Best of the visualisation web… October 2012

At the end of each month I pull together a collection of links to some of the most relevant, interesting or thought-provoking web content I’ve come across during the previous month. If you follow me on Twitter you will see many of these items shared as soon as I find them.

Here’s the latest collection from October 2012:

The Guardian | Interactive slideshow about the ‘Rise of the Megacity’ | Interactive Slideshow

Views of the World | Some interesting cartograms showing the changing demographics of Germany | Article

Jerome Cukier | Jerome plots out the network of places in Games of Thrones across the series | Interactive Visualisation

Slate | ‘Why do people love to say that correlation does NOT imply causation?’ | Article

New York Times | Fantastic demonstration of how graphics can be used to support alternative viewpoints and political perspectives | Interactive Visualisation

MaRS Commons | Interview with Lisa Zhang, co-founder of Polychart | Interview

GigaPan | The hairball of hairballs! Huge network of the top 1,000 social media influencers in London | Interactive visualisation

mbostock’s blocks | A tidal wave of d3 samples and templates from the oracle himself, Mike Bostock | Collection | The Case for Designing – and Writing – by Hand | Article

Infosthetics | Conflict History: All Human Conflicts on a Single Map | Interactive Visualisation

The Functional Art | Alberto compiles his recommended reading list for his MOOC in Infographics and Data visualisatoin | Collection

Boston Globe | Wonderful device created by the Globe to show the intensity, subjects and flow of the US VP election debates | Interactive Visualisation

Perceptual Edge | 2012 Perceptual Edge Dashboard Design Competition: We Have a Winner! | Contest

Michael Babwahsingh | Michael discusses ‘how best to harness the power of visual thinking to achieve real results [in business]?’ | Article

New York Times | Over the decades, how have US State voting patterns shifted? | Interactive Visualisation

The Guardian | Venezuelan election results mapped for every public vote since Chavez took power | Interactive Visualisation

NPR | Great story about a prominent band of blue Democratic voting in an otherwise sea of red Republican, told through visualisation | Article

YouTube | Royksopp’s ‘Remind Me’: the video built entirely out of visualisation, infographics and diagrams | Video

The Guardian | Timeline of the key events surrounding the Eurozone crisis | Interactive Timeline

FastCo Design | A cellphone company’s elegant solution to confusing bills | Article

FastCo Design | The Data-Viz Story Behind Joy Division’s Legendary Album Cover | Article

Bryan Christie Blog | Bryan discusses ink drawings and infographics and a desire to do an infographic in ink | Article

Google | Fascinating slideshow of Google’s data centres | Slideshow

Slate | The Beauty of the Airline Baggage Tag | Article

Flowing Data | Tracking Homicides in Washington, D.C | Interactive Visualisation

Visual Loop | 40 must-see vídeos about data visualization and infographics | Collection

The Why Axis | Bryan critiques the ‘Google Consumer Barometer’ – does it deliver insight through visualisation?’ | Critique

Marian Dörk | Introducing ‘Pivot Paths’, an interactive visualisation for exploring faceted information resources | Visualisation Tool

Noun Project | An oldie, but a goodie – Icons for everything | Collection

TPM | The Guardian US’ Interactive Editor Is Trying To Do Visual News Differently | Interview

This isn’t F***ing Dalston | “After numerous arguments with mini-cab drivers and estate agents about what is and isn’t Dalston, I decided to do some research…” | Visualisation

Sheila Pontis | Transition times of information design | Article

Tableau | Introducing Tableau Public Premium (the artist formerly known as Tableau Digital) | Article

Data Remixed | Ben discusses the scope and value of different scenarios where the decision may be interactive visualisations vs. small multiples | Article

FastCo Design | The Home Automation Panel That’s Infographic Art | Ambient Visualisation

Michael Babwahsingh | Michael discusses ‘what good service means, and doesn’t mean, in the context of career paths and human behaviour’ | Article

Just Creative | 30 fonts to last a life time | Collection

BBC | Wonderful scrollable infographic from the BBC about the 50th anniversary of James Bond | Interactive infographic

Memoto | Introducing Memoto, the lifelogging camera | Video/Article | Making Pictographs? Choose Your Icons Wisely! | Article

Perceptual Edge | Control vs. the Illusion of Control: Which Works for You? | Article

The Guardian | New York’s carbon emissions visualised as giant spheres | Video

Eager Eyes | Robert’s VisWeek 2012 digest, Part 1 | Article

Infoworld | Fighting cancer with 3D big data visualization | Article

The Functional Art | Alberto discusses ‘Storytelling with infographics and visualization’ | Article

Harvard Business Review | We’ve heard it before but still… ‘Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century’ | Article

npolar | State of the Polar Bear – beautiful exploratory project to show the current population, habitat and threats to polar bears | Interactive visualisation

Google Books | Pretty much the full version of the foundation text ‘Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think’ by Stuart K. Card, Jock D. Mackinlay, Ben Shneiderman | Book

Google Maps | Showcase of Google Maps API ‘Data visualization is at the heart of the Google Maps API. Bring your maps to life with symbols, heatmaps, and more.’ | Interactive Visualisation

Ribmunk | ‘Reporter or artist’ – A survey & analysis of how different newspapers around the world work with infographics (in English and Danish) | Free Book/Article

Google Maps | Get a better view of natural geography with Google Maps | Article

National Infographic | Juan discusses the ‘Stylish Radial Chart’ – something many will agree and disagree with in equal measure I imagine | Visualisation

Urban Movements | Detecting Languages in London’s Twittersphere | Visualisation

Jerome Cukier | Materials from Jerome’s joint d3 tutorial at visWeek 2012 | Materials

YouTube | Microsoft Re-Designs the Ipod Packaging | Video

Felix Gonda | Immersive interactive view of the ‘Balance of Power’ in the congressional elections | Interactive Visualisation

Andrew Vande Moere | Evaluating the Effect of Style in Information Visualisation | Paper

Washington Post | Reflecting on the impact of the Frankenstorm Sandy | Infograhic

Twitter | Twitter’s political engagement map | Interactive Visualisation

FastCo Design | Infographic: The 2,000 Most Important Films Of All Time | Infograhic

Excel Charts | ‘Aesthetics be damned!’ | Article

Flowing Data | Browse elections data back to 1976 with Electionary app | Interactive Visualisation

Scientific American | A Defense of Artistic License in Illustrations of Scientific Concepts | Article

Presenting the top five most popular posts on Visualising Data during October:

Immersive web broadcast of the Red Bull Stratos mission – October 14th, 2012

Best of the visualisation web… September 2012 – October 29th, 2012

VisWeek updates by Jon Schwabish: Day 1 – October 16th, 2012

Ideology of the US Congress – October 29th, 2012

Check out ‘Parsons Journal for Information Mapping’ – October 23rd, 2012

Interviewed for the website

Following my recent visit to Johannesberg and Cape Town, I was interviewed by Gill Moodie for website, aimed at the Journalists of South Africa, to discuss ‘creating new kinds of stories with data visualisation’.

Many thanks to Gill for the conversation!

Reflections from Visualized conference

Back in August I shared details of the first ever ‘Visualized’ conference. The event has been taking place in New York over the past couple of days and so I wanted to share some quick reflections from what has been a fantastic event.

The thing that most attracted me about this event was a sense that it would offer a unique blend of different stories and design contexts. I prefer events that are going to introduce me to new ideas and inspirations, rather than being completely coterminous with my current experiences: a dominant feature of the Malofiej conference I was part of and thoroughly enjoyed back in March. It felt like an ideal supplement to the successful Eyeo Festival.

It didn’t disappoint. The variety and quality of work and ideas on show was terrific. It’s fair to say the balance of work being showcased was probably more on the creative, emotive and abstract end of the spectrum rather than the pragmatic and analytical side, but I was hoping for that.

It wasn’t just the quality of the speakers but the balance and the clustering of their talks. The agenda for the day was very straightforward but ultimately one of its key attributes was the schedule, fixed around rapid 20 minute, single message presentations which was, for me, the optimum speed, duration and frequency. The organisers clearly helped to shape the content with a strong focus on ideas above pitching – very refreshing and welcome.

Apart from missing a couple of the early talks, I did try to keep something of an account of the main themes and observations emerging from the day. Below is a storify widget of my main tweets as I’m sure you will want to relive them all over again! I would also recommend checking out the stream of Scientific American’s Jen Christiansen who did a great job of summarising the talks.

[View the story “Tweets from @visualized conference” on Storify]

Despite the significant logistical challenge posed to the organisers, speakers and attendees, there was very little visible impact and this is to the credit of those working incredibly hard behind the scenes to keep everything visibly smooth. In total I would predict there were maybe 300+ attendees across the two days, its hard to say, but there weren’t many empty seats, if that is a guide. Aside from the occasional technical challenge – an issue common to all events it seems – it was a perfect venue: the Times Center theatre was comfortable and ideally suited to such content.

All in all a wonderful event. Great to meet so many new and old friends, a terrifically attentive, respectful and positive atmosphere. This is an event that I hope will continue to have a frequent presence on the conference event calendar.

Visualising British railway openings (1812 – 2010)

I came a cross a nice project yesterday developed by Distilled for the that visualises nearly 200 year of railway openings across Britain.

Click image to open interactive version (via

This interactive/animated piece tells an interesting story about the industrial and economic dynamics of Britain from the industrial age to the modern day. The inclusion of key historical or social milestones is a useful device to learn about some of the key catalysts for growth or expansion.

The data is taken from a dataset compiled and published on the Guardian Datablog containing all of the rail stations currently operating in the UK. You’ll notice stylistic similarities with Derek Watkins ‘Posted‘ project (visualising expansion of post offices across the US), which is a piece the designers reference as being an inspiration.

You can read more about the background to the project here.