Visualising Data is two – enter a celebratory training prize contest!

On February 5th 2010 I published my very first Visualising Data post, focusing on a rather poor quality 3D pie chart about the Liverpool vs. Tottenham game which had taken place a couple of weeks earlier. Strange then to think that two years later Liverpool and Tottenham are scheduled to clash again tomorrow and I’m *still* going on about 3D pie charts… Maybe I need to move on a bit with the depth and breadth of my analysis?

Anyway, it is great to reach this milestone and it is only possible because of all you thousands of ladies and gentlemen kindly visiting, reading, commenting, sharing and interacting with me and my content. I want to extend my sincere thanks to everyone for swinging by and sticking around and to mark the occasion I also want to launch a little prize contest.

A Contest!

As you will have seen (hard not to, I do keep banging on about it) I have a busy schedule of data visualisation training courses coming up over the next 6 months and beyond. Places are being snapped up at a very encouraging rate and so before any one of my events gets fully booked up I want to offer one lucky reader a place at any one of my scheduled locations completely free of charge.

Current Training Schedule

The current schedule of public events is listed below. In some cases the exact date and confirmed venues are yet to be finalised but these will be announced as soon as possible. If you don’t see a location to suit you, register your interest with Andy Kirk via email.

London Thu, 26th April 2012 Event details
New York City Fri, 11th May 2012 Event details
Washington Mon, 14th May, 2012 Event details
Baltimore Wed 16th May, 2012 Event details
Chicago Fri, 15th June, 2012 Event details
Toronto Mon, 18th June, 2012 Event details
Bristol Fri, 29th June 2012 Event details
Edinburgh Fri, 6th July 2012 Event details
Amsterdam Fri, 13th July 2012 Event details

Enter Now!

To enter, all you have to do is submit a comment against this post starting with the phrase “I would love to attend the [location name] training course because…” and explain why you would like to receive the training.

Don’t worry if you haven’t got the most tangible, noble or compelling reason because on Monday 13th February at 9am (GMT) I will do a random draw of all the submitted comments and pick one name out.

So, good luck to all who decide to enter and thanks again to everyone for their wonderful support!

Bio.Diaspora: Visualising interactions between populations and travel

I want to share some impressive work I’ve recently come across from a Toronto-based project/group called Bio.Diaspora. Last week the team was featured in the Lancet Infectious Disease Journal as part of a special report on Mass Gatherings and Health. The report focused specifically on the potential health risks posed by the mass gathering and transit of people attending events like the Olympic Games. You can find out more information about this story on the BBC and CBC, as well as through watching the animated visualisation below.

I got in touch with David Kossowsky, a GIS mapper, cartographer and graphic designer, to find out more about the work of Bio.Diaspora and some of the visualisations they have been working on.

This image shows a visualisation of the global airline transportation network consisting of all commercial flights worldwide.

While this image in its entirety does not necessarily provide information that can be used to assess an infectious disease threat, it does provide one with a greater understanding of how interconnected the world is due to air transportation, and how easy it is for some diseases to spread across very large areas in relatively short periods of time.

This image shows a similar visualisation with Toronto’s flight paths isolated and highlighted:

With the 2012 Olympic Games in London a key facet of their recent study, this next image shows direct flight paths out of London to the rest of the world.

This image can aid analysis by showing how many flights arrive from originating cities to a source city of interest. An image could also be created to show the opposite effect – how many destination cities a person is able to fly to from a potentially infected city or origin of interest.

This 3D bar map shows passenger volumes entering into Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

In order to better understand the risks involved around mass gatherings such as the Olympics, it is important to see not only where people are arriving from, but also the volume of passengers arriving. The base layer of this map shows an interpolation of global travel time into Vancouver. Because diseases vary in their latency periods, a person flying from one city to another may board an airplane infected but asymptomatic, and only develop symptoms while in the air or upon arrival at their destination city. By understanding the temporal nature of diseases, one can make better recommendations towards entry and exit screening at airports.

The final image shows travel out of Hong Kong to the rest of the world during the month of November, one of the world’s busiest air travel hubs.

With an overlay of both flight pathways and passenger volume intensity, one is able to see the zones which have the most passengers arriving from Hong Kong. The line chart at the bottom shows the monthly number of passengers leaving Hong Kong over a projected 12 year period. Interestingly, passenger volumes display consistent patterns in their seasonal growth and decline over time. Even when a major event impacts travel, patterns return to their normal ways after a fairly short period of time.

So how were these visualisations created?

All images were created with ESRI’s ArcGIS suite, and edited through Adobe Creative Suite. For the flight lines, raw flight data was obtained and processed, and the flight paths were calculated through Python scripting. The Bio.Diaspora technical team now focuses much of their time on web application development. We are also exploring other methods of data visualization, specifically 3D interactive techniques created in Processing and alternative ways of displaying data with and without the use of geographic maps.

If you want to find out more about Bio.Diaspora’s work, visit their site or follow them on their new Twitter account.