on a big board TV.
Watch this short video to see the iFormbuilder-Klipfolio integration in action.