Video showing the navigation of the Friends in Space website

Created by Giorgia Lupi and Accurat studio, an information design firm, Friends in Space is an experimental digital social platform built to connect Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti on the International Space Station with the world below her.

Sample view of the Friends in Space website, showing the user’s position and Cristoforetti’s orbit

From November 2014 to June 2015, with the help of data collection and processing, the site maps out the user’s location relative to Cristoforetti’s location on the I.S.S., allowing the two individuals to say hello should one be right above the other, as well as allowing users to send greetings to fellow stargazers. It’s a really heartfelt and charming way to use data visualization, and the project enables a kind of emotional bond between Cristoforetti and the people she passes by – users are able to plan out their calendars to make sure they don’t miss the next time Cristoforetti will pass over them, and are able to view all of their datapoints regarding their interactions.

Giorgia Lupi

Giorgia Lupi herself is an Italian information designer residing in New York City, and the co-founder and design director at Accurat studio, who is most known for her work in the collaboration Dear Data, a continuous exchange of hand-drawn data visualizations with Stefanie Posavic. Lupi received her Masters of Architecture at Ferrara Architecture Faculty in Ferrara, Italy, and earned a PhD in Design at Politecnico di Milano.

The Friends in Space project can be found on Behance, and more information about Lupi and Accurat can be found on their website, Behance, and their respective Medium blogs.

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