Visualizing Offshore Foreign Direct Investments: The Atlas of Offshore

Michele Mauri, Ángeles Briones, Jonathan W. Y. Gray, Daniel Haberly, Chris Anderson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review

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Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), or controlling investments that cross national borders, is in many respects the backbone of globalization. However, a considerable part of it is composed of “paper” shell companies used for tax avoidance and other purposes. While it is possible to reconstruct chains of FDI positions, it is difficult to raise public awareness of the full scale and shape of the phenomenon, in terms of not only the countries or amounts of money involved, but also the high levels of uncertainty surrounding estimates of these figures. In this paper we introduce the Atlas of Offshore, a visual exploratory tool meant to enable domain experts and broader publics to explore offshore finance, with a focus on clearly showing the complex webs of relationships between countries involved. Starting from a variation of the “Sankey Diagram”, we propose a solution aimed at representing the topology of the network, the estimated size of investments, and the uncertainty surrounding these estimates. A prototype of the tool has been developed, testing the visual model with data describing the network of offshore investments for nine countries, enabling domain experts and others to obtain a new perspective on this issue.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDesign Culture(s) Cumulus Conference Proceedings Roma 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • data visualisation
  • uncertainty
  • visualisation
  • aesthetics
  • offshore
  • finance
  • foreign direct investment
  • offshore finance
  • economics
  • networks
  • design
  • information design

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