‘Kindred Britain’ maps 30,000 people in British history

A fantastic new visualisation work has been released today titled ‘Kindred Britain‘. Created by Nicholas Jenkins and Elijah Meeks of Stanford University in partnership with Scott Murray (amongst others) the project offers a deep, exploratory interface into a network of nearly 30,000 key figures in British culture connected through ‘family relationships of blood, marriage, or affiliation’. As the designers describe, ‘it is a vision of the nation’s history as a giant family affair’.


The site itself will do far more justice to the mechanics of the visualisation but the basic idea is that you can explore the relationships between key figures in British History. With 30,000 nodes there exists a potential 897 million different paths through the network. One way to interact with the contents is to search for and isolate a key figure then drag them over another one to establish their network of connections and relationships.


As well as the network view you also have a ‘Gantt chart’-type timeline view of the applicable individuals and a map view providing a geographical narrative.


Aside from serendipitously finding interesting people, you can use the menus across the top to short-cut your selections based on curated views and popular selections: most viewed, professions, families, firsts and lasts, notable combinations and key stories.

This is one of the deepest visualisation undertakings I’ve seen for a long time and the creators have done an incredible job providing a route into this fascinating subject matter. There is an exquisite balance between the elegance and clarity of the design and the preservation of the weight and multi-faceted complexity of the content.

Amongst many great features, one of the most important and impressive is the care for the reader’s experience. Rather than over-simplify this project, diluting its essence, instead there is a respect for the reader demonstrated by a great level of annotated assistance and insight. Nowhere is this better shown than the welcome windows that introduce the project, describe the basic interactive functions used to explore the site and explain the colour palettes and important visual keys.


Beneath this you have so much more detail about the project, including extensive user guides, project FAQ’s, glossaries and a super account of the design challenge by Scott.

A wonderful project, congratulations to all involved and do spend some time exploring it.

Best of the visualisation web… July 2013

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. Here’s the latest collection from July 2013.


Includes static and interactive visualisation examples, infographics and galleries/collections of relevant imagery.

The Guardian | A visual history of the great rivalry between England and Australian cricket

NYC Henge | Map showing the locations on Manhattan to view the unique natural phenomena of the so called ‘Manhatten Henge’

BBC | ‘Where can I afford to live?’ interactive project

Flickr | Project to draw vector river maps across the US

GED VIZ | Visualisation to show the flow of trade, migration and bank claims across up to 46 major economies

Visual Loop | Inside view: The 12 Brazilian stadiums infographic series

WNYC | Transit Time NYC: Pick a start point and see subway travel times to everywhere else in NYC

Zeit | Long form multimedia article with visualisations about the 100 years of the Tour de France

New York Times | A Nation of Wineries

UX Blog | ‘A Breathing Earth’

SCMP Graphics | Nice infographic about aviation accidents

Half Tone | A project to visualisation global land temperatures

Business Insider | ‘This Cool Visualisation Shows The Growth Of Midtown Manhattan Over 165 Years’

Lab Rat Revenge | Detailed visualisation of the age of buildings Portland, Oregon

bklynr | Block by Block, Brooklyn’s Past and Present

New York Times | ‘Finding the quiet city: Even in noisy New York, pockets of peace exist’ – here’s where they are (or were before this ruined everything!)

Aviz | ‘This page groups the effort of the AVIZ team in better understanding and communicating sport data, and since we are European, we work with soccer’

wnstnsmth | Global oil production and consumption since 1965

Issuu | 100 days in data visualisations Luc van Kan: ‘A hunt for the borders between the informative and artistic in data visualisation’

Statlas | ‘Baseball’s best pitchers light up New York City’

SCMP | Adolfo Arranz’s infographic about the invasion of green algae in the seawaters off eastern Shandong, China.

New York Times | ‘Riding the New Silk Road’ – interactive story/map shows the story of the network of routes called the ‘Silk Road’ that connected Europe and Asia

GI Centre | ‘Chaos and structure’: Data from over 20 million journeys made with the London Cycle Hire Scheme are used to feed an animation of our bicycle movements across London.

Boston Globe | Geographic advantages in Boston mayoral race

imgur | Bechdel test charts

NZZ | Great series of daily maps produced by Interactive Things for NZZ (July > August)

Social Media Examiner | This is every shade, every kind and every pixel of wrong. Enjoy.

Creators Project | Baseball Stats Are Converted Into An Interactive iPad Sculpture

Kickdex | Visualising the perfect ‘assist’ in football

Tulp Interactive | Visualising the creative industry in Amsterdam

New York Times | In Climbing Income Ladder, Location Matters


The emphasis on these items is that they are less about visualisation images and are more article-focused, so includes discussion, discourse and interviews

Eager Eyes | How The Rainbow Color Map Misleads

Atlantic Cities | ‘The Visual Signature of Your City’ featuring Lev Manovich’s Photo Trails

Periscopic | An entirely legitimate critique of a flawed Harvard Business Review article

Business Week | Can You Measure Design’s Value?

The Guardian | How algorithms rule the world

YouTube | …and here’s the related video: ‘How algorithms shape our world’ by Kevin Slavin

Computer World | Tech hotshots: The rise of the dataviz expert

Eager Eyes | Conference report: Tapestry 2013

Data Remixed | ‘Remixing it up in New York’, presentation from Ben Jones about the data discovery process in Tableau

The Why Axis | ‘The Ups and Downs of Gravity from Disqus’

Gestalten | ‘Felton shares his wisdom on data visualization, articulates the history and catalyst effect of his “Feltron” reports, and of course, reveals the appeal of working at Facebook’

If We Assume | Data or art?

Tow Center | Great article from Nick Diakopoulos about the ‘rhetoric of data’

ProPublica | Explore Sources: A New Feature to “Show Our Work”

Smashing Magazine | All That Glitters Is Not Gold: A Common Misconception About Designing With Data

Stories Through Data | How do we judge the resonance of data visualisations?

Visual Loop | Diagrama: the great Brazilian infographic experiment

The Independent | Heroes of Zeroes: Nate Silver, his rivals and the big electoral data revolution

Visually | The Federal Budget, Visualized: Death and Taxes 2014

Fast Company | Eric Schmidt: Do What Computers Aren’t Good At

BBC Academy | Data journalism: the important difference between transparency and clarity

Flowing Data | Datalandia, the fictional town saved by data

Conradiator | ‘New kinds of literacy, and the world of visual information’

Data Remixed | Holy Mackerel, Uncertainty Matters!

Quartz | Most data isn’t “big,” and businesses are wasting money pretending it is

Charts’n’things | Winning: describing an uplifting encounter with a reader of a graphic

Cooper | Designer’s Toolkit: Road Testing Prototype Tools

Learning & Development

These links cover presentations, tutorials, learning opportunities, case-studies, how-tos etc.

Giorgia Lupi | Process narrative for the Accurat, Visually and Ben Willers project visualising the ‘startup universe’

BizWeekGraphics | The tortuous road to a McDonald’s infographic

Vimeo | Updated collection of videos from Eyeo festival 2013

Velir Blog | Excellent demonstration of visualising data uncertainty with D3

Ghostweather | Slides from Lynn’s talk at OpenvisConf: ‘Analysis of Fiction’

Visually | Collection of web-based colour tools

Poynter | How to visually explore local politics with network graphs

MapBox | Mapping millions of dots

Nature | Data visualization: A view of every Points of View column (Lynn Cherny has compiled the collection here: http://t.co/Kg8P7RL3uI, free until end of August)

Source | Drawing conclusions from data: what doesn’t a Twitter map show?

Udacity | New Course: The Design of Everyday Things

Worrydream | References to accompany the talk “The Future of Programming”

The Functional Art | Designing infographics with Adobe Illustrator

Subject News

Includes announcements within the field, brand new sites, new (to me) sites, new books and generally interesting developments.

SCMP Graphics | New site collating all the South China Morning Post graphics work in one place

MapBox | Coming soon, ‘Real Time Imagery via MapBox Satellite Live’

Tableau | Tableau online heads to the cloud

Munsell Color | Newly discovered site: ‘Munsell color’, providing fantastic colour resources

Random and miscellaneous

Any other items that may or may not be directly linked to data visualisation but might have a data/technology focus or just seem worthy of sharing

@SciencePorn | ‘There are more people living in the circle than outside of it.’

BBC | Video: How do you work out the size of a crowd?

CR Blog | The Sound of London

StoryMaker | ‘StoryMaker is an open source app that enables existing and aspiring journalists all over the world to produce and publish professional-grade news with their Android phone’

UX Blog | Great article by John Nelson about Tilt-shift photography

Tilt-shift Maker | …and here’s a tilt-shift maker

Slate | ‘Save the movie!’ – The 2005 screenwriting book that’s taken over Hollywood—and made every movie feel the same.

The Onion | Print dead at 1,803

YouTube | ‘Porn Sex vs Real Sex: The Differences Explained With Food’ – May not be great to watch in work Especially if eating lunch. Especially if you’re eating any combination of frankfurters, bananas or Nutella.

imgur | Analysis of the significance of colour usage in movie posters

artFido | Photographic Series Showing What 200 Calories Looks Like in Different Foods

Issuu | Sketches of science: photo sessions with Nobel Laureates

I Write Like | ‘Check which famous writer you write like with this statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of the famous writers.’

FastCo Design | Watch: A Music Video That’s Also A Wry Critique Of Infographics

Interested in working on clinical outcome visualisation project?

Dr Tony Rousmaniere PsyD is Associate Director of Counseling at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Student Center for Health and Counseling. Tony has been in touch to share details of some help is seeking from people with data visualisation skills to help work on a fascinating dataset around the clinical outcomes of psychotherapy cases. Let me start off by clarifying that this would be pro-bono work but it will be an excellent opportunity for designers looking for chance to practice on an important, real dataset and it may lead to some valuable media exposure.

Tony sent me the following outline with the hope of attracting somebody out there to get in touch with him to offer support. If you are interested please email Tony Rousmaniere at tgrousmaniere@alaska.edu.


I am a psychotherapist based in Alaska. We use clinical outcome measures to track the effectiveness of our psychotherapy. We have a few years of outcome data, including over 150 clients. This data shows how clients improved, stayed the same, or deteriorated, week-to-week. The data also shows weekly changes in critical issues like suicidality, social problems, etc.

Our goal is to collaborate with a data visualisation artist to present this data so that it is meaningful to the public: to help potential patients understand how effective psychotherapy is, how long it takes to feel better, the chance of not feeling better, the per-session cost/benefit of psychotherapy, etc. This project is about advancing patients’ rights to information.

A secondary goal is that the data will also be useful for public policy-makers in terms of understanding the cost-effectiveness of psychotherapy, when compared to medications, etc.

This project is about making health care data available and meaningful to the public, an important aspect of Health Care Reform. The field of Health Care Reform is very hot right now, and only increasing in importance as health care costs skyrocket and Obamacare is enacted.

We expect that this project will be appealing to popular media, and we aim to publicise it. For example, we expect internet news outlets to pick up this story and show the data visualisation. Blogs related to health care, patient’s rights, and health care reform will also be interested.

Data visualisation skills in the field of health care data will likely soon become a highly sought-after specialty, as consumers and payers become increasingly demanding of cost-effective and efficient treatments. This project is an opportunity to be an early player in this field.

We are a small Counseling Center at a University in Alaska. We do not have funds for this project, so we are looking for an artist to collaborate with on a pro-bono basis. We are hoping that the opportunity to education and empower the public, and gain media exposure as an artist, will be enough incentive for collaboration.

We are also open to other artistic uses of the data, as long as it enhances public understanding of psychotherapy. For example, the data could be used to artistically describe the subjective experience of being in psychotherapy or being a therapist (week by week).

Once again, you can more information about this work on my website www.drtonyr.com and do get in touch via email tgrousmaniere@alaska.edu should you be interested in offering your services.

Moving to central Alaska is not a requirement for this project, but if you like wildlife, you’re welcome to visit!”

Essential Resources: Tools and references for working with colour

The contents of this post are now published on the interactive Resources page

Video: ‘What color is a Glacier?’

Just a short post to log and share a really nice video. Titled ‘What Color is a Glacier?‘, it is a submission for a student context run by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), a ‘nonprofit organization of geophysicists, consisting of over 61,000 members from over 146 countries’.

The challenge was to create videos that: 1) highlight an aspect of Earth and space science in an entertaining way for a non-scientific audience; 2) tell an autobiographical story of an interesting geophysical career path; or 3) perform a song or skit on Earth or space science subjects. With the contest closed (other entrants here) I thought I would share the video that really struck a chord with me, particularly as I’m currently deep into colour related theory and practice.

What I like about this is the recognition that an object or entity we believe to have a certain colour actually, when viewed through different perspectives, can be perceived to exist with a range of different colours.