Best of the visualisation web… February 2016

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 February 2016.

Visualisations/Infographics

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

Benitez_Vogel | ’50 3D printed data sculptures made from game data from each of the 50 Professional Football Championship Games (1967 – 2016)’

Polygraph | ‘Crowdsourcing the Definition of “Punk”‘

Explorable Explanations | ‘Explorable Explanations is… a totally unorganized “movement” of artists, programmers, and educators who make things & tools for active learning.’

Nesta | ‘A Top 30 skills chart’

Jill Pelto Art | Collection of artistic portrayals from Jill that portray scientific data

Washington Post | ‘How the economy is doing this month’

Dinfografia | ‘5 great data visualisation pieces from outside the newsroom’

Road to Larissa | ‘Minute by Minute Point Differentials of 2015 NBA Games’

Washington Post | State-by-State caucus election results

YouTube | ‘Network Earth: The world is a complicated place… How can we ever hope to understand and predict the complexity of our mulit-networked world? New research may have the answer.’

Crime in Mexico | Up-to-date crime information from Mexico (as you might have gathered)

Mode Analytics | ‘Do Brand Colors Translate to Instagram?’

New York Times | ‘Gravitational Waves Detected, Confirming Einstein’s Theory’

Subspotting | ‘The Subspotting project captures, maps and visualizes the available cell phone reception in the entire New York City Subway’

Multiviz | ‘Informative Scales Corpus: A collection of Informative Scales found on the internet and classified into a corpus.’

Economics & Statistics Administration | ‘Visualizing Atmospheric Rivers’

Medium | ‘What Does Data Sound Like?’

New York Times | An interesting blend of words and visuals in this brief history of the Super Bowl

Information is Beautiful | ‘Based on a True True Story? Scene-by-scene breakdown of Hollywood films’

ODI | ‘Britain’s diet in data’

Table Top Whale | ‘Here there be robots: A medieval map of Mars’

New York Times | ‘How Much Warmer Was Your City in 2015?’

Guardian | ‘Who’s winning? Find out how your income compares with every other generation’

Information is Beautiful | ‘The Hollywood In$ider: Visualization explorer for every major film 2008-2015’

FT | ‘Global trade: structural shifts’

iVisualize | ‘Learning Kanji with Tableau’

Flowing Data | ‘Million to One Shot, Doc. All the things that get stuck.’

Truth & Beauty | ‘Open Systems Wall Display: Visualising network security situations in real time’

New York Times | ‘The Cold Hard Math of How Trump Can Win, and How Rubio Can Stop Him’

Vox | ‘The NFL’s virtual first-down line, explained’

FiveThirtyEight | ‘The Race To The Oscars’

krisztinaszucs | ‘Find out how best picture nomination affects the profit (1982-2015)’

Vox | ‘Today’s teens _ _ _ _ _ less than you did’

SCMP | ‘What color is Oscar?’

Al Jazeera | ‘Where would 10.8 million displaced Syrians fit?’

New York Times | ‘Supreme Court Nominees Considered in Election Years Are Usually Confirmed’

FT | ‘The FT’s one-stop overview of key economic data, including GDP, inflation, unemployment, the major business surveys, the public finances and house prices’

Interactive Things | ‘Galaxy of Covers’

Massvis | ‘MASSVIS consists of over 5000 static visualizations of which over 2000 contain visualization type information, and hundreds of these visualizations have extensive annotations, memorability scores, eye-movements, and labels’

Articles

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

HBR | ‘How to Make Extreme Numbers Resonate’

SA Visual | ‘Data Visualization Advice for Scientists’

Our Origins | Nice interview with Allison McCann, Visual Journalist at FiveThirtyEight

Junk Charts | ‘Showing three dimensions using a ternary plot’

Signal vs. Noise | ‘Data scientists mostly just do arithmetic and that’s a good thing’

PolicyViz | ‘Disclosure Rules for the Data Visualization Community’

Medium | ‘How that map you saw on FiveThirtyEight silences minorities, and other reasons to consider a cartogram.’

Virostatiq | Description of the project that won the ‘Malofiej24 Award 2016 for Best Map in printed media’

Evergreen Data | ‘Scratch-Off Graphs’ – really nice idea!

Medium | ‘Some things I learned about data-driven storytelling in Schloss Dagstuhl’

Hi.Stamen | ‘Visualizing the Past, Building Tools for the Future: Designing an Interactive Atlas of American History’

Medium | ‘What Makes Software Good?’

Learning & Development

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

Slack | The ‘Stories With Data’ slack community

Udacity | Free course: ‘Data Visualization and D3.js: Communicating with Data’

Data Basic | ‘DataBasic is a suite of easy-to-use web tools for beginners that introduce concepts of working with data.’

Ann K. Emery | ‘Will you present the data as-is, or tell a story?’

Tableau | ‘How to Use Custom Shapes as Filters on Your Dashboard’

Medium | ‘Introducing Vega-Lite’

By Data Be Driven | ‘Measuring Daily Word Count To Write A Novel’

PAldous | ‘Network analysis with Gephi’

Twitter | ‘Rules for visual storytelling (2016 edition), by @archietse at #malofiej24’

Lena Groeger | Lena’s typically great presentation slides from her talk at Malofiej 24 – ‘Seeing the Error of Your Ways’

Ted | ‘Andrew Stanton: The clues to a great story’

Aviz | ‘What are graph comics?’

Subject News

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

ABC Interactives | New Site (to me): ‘Updates from the ABC News Interactive Digital Storytelling team.’

Amazon | New Book: ‘Data at Work: Best practices for creating effective charts and information graphics in Microsoft Excel (Voices That Matter)’ by Jorge Camoes

Flowing Data | ‘The Daily Mail Stole My Visualization, Twice’. Vile cretins.

Malofiej | The full list of award winners at the prestigious 24th Malofiej event

Randal Olson | ‘Revisiting the vaccine visualizations’

Medium | ‘Searching for examples Announcing blockbuilder.org’

Amazon | New Book ‘Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends’, by Martin Lindstrom

The Graphical Web | Announcing the 2016 event taking place 1st to 4th November 2016 at the Met Office in Exeter (UK)

Sundries

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

Fonts in Use | ‘An independent archive of typography.’

Slate | ‘NASA Releases Gorgeous Retrofuturistic Space Travel Posters’

Bentley University | ‘2016: Year of the ‘Hybrid Job”

PBS | ‘Why Children Still Need to Read (and Draw) Maps’

One Perfect Shot | ‘The last thing you see: The impact of films’ final frames

Business Insider | ’20 cognitive biases that screw up your decisions’

Fortune | ‘Days of Counting Pageviews and Unique Visitors Are Over’

Vox | ‘It’s not you. Bad doors are everywhere.’

Viki | ‘Wikipedia, better than ever—on iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Discover the world and enjoy beautiful typography with this sleek app.’

Microinteractions | ‘The origins of famous microinteractions’

Twitter | ‘data viz on data viz. yep I’m watching you’

lexiconjure | ‘Dictionary of Invented Words & Definitions’

Twitter | ‘Just your average friday in the vizzuality office’

Best of the visualisation web… January 2016

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 January 2016.

Visualisations/Infographics

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

Simon Scarr | ‘A look back at 2015’

Bloomberg | ‘Cashing in on Crossovers’

Wall Street Journal | ‘After 7 Years of Slow Growth, U.S. Now Sees More of Same’

Washington Post | ‘At ‘State U.,’ a surge of students from out of state’

Flowing Data | Nathan continues the ‘death’ trilogy with ‘Causes of Death’

Flowing Data | and then concludes it with ‘How You Will Die’

Polygraph | ‘Crowdsourcing the Definition of “Punk”‘

FT | ‘Djokovic’s 2015 was the greatest ever men’s tennis season’

Dueling Data | ‘An analysis of The Beatles’

Interactive Things | Love this ‘Interactive Things brand guidelines’

Citylab | ‘A Map of Global Nuclear Weapons Brings ‘WarGames’ into the 21st Century’

Density Design | ‘Migration backstage’

roadtolarissa | ‘Minute by Minute Point Differentials of 2015 NBA Games’

Martin Grandjean | ‘Network visualization: mapping Shakespeare’s tragedies’

Jill Hubley | ‘New York City: Greenhouse Gas Emissions’

NYPL | Explore over 187K digital items released in to the public domain by the New York Public Library

Washington Post | ‘State of the Union:
Obama’s greatest hits’

FiveThirtyEight | ‘Our 47 Weirdest Charts From 2015’

Visual Loop | Some beautiful Star Wars infographics from Alfredo Peralta

TheUpshot | ‘The 202 People, Places and Things Donald Trump Has Insulted on Twitter: A Complete List’

ProPublica | ‘The 2015 ProPublica Year in Visual Storytelling’

NYT | ‘The David Bowie Song That Fans Are Listening to Most: ‘Heroes’’

Brilliant Maps | ‘How Much of Humanity is on Your Side of World?’

Project Ukko | ‘Seasonal wind predictions for the energy sector’

Well-Formed Data | ‘Little boxes’ – “Would the field of data vis benefit from a clear line between art and design?”

QZ | ‘Why infectious bacteria are winning’

Ben Schmidt | ‘The State of the Union in Context’

Washington Post | ‘The mathematically proven strategy to win 14 of the most popular games’

Visual Loop | ‘The Trace of the Moon’

Polygraph | ‘Hollywood’s gender divide and its effect on films’

ThermalPlot | ‘Visualizing Multi-Attribute Time-Series Data Using a Thermal Metaphor’

Truth and Beautry | ‘-ach, -ingen, -zell: A visual exploration of the spatial patterns in the endings of German town and village names.’

Articles

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

Medium | ‘2016: A Watershed Year for Data Visualization’

MIT | ’50 years of Data Science’ an essay by Stanford statistics professor David Donoho from 2015

Medium | …and here are some comments about it

Medium | ‘Beautiful Reasons: Engaging Aesthetics for Data Narratives’

HBR | ‘Is That Chart Saying What You Think It’s Saying?’

CGWTF | Some interesting thoughts about some of the pitfalls experienced in research collaborations

FT | ‘Crafting charts that can withstand the data deluge’

Gravy Anecdote | ‘Dataviz criticism: know the author’s intentions first’

Data, etc. | ‘Felton Annual Report — A Eulogy’

Computer Weekly | ‘English Rugby Football League uses data analytics to boost performance’

Storytelling with Data | ‘Is there a single right answer?’

Ted | ‘How to use data to make a hit TV show’

Jonathan Gray | Talk: “Ways of Seeing Data: Towards a Critical Literacy for Data Visualisations as Research Objects and Devices”, University of Amsterdam, 14th January 2016

Chartbeat | ‘The Data behind the Most-Read Article of 2015’

Info We Trust | ‘Turning Data into Cash: How to create meaningful businesses with information’

MIT Center for Civic Media | ‘What would feminist data visualization look like?’

Medium | ‘Whose Grid Map is better? Quality Metrics for Grid Map Layouts’

FastCo Design | ‘Why Desktop UX Still Has Something To Teach Mobile’

Learning & Development

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

Cartonerd | ‘Not a very (oil) slick map’ good critical analysis of a choropleth map

YouTube | Daniel Shiffman’s excellent youtube channels of video tutorials for learning code

Infragistics | ‘Demystifying Box-and-whisker Plots — Part 2’ (link in article to Part 1)

Medium | ‘Experimentation with globes in Blender 3D’

Ghostweather Blog | ‘Teaching a Semester of D3.js’

Jagoda | Interesting site about ‘Interactive visual thinking research’

Storybench | ‘How a boutique data design company visualized global scientific collaboration for nature magazine’

Maarten Lambrechts | ‘Interaction tracking for your interactives’

Medium | ‘Hypothetical Outcome Plots: Experiencing the Uncertain’

The Learning Network (NYT) | ‘Lesson Plan – Analyzing Maps to Better Understand Global Current Events and History’

EagerEyes | Paper: ‘Presentation-b Visualization Techniques’

The Functional Art | ‘Research on persuasive visualization and risk communication’

Maarten Lambrechts | Video: ‘How Belgium is heating up, a making of’

Perceptual Edge | ‘Information Visualization Research Projects that Would Benefit Practitioners’

CartoDB | ‘Visualize 2015 Urban Populations with Proportional Symbols’

Subject News

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

NYT Co | ‘Amanda Cox Named Editor, The Upshot’

Data Basic | ‘DataBasic is a suite of easy-to-use web tools for beginners that introduce concepts of working with data’

SITE | New Conference: Information+ – ‘Interdisciplinary practices in information design and visualization’ taking place in Vancouver June 16–18, 2016

VizWiz | Andys Kriebel and Cotgreave launch the ‘Makeover Monday Challenge’

ProPublica | ‘ProPublica Summer Data Institute’

Vis&More | New blog from Tamara Munzner!

Sundries

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

One Perfect Shot | A video essay about the art of composition in filmic storytelling

BuzzFeed | ’13 Charts That Will Make Total Sense To People With Impostor Syndrome’

Blendoku | ‘The original color puzzle game!’

Slate | ‘Every David Bowie Hairstyle From 1964 to 2014, in One GIF’

Dolly Chops | (linked to the above) Some really amazing illustrations and gif animations by Helen Green

Creative Review | ‘Graphic Designers Surveyed – the findings’

Glittering Blue | ‘This is one day’s observations from Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite, animated in a loop’

BuzzFeed | ‘How BuzzFeed News Used Betting Data To Investigate Match-Fixing In Tennis’

This is Colossal | ‘Istanbul Inception: Warped Turkish Cityscapes by Aydin Büyüktas’

Go Into The Story | ‘Over 100 Free, Legal Movie Script PDF Downloads’

Thenmap | ‘Thenmap is a repository for historical borders.’

Catch | ‘What happens when men design tech for women? These 5 utterly daft devices’

Weird News in Local Newspapers | ‘David Bowie: Desperate local angle news reporting’

Weekly Times | ‘Vintage cultivation pattern used to save topsoil after bushfire’

Best of the visualisation web… December 2015

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 December 2015.

Visualisations/Infographics

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

Pata | ‘The Racial map of Brasil’

Roads to Rome | ‘There is a saying that all roads lead to Rome. We set out on 3.375.746 journeys to check if that was really true.’

Tulp Interactive | ‘Snowflake: A unique snowflake that is generated based on text. Text can be customized and the snowflake can be shared as seasonal greeting with friends and family.’

Stamen | ‘Connecting environmental stories worldwide’

The Guardian | ‘”A tortured heap of towers”: the London skyline of tomorrow’

City Lab | ‘A Historical Atlas of America, Built for the 21st Century’

Maarten Lambrechts | Rather than take up hundreds of lines of 2015 reviews, let me save your time and mine by just pointing to Maarten Lambrecht’s excellent ‘List of visualisation lists’ collecting all the best collections and compilations of visualsiation work in 2015

ABC News | As you might imagine, quite a few Star Wars related stuff… first up, ‘Star Wars: every scene from I-VI charted’

Bloomberg | ‘Star Wars: The Force Accounted’

The Guardian | ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens – your interactive cheat sheet’

Tableau Public | ‘Star Words: Every line spoken by the Rebels and the Empire from the Star Wars original trilogy’

FiveThirtyEight | ‘The Drake Effect Is Real, But The Nicki Effect Is Bigger’

FT | ‘The fastest and longest goalscoring streaks in world football’

Washington Post | ‘The math of mass shootings’

The Oregonian | ‘Gun sellers in the United States’

TheUpshot | Super randomised headings…’Gun homicides in [COUNTRY] are about as common as deaths from [DEATH] in the United States.’

The Guardian | ‘How well do you really know your country? Take our quiz’

Open Prescribing | ‘Explore England’s prescribing data’

The Royal Institution | ‘A Place Called Space: 24 unique looks at the human experience and cultural significance of space travel, through videos, articles, infographics and interactives.’

Goldilocks | ‘This is a view of the sky, showing all the known exoplanets (1,942 confirmed exoplanet discoveries d.d. October 9, 2015) and their host stars’

Wall Street Journal | ‘How Fed Rates Move Markets’

Flowing Data | ‘A Day in the Life of Americans’

National Review | Hmmm. ‘The only #climatechange chart you need to see’

QZ | ‘The most misleading charts of 2015, fixed’

Dear Data | ‘Week 52: A week of goodbyes’

New York Times | ‘Gun Sales Soar After Obama: Calls for New Restrictions’

New York Times | ‘What Happens When the Fed Raises Rates, In One Rube Goldberg Machine’

FiveThirtyEight | ‘What Would It Take To Turn States?’

QZ | ‘Where there are more women than men working in the US’

Washington Post | ‘Why people used to look so serious in photos but now have big smiles’

Morgenpost | ‘Wings of Desire – every day: We show when the sun was shining and how nice it compared to Hamburg was really like’

New York Times | ‘From the Graphics Archive: Mapping Katrina and Its Aftermath’

Polygraph | ‘This Is What Hip Hop’s Billboard Top 10 Sounded Like, Back In 1995’

Morgenpost | Live measurements of dust pollution during 2016 across sites in Germeny (I think…) ‘Alle Berliner Messstationen unter EU-Jahresgrenzwert’

New York Times | ‘Mapping Saturn’s Moons’

Gravy Anecdote | ‘Music listening trends: 2015. The death of the album?’

New York Times | ‘The Marshall Islands Are Disappearing’

Untangling Tennis | ‘A visual and data analytic exploration of success in tennis: Uncovering the relationship between performance and popularity.’

Articles

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

Poynter | ‘6 lessons academic research tells us about making data visualizations’

Webkid | ‘How interactive news and data journalism responded to the major events of 2015’

PolicyViz | Another super deep review by Jon ‘Looking Back to 2015 and Looking Forward to 2016’

Eager Eyes | ‘Memorability, Science, and The Value of Thinking Outside the Box’

Medium | ‘Next Steps for Data Visualization Research’

The Guardian | ‘Pixar co-founder warns virtual-reality moviemakers: ‘It’s not storytelling”

FiveThirtyEight | ‘The 2015 Data Awards: A very special ceremony, honoring the year’s most interesting people and stories from the world of data.’

Lisa Charlotte Rost | ‘The Line between Data Vis and Data Art’

Chartbeat | ‘The Most Engaging Stories of 2015 | Year in [Read] View’

Gizmodo | ‘Virtual Reality Lets You Live the News Instead of Reading It’

Perceptual Edge | ‘What Qualifies as Engagement?’

Medium | ‘Floor Charts on the Floor Screen’

Eater | ‘Why Is It So Hard to Make Great Food Infographics?’

Learning & Development

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

Ann K Emery | ‘When pie charts are ok (seriously)’

Chad Skelton | ‘In defence of data visualization rules’

Policy Viz | ‘Episode #27: Dear Data Wrap-Up’

interhacktives | ‘Lunch with the IHT: John Burn-Murdoch’

Graphitti | ‘Today I learned how to make gifs!’

Medium | ‘Introducing d3-scale: I’d like D3 to become the standard library of data visualization: not just a tool you use directly to visualize data by writing code, but also a suite of tools that underpin more powerful software.’

Github | ‘The Quartz guide to bad data’

Scientific American | ‘The Evolution of a Scientific American Infographic: Secret Life in Household Dust’

Data Remixed | ‘When Memorability Matters: Another Practitioner’s View’

Rstudio | ‘Data Visualization with ggplot2: Cheat Sheet’

The BMJ | ‘Will Stahl-Timmins: Almost impossible cancer spaghetti’

Subject News

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

Information is Beautiful Awards | A full list of the winners from the 2015 awards night

RStudio | Announcing the release of ggplot2 2.0.0

Poly.ly | ‘Plotly.js Open-Source Announcement’

Yahoo | ‘Review: These Glasses for Colorblindness Really Work’

Squaire.js | ‘Square bin map library from The Wall Street Journal’

Tekja | ‘Tekja is a young and dynamic data visualisation company based in Fish Island Labs, London’ check out some nice portfolio pieces

Sundries

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

New York Times | ‘Dear Architects: Sound Matters’

LinkedIn | ‘How Bad Design Wrecked Steve Harvey’s “Universe”.’

New Yorker | ‘Our favourite cartoons of 2015’

FastoCo Design | ‘Pantone’s “Gender-Blurring” Colors Of The Year Are… Pink And Blue!?’

Star Wars Street View | Last bit of Star Wars stuff…’Star Wars Street View’

Gates Notes | ‘The Top 6 Good-News Stories of 2015’

FastCo Create | ‘This Lego Color Chart Contains Every Color Lego That Exists’

10 significant visualisation developments: July to December 2015

To mark each mid-year and end of year milestone I try to take a reflective glance over the previous 6 months period in the data visualisation field and compile a collection of some of the most significant developments. These are the main projects, events, new sites, trends, personalities and general observations that have struck me as being important to help further the development of this field.

Earlier in the year I published a collection for the first 6 months of 2015 and now I’d like to reflect on the latter 6 months of 2015. I look forward to hearing from you with suggestions for the developments you believe have been most significant.

And so, as ever, in no particular order…

1. Decline of the blog?

10Sig-Blogs

This isn’t meant to be one of those provocative claims about ‘the death of the blog’, more a general sense that, given the growth of the field in recent years, the amount of people blogging about the subject has seemingly flatlined and possibly even declined. It was something the guys also noted in our Data Stories review episode. Whilst Nathan and Tiago are as prolific as ever, Robert keeps the great discourse flowing, and there are reliably frequent and valuable contributions from the likes of Ben Jones, Stephanie Evergreen, and Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic (to name just a few I know there are many more), one of the only new significant entrants (or new to my radar, at least) would be Storybench. Elsewhere there is a noticeable drying up of new posts from Enrico, Andrew, Bryan and Benjamin (amongst others). On the flip-side there has been the emergence of the Data is Beautiful subreddit and the popularity of Medium as a platform for publishing content that might normally exist on one’s own site certainly reflects a changing dynamic. Perhaps the conversation has moved? Certainly Twitter (especially) continues to be the social-media platform of choice and dominates as a location for where much of the discussion and sharing of content takes place.

2. Visual Complexity

10Sig-VisualComplexity

Whilst never really a blog in the conventional sense, it is sad to see the end of future updates to Manuel Lima’s Visual Complexity site. However, it is also a remarkable achievement to have arrived at 1000 posts in the collection in line with the 10th anniversary of the site’s launch. Congratulations and thank you, Manuel, for your contributions and inspirations so far, here’s to your next chapter!

3. FiveThirtyEight

10Sig-FiveThirtyEight

I noted the arrival on the scene of three major new data-driven journalism sites at the start of 2014, namely FiveThirtyEight, Vox and TheUpshot. They each bring a different flavour to the scene and I’ll talk about the latter two over the next few items but I feel this year has been especially strong for the team at FiveThirtyEight. In particular I feel they are leading the way with their presentation of (typically static) visual analysis in response to interesting curiosities or investigations about a varied range of contemporary topics, such as this piece looking at the under-representation of black students at universities, the value of NFL kickers and the ‘Death Spiral Of M. Night Shyamalan’s Career‘. 2016 will surely be a hugely significant year with the US Election so I look forward to another deluge of fascinating and carefully curated scatterplots!

4. 100 years of tax

10Sig-TaxBrackets

A contemporary of FiveThirtyEight, it would be fair to say Vox has had an inconsistent beginning to its life as a separate data journalism entity from the perspective of its data visualisation output but the arrival of Javier Zarracina and the presence of talent like Alvin Chang seems to be gradually bearing fruit. Certainly, this piece looking at the 100 years of US tax brackets, as I posted recently, is amongst the best examples of the value of data visualisation that I’ve seen all year.

5. Calling out the deceivers

10Sig-Deceptions

This is not necessarily a trend that is easy to evidence or quantify but I feel there is a broader awareness of the dark arts in visualisation, not just from makers but predominantly from readers. This gives me a warm feeling inside that there is a general improvement in the visualisation literacy of the general public at large. The stand out moment of the year came with this dreadfully dishonest chart created by American’s United for Life (AUL) and presented to a Congress hearing by Rep. Jason Chaffetz to question Planned Parenthood’s activities. Vox led the way with publicly highlighting this shambolic mis-representation and shaming its makers, as did Politifact (who gave it a deserved ‘Pants on Fire’ rating). It even appeared in a section on John Oliver’s ‘Last Week Tonight‘ show. Rather than accepting the charting mistakes, AUL responded with surely the most squirmingly embarrassing of attempts to excuse its shortcomings.

6. Gregor Aisch

10Sig-Gregor

Just to wrap up this sub-theme, I feel it is worth acknowledging the standing Gregor Aisch has now achieved in the field. Whilst the New York Times team, as we all know, has some incredible people (and recently lost some as well) it has been increasingly visible just how talented this guy is. Whilst rarely working alone, Gregor’s name has repeatedly appeared against some of the most astute and brilliantly-executed pieces coming from TheUpshot, in particular, across the entire year. Just over two years since he moved to the US and joined the Times, it is a pleasure to witness somebody at the absolute top of their art.

7. Just when we thought everyone was getting on…

10Sig-RulesDogma

‘What Is the Best Response to Bad Practices?’ saw Stephen Few, in classic fashion, stir up the age old debates again with his seemingly annual attack on David McCandless. Take the phone off the hook, put the kettle on and get comfortable. They say never to read the comments – at the time of publishing this there were over 75 – but maybe in this case you should if for no other reason than to get a sense of the spectrum of entrenched dogmatic views that still exist and to find those voices who sensibly offer more pragmatic and nuanced perspectives. If you thought the field had grown up – with a greater mutual respect for legitimate differences and distinctions – maybe this reveals that we have some way to go. It certainly woke me up from my own complacency/hope that the traditional arguments had been answered and resolved several years ago…

8. Visualising death(s)

10Sig-VisualisingDeath

Another debate, albeit on a much smaller scale, that I was interested over the last period concerns the issue of the representation of death or deaths. What is the best and, more importantly, the right way to show statistics concerned with the loss of life? This issue came to the surface is FastCo Design’s one-sided and rather shallow piece ‘Why You Don’t Make A Mindlessly Beautiful Visualization Of A Horrific Event’ which rather hid behind prominent names objecting to a work visualising Hiroshima (shown above) but without giving a voice to the maker of the these works to offer perspective on the motives, context etc. Whilst I understand the sentiments expressed by those quoted the article failed to further the discussion in any valuable way. Published last year, I feel this article by the consistently brilliant Sarah Slobin, continues to offer great insight on the challenges all designers are likely to face at some point – visualising statistics about death. As somebody who has discovered this year that (accidentally) I include many examples in my training workshops related to project about death, I feel it is a really important and sensitive issue to have a more constructive discussion about. If I get the opportunity in 2016 I may even seek to construct a presentation talk about this topic.

9. Virtual Reality

10Sig-VR

This is a term that seems to be gaining more momentum and airtime over these past few months. Led, in publicity terms at least, by the New York Times through their issuing of over a million Google Cardboard smartphone viewers, there does seem to be a new wave of experimentation around creating virtual reality experiences to present stories and, potentially, to explore data. They are not alone, with other organisations (LA Times, WSJ) also exploring its creative potential – although some don’t believe this to be genuine VR. Though I respect and value any attempts at innovation, I feel this will be a passing trend. At most it will have a fringe role in visualisation simply because of what you see in the photo above – the awkwardness and cumbersome nature of having to use a viewer, just like the stunted progress of 3D movies. However, I remain open to being persuaded that there is a prominent role for this technology in visualisation.

10. Increasing integration of multimedia

10Sig-Multimedia

This is certainly not a new trend but it does feel like we are reaching an era of where the creative possibility of incorporating imagery, illustration and video in to data visualisation is becoming even more commonplace. Monica Ullmanu’s work on ‘A tortured heap of towers: the London skyline of tomorrow‘, Allen Au-Yeung and Cédric Sam’s ‘Three Cities, One Bridge‘ for The South China Morning Post and Derek Watkins’ ‘Japan’s New Satellite Captures an Image of Earth Every 10 Minutes‘ for the NYT are just some of the contemporary examples that bring integrate data driven content alongside inventive sources of rich imagery (increasingly from satellite and drone origins) and seamless video.

Special mentions…

Here are the other highlights from the second half of 2015 that deserve a special mention:

Guardian Ashes charts | I just loved these small thumbnail charts from Carlo Zapponi to offer, in a single view, a sense of the ebb and flow of the England vs. Australia cricket matches down the years

Mapbox Studio | Alongside CartoDB, Mapbox have unquestionably been significantly changing the landscape of thematic mapping for everyday and advanced users alike and the announcement of the availability of Mapbox Studio to all Mapbox account holders seems like another great leap forward towards beautiful, effective spatial visualisation

Strip Plots | I’ve always loved these kind of plots (though I’d never previously considered or been aware of this name for them) and here Maarten Lambrechts offers a really nice explanation of why and how to use this technique

What’s warming the world? | Super piece by Bloomberg, exploring different factors that might explain (or not) why the world is warming

Best of the visualisation web… November 2015

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 November 2015.

Visualisations/Infographics

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

Washington Post | ‘Two Clintons. 41 years. $3 Billion.’

FiveThirtyEight | From 2014 but topical: ‘America’s Favorite ‘Star Wars’ Movies (And Least Favorite Characters)’

Grrr | ‘The magnificent bears of the glorious nation of Finland’

This is Colossal | ‘Art Meets Cartography: The 15,000-Year History of a River in Oregon Rendered in Data’

Guardian | ‘Can you identify the world cities from their ‘naked’ metro maps?’

FT | ‘What is at stake at the Paris climate change conference?’

Nature | ‘Connected World: Patterns of international collaboration captured by the nature index’

esri | ‘Election Pollocks’

Nature | ‘Global count reaches 3 trillion trees’

Road to Larissa | ‘Golden State’s 2015 Point Differentials’

Todd W. Schneider | ‘Analyzing 1.1 billion NYC taxi and Uber trips’

New York Times | ‘How Gun Traffickers Get Around State Gun Laws’

Jane Ro | ‘Look Development for IBM THINK Exhibition: Celebrating 100 years of IBM’

WTFViz | A timely reminder of the fantastically brilliant collection of awful that is WTFViz, here’s a particular ‘highlight’

FiveThirtyEight | ‘Mizzou’s Racial Gap Is Typical On College Campuses’

British Museum | ‘The Museum of the World’

Ross Learning System | ‘The Ross Spiral Curriculum is a literary narrative of the evolution of human consciousness.’

Washington Post | ‘Gauging a warming world’

Selfie City | The Selfie City project comes to London with an special update about London

YouTube | ‘Sniff: How do we breathe? How do we smell?’

Bloomberg | ‘The (James) Bond Index: From gadgets and tuxes to cocktails and quips’

vocativ | The first of two pieces looking at the ratings of books versus their movie equivalents – ‘Rejoice, Snobs: The Book IS Better Than The Movie’

FiveThirtyEight | …here’s the second from ‘The 20 Most Extreme Cases Of ‘The Book Was Better Than The Movie’’

Nesta | ‘The fight against antimicrobial resistance across Europe’

Guardian | ‘Mekong: a river rising’

FT | ‘The stain of doping on athletic’

South China Morning Post | ‘Three cities, one bridge’

Andrew Staroscik | ‘Three Days – 4,000 Years’

Tableau | ‘Variation in Hue across Movie Posters’

Atlas Obscura | ‘A walkable map of the world, made from soil and stone by one man’

National Geographic | ‘The New New York Skyline’

FT | ‘Where is the next generation in men’s tennis?’

Andy Woodruff | ‘Where to hate daylight saving time and where to love it’

FT | ‘Who are the best ever Formula One drivers?’

Articles

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

Poynter | ‘6 lessons academic research tells us about making data visualizations’

BBC | (Possibly only for UK viewing) ‘Colour: The Spectrum of Science’

OpenNews | ‘Disputed Territories’

NPR | ‘Do Visual Stories Make People Care?’

Adventures in Viz | ‘The bit you hate about your job? That’s the good bit’

Gadgette | ‘Interview: Trina Chiasson, data designer and “big dataviz nerd”’

Business Insider | One should always brace oneself whenever a headline begins with ‘Microsoft declares war on…’ especially when what follows is ‘boring PowerPoint presentations’

Vox | ‘Shut up about the y-axis. It shouldn’t always start at zero.’ (Yes, but slightly misses the mark by not clarifying this is only for line charts)

Sat Summit | ‘This is an exploratory overview of current and upcoming sources of data, processing pipelines and data products.’

Wired | ‘Stop calling Google Cardboard’s 360-Degree Videos ‘VR”

Data Remixed | ‘The Backlash Against Data Dogmatism’

Life And Death of Data | As the site name suggests, this long form piece is about ‘The Life and Death of Data’

Techcrunch | ‘The Most Overlooked Aspect Of UX Design Could Be The Most Important’

NKB | ‘The value chain of data in the news industry’

Medium | ‘Why Aren’t There More Leading Women in the Data Visualization Community?’

FiveThirtyEight | ‘Why Bobby Jindal’s Candidacy Failed’

Scientific American | ‘World Population Will Soar Higher Than Predicted’

Learning & Development

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

Ghostweather | Slide deck from Lynn Cherny titled ‘Design For Interactive Data Visualization’

My Online Training Hub | ‘How to Create a Reverse PivotTable’

Medium | ‘Finding the Right Color Palettes for Data Visualizations’

Sir Viz-a-lot | ‘How To: Hex Tile Maps in Tableau’

Eager Eyes | Robert’s tagged posts for ‘IEEEVis’ which includes the daily round up of coverage of the 2015 event

Harvard | Paper: ‘Beyond Memorability: Visualization Recognition and Recall’

Storybench | Further insights about the paper/research here – ‘Understanding what makes a visualisation memorable’

Perceptual Edge Forum | …and a quite fascinating set of conversations about Stephen’s response to the above research and a broader attack on the ‘Pseudo-science’ of Info Vis research

Maarten Lambrechts | ‘Interactive strip plots for visualizing demographics’

Eager Eyes | Paper: ‘The Connected Scatterplot for Presenting Paired Time Series’

Civil Statistician | ‘Teaching data visualization: approaches and syllabi’

Scientific American | ‘The Science of Visualization’

YRO | ‘Visualising Networks Part 1: A Critique’

EagerEyes | A busy month for research content from Robert! ‘Visualization Research, Part I: Engineering’

Subject News

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

Blockbuilder | ‘Building Blocks: Quickly create, edit and fork D3.js examples’

Amazon | New book: “Effective Data Visualization: The Right Chart for the Right Data”, by Stephanie Evergreen

Mapbox | ‘Introducing Mapbox studio’

IBM | An overview of the Brunel Visualization language created by IBM

Sundries

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

Twitter | ‘Data banana skins’

WSJ | ‘Meanwhile, Near Saturn… 11 Years of Cassini Saturn Photos’

New Balance | ‘New Balance launches first 3D printed running shoe’

Deadspin | ‘Stupid Nike Uniforms Wreaking Havoc On Colorblind NFL Fans’

BBC | ‘Viewpoint: How creativity is helped by failure’

Worry Dream | ‘What can a technologist do about climate change?’

YouTube | ‘This video pokes fun at the speculative creative bidding process in new business pitches’

Best of the visualisation web… October 2015

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 October 2015.

Visualisations/Infographics

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

FiveThirtyEight | Great analysis about the dominance about NFL kickers (originally published in January)

Reuters | Interactive tracking the Formula 1 season

VG | ‘Where did the Norwegians perish during WW2?’

New York Times | ‘Buying Power: Here are 120 million Monopoly pieces, roughly one for every household in the United States.’

Bloomberg | ‘Play The Trading Game: Buy Low Sell High’

Excellence Networks | ‘This web application visualizes how successful universities
or research-focused institutions collaborate.’

New York Times | ‘The Cost of Mobile Ads on 50 News Websites’

Johnburnmurdoch | ‘Mean vs median explorer’

Xavi Gimenez | ‘Last.fm listeners reactions to the artists’s deaths’

Tennis Visuals | So many interesting visual things happening in this site looking at tennis player careers and match analysis

Richie Carmichael | ‘Welcome to Quake Map. An application to browse more than 10,000 earthquakes in both time and space.’

Feltron | The 2014 Annual Report

The New York Times | Nice connected scatterplot action in this ‘How the U.S. and OPEC Drive Oil Prices’

Histography | ‘Welcome to Histography where every dot is a historic event from Wikipedia’

Chicago Tribune | Nice to see a bump chart in the wild to rank major airports across different measures of performance

Flowing Data | ‘Top Brewery Road Trip, Routed Algorithmically’

NPR | ‘Next Year Could Mark The End Of Polio

Micro Visualisation | ‘This website shows examples of a new type of data visuali­sations called micro visualisations.

New York Times | ‘New York City Marathon in Six Charts’

Vox | ‘100 years of tax brackets, in one chart’

Networkeffect | ‘Network Effect explores the psychological effect of Internet use on humanity.’

New York Times | ‘Visualizing the Size and Strength of Hurricane Patricia’

Discover Magazine | ‘Finding the Highways for Migrating Birds’

Guardian | ‘Homan Square: A portrait of Chicago’s detainees’

Info We Trust | ‘Data City: Data storytelling and the graphic novel are smashed together in one adventure through the numbers behind the city (Las Vegas, Nevada) built on numbers’

DQ-en | ‘The World’s Tightest Cluster of People’

Articles

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

Visual Complexity | Celebrating the fantastic achievement of Manual Lima’s site reaching 10 years and 1000 projects

Visually | ‘The Links That Bind Us: Network Visualizations’

QZ | ‘The best infographics of 2015, and why we can’t stop looking at them’

Eager Eyes | ‘When Details Hide the Story’

Mapzen | ‘Escape from Mercator’

CartoDB | (Not a lot of Mercator love, this month!) ‘Free Your Maps from Web Mercator!’

Medium | Matthew Daniels discusses ‘The Journalist-Engineer’

Perceptual Edge | ‘What Is the Best Response to Bad Practices?’ by Stephen Few

National Geographic | ‘The “Rules” of Data Visualization Get an Update’

Policy Viz | ‘More Statistical Fallacies’

Evergreen Data | ‘Professional Standards for Data Visualizers’

Data Remixed | ‘My 3 Basic Tenets of Data Visualization’

Policy Viz | Jon interviews the man himself… ‘Episode #21: Edward Tufte’

Grantland | ‘The Frustrating Promise of Analytics: Soccer Has a Left-Handed-Pitcher Problem’

Boston Review | ‘Against Empathy’

Arts&Metrics | Overview of the Visualized 2015 conference ‘A thousand and one ways to look at data’

Gapminder | ‘Hans Rosling asks: Has the UN gone mad?’

Learning & Development

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

Aviz | Paper, examples and demo of the ‘Time Curves’ approach to visualize patterns of evolution in temporal data

Suggested Interactivity | Examples and deconstruction of different techniques for and attributes of interactivity operations

Vizshine | ’10 Steps to Winning the Tableau Iron Viz Championship’

NOAA | Online resource to explore and download climate data

Vimeo | ‘VIS15 preview: Visualization-by-Sketching: An Artist’s Interface for Creating Multivariate Time-Varying Data Visualizations’

IEEE Xplore | ‘How do People Make Sense of Unfamiliar Visualizations?: A Grounded Model of Novice’s Information Visualization Sensemaking’

Source | ‘How we made “Homan Square: A portrait of Chicago’s detainees’

PiImageSearch | ‘Analyzing 91 years of Time magazine covers for visual trends’

Colah | ‘Visual Information Theory’

Eager Eyes | ‘Trifacta Wrangler for cleaning and reshaping data’

Knight News Challenge | (Great sounding proposal) ‘Visualization ABC: A Public Platform to Learn to Read Data Visualizations’

Storytelling with Data | ‘Being clever with color’

Medium | ‘What to do with “small” data?’

Subject News

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

Tableau | Tableau announce the launch of ‘Vizable’ a “free app that turns your data into beautiful, interactive graphs”

Office | Introducing ‘The all new Office 2016’, here’s Excel

YouTube | Can Google Sheets offer something different, better?

Amazon | New book: ‘Visualizing Financial Data’, by Julie Rodriguez and Piotr Kaczmarek

Storytelling with Data | Announcing Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic’s new book of the same name!

Sundries

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

One Perfect Shot | ‘Storyboard to screen comparisons of John Carpenter’s classic film, The Thing’

Blue Shirt | ‘The Complete Works
of William Shakespeare’

Apparatus | ‘Apparatus is a hybrid graphics editor and programming environment for creating interactive diagrams.’

Twitter | ‘Use of the phrase ‘exponential growth’ by decade’

Twitter | ‘Just how popey was the pope today?’

Wikipedia | Benjamin West’s incomplete painting of the delegations at the Treaty of Paris

Best of the visualisation web… September 2015

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 September 2015.

Visualisations/Infographics

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

YouTube | ‘After the tragic crisis in Syria, more than half of all Syrians have left their homes. Where are they?’ Hans Rosling shows the answer

Guardian | Interesting timeline based on a sinusoidal curve, seemingly offering a way of handling concentrations of event milestones

Nesta | A portrayal of the network of programmes that were broadcast on the BBC in 2013 and 2014, and the people who helped to make those programmes who worked in off-screen roles

New York Times | ‘Death in Syria’

Metropop | ‘Vienna electorate poster’

New York Times | ‘NASA’s New Horizons Probe Glimpses Pluto’s Icy Heart’

FT | ‘Which is the best football league in Europe?’

Enigma | ‘Do you have a smoke alarm?’

SCMP | ‘From Gareth Bale to Luis Suarez, the most expensive signings in football’

The True Size | Super tool that helps get a sense of the distortions involved in the mercator mapping projection

FiveThirtyEight | ‘The Death Spiral Of M. Night Shyamalan’s Career’

Webkid Blog | ‘The Refugee Crisis through the eyes of Data Visualization’

Guardian | ‘Hajj crush: how crowd disasters happen, and how they can be avoided’

National Geographic | Interactive version of the ‘Goldilocks worlds’ project, exploring which (other) planets are just right for supporting life

Randal Olson | ‘Visualizing Indego bike share usage patterns in Philadelphia’

World Economic Forum | ‘The Inclusive Growth and Development Report 2015’

Vimeo | ‘Midday Traffic Time Collapsed and Reorganized by Color: San Diego’

National Geographic | ‘Using Maps and Data Vis to Understand Tennis’

WSJ | ‘Are You Good Enough to Be a Tennis Line Judge?’

Cargocollective | Some fascinating works by Aljaž Vindiš for (Slovenia’s second largest newspaper) Dnevnik’s weekly supplement Objektiv

Tableau Public | Chris Luv’s ‘Football Shots Timeline’

This is Colossal | ‘Starting With the Earth as a Marble, This Is the First Timelapse of the Solar System to Scale’

Washington Post | ‘Cold weather person, or hot weather lover? This map shows where you belong’

Noah Veltman | ‘Connected Filmographies’

Tableau Public | Really nice, ‘Hubway Station Analysis’

Morgenpost | ‘Noise Map Berlin: So loud it is at your doorstep’

Flowing Data | ‘Years You Have Left to Live, Probably’

Washington Post | ‘When popes hit the road, here’s where they go’

ABC | ‘From Menzies to Malcolm: the careers of Australia’s prime ministers visualised’

Washington Post | ‘Higher horsepower: An illustrated 215-year history of the popemobile’

The Marshall Project | ‘The Next to Die: Watching Death Row’

Flong | ‘Infoviz Graffiti: an Adjustable Pie-Chart Stencil’

Articles

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

Vox | Great and legimitate take down of the dishonest chart by ‘American’s United for Life’ shown in US Congress

AUL | …and here’s the pathetic attempt to defend the chart by the makers

The Functional Art | …and finally, another related post ‘If you see bullshit, say “bullshit!”‘

District Data Labs | ‘Time Maps: Visualizing Discrete Events Across Many Timescales’

Partially Derivative | ‘Episode 35: The data of journalism’

Storybench | ‘How Scientific American makes its infographics’

Guardian | ‘Way to go: the woman who invented Britain’s road signs’

National Geographic | ‘Taking Data Visualization From Eye Candy to Efficiency’

Medium | ‘A Design Education Manifesto’

Randal Olson | ‘Small multiples vs. animated GIFs for showing changes in fertility rates over time’

Something About Maps | ‘What happens if you take the shoreline of a lake, cut it, and unfurl it?’

Medium | ‘Robin Kwong tells us about interactive data journalism at the Financial Times

Learning & Development

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

Bocoup | ‘Mapping the Conflict in Syria – a Design Process (Part 1 of 2)’

VizCandy | ‘Building (Tableau) Dashboards for the Smartphone’

Ghostweather | Nice slide deck from Lynn Cherny, ‘What is Big Data, Anyway?’

Medium | ‘Relativity’s Landscape: visualizing the impact of Einstein’s General Relativity theory’

Source | ‘How we made the 3D Tour de France interactive’ by Andrew Mason

Medium | ‘Making beautiful, interactive maps (with some JavaScript)’

Infogr.am | ‘Data Visualization in – and for – Education’

Subject News

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

Big Bang Data | Event running in London from 3rd December where ‘Artists, designers and innovators show how the data explosion is transforming our world’

Moebiolabs | ‘Moebio Framework is a JavaScript toolkit for performing data analysis and creating visualizations.’

Archive | Sure I’ve posted this before but worth doing again if so. The entire ‘Graphic presentation’ book by Willard Cope Brinton is available online

FastCo Design | ‘The 2015 Innovation By Design Awards Winners: Data Visualization’

Sundries

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

Food Data | ‘»Food Data« is a series of seven ceramic plates on the topic of data tracking in everyday life. Minimalistic crumb-compositions that emerge on plates while eating every day, are analyzed by a self written computer application’

Twitter | Great alternative concept for the Jaws poster highlighting the number of sharks killed per hour

BBC | ‘Viewpoint: Should we all be looking for marginal gains?’

Guardian | ‘Whatever happened to Minority Report’s technology predictions?’

Nieman Lab | ‘What happened after 7 news sites got rid of reader comments’

One Perfect Shot | ‘Watch the history of film in 3 minutes’

Guardian | Not chock-full with visualisations but just an interesting longform/multi-media piece about US nuclear testing

Eli Schiff | ‘Keyboard Smörgåsbord’

Twitter | ‘Most people don’t realize just how vast our great nation is. Truly amazing.’ Really makes you think (…about the people replying)

Best of the visualisation web… August 2015

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 August 2015.

Visualisations/Infographics

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

Labratrevenge | ‘A Nation of Poverty’ – looking at the concentration of poverty in the neighborhoods of the US’s largest urban cores

Matt Daniels | Animals plotted by: Intelligence and tastiness.

Data Cycles | Daily bike sharing activity in the Bay area

Bl.ocks | A tool to help compare mapping projections

Tableau | ‘Day-night map with twilight and marks’

Boston Globe | From Feb 2014, ‘The Oscar Connections’ by Chiqui Esteban

Ginny Mason | A wonderful catalogue of work from Nat Geo’s Ginny Mason

Guardian | ‘How China’s economic slowdown could weigh on the rest of the world’

New York Times | ‘How Missing Jet’s Debris Could Have Floated to Réunion’

South China Morning Post | ‘What if an atomic bomb hit Hong Kong or Beijing, or where you live?’

FT | ‘Marathon data show gender patterns in runners’ performance’

BBC | ‘My Premier League life’

FiveThirtyEight | ‘Science Isn’t Broken: It’s just a hell of a lot harder than we give it credit for.’

Ripetungi | Robin’s infographic marking the end of Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool career

Vimeo | Mac Bryla narrates a project looking at some data about mobile phone data published in some work by ABC

Tubestrike | Londoners get sweary about the tube strike

Harvard | Huge project to visualise the true scale of the world economy via 15 trillion dollars worth of trade

New York Times | ‘A Triangular Guide to the East Asian Currency Wars’

Truth Facts | A collection of tongue in cheek visualisation and infographics

Washington Post | ‘Where Americans go to work when they don’t work near home’

New York Times | Interlacing musical score visuals on top of a documentary about the making of the Bieber track “Where are Ü now”

FT | Which is the best football league in Europe?

PRB | ‘Every year, Population Reference Bureau (PRB) provides the latest demographic data for the world’

City Lab | ’10 Years Later, There’s So Much We Don’t Know About Where Katrina Survivors Ended Up’

Five Thirty Eight | ‘A Nerd’s Guide To The 2,229 Paintings At MoMA’

Washington Post | ‘Almost half of Americans live in places that could be struck by damaging earthquakes’

FastCo Design | ‘Google’s Guide To Designing With Empathy’

New York Times | ‘How Many Times Has Your Personal Information Been Exposed to Hackers?’

National Geographic | ‘People-Powered Data Visualization’

QZ | ‘This game will show you just how foolish it is to sell stocks right now’

FiveThirtyEight | ‘Uber Is Serving New York’s Outer Boroughs More Than Taxis Are’

Poly-Graph | ‘The most timeless songs of all-time’

Washington Post | ‘What’s across the ocean from you when you’re at the beach, in 7 fascinating maps’

Source | ‘Designing, mapping, and deploying “The Airbnb Effect”’

Tampa Bay | ‘Why Pinellas County is the worst place in Florida to be black and go to public school’

Articles

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

Elijah Meeks | ‘The virtues of a sketchy life’

Medium | ‘A Sort of Joy: Performing MoMA’s 120,000 object collections database’

Source | ‘Building on ‘Data viz for all’: A Portland code convening project to make interactive graphics more accessible’

The Next Web | ‘Embracing emptiness in Web design’

Vimeo | More Eyeo 2015 talk videos released

FastCo Design | Rather blunt and one-eyed criticism of a visualisation about Hiroshima

Story Bench | ‘Using Buzzfeed’s listicle format to tell stories with maps and charts’

Learning & Development

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

Responsive Design | A site that let’s you preview the responsiveness (or otherwise) of your website/page across multiple device dimensions and formats

Science Direct | Paper: ‘Evaluating the use of uncertainty visualization for exploratory analysis of land cover change’

Visual Cinnamon | ‘How to create a Flow diagram with a circular twist: Hacking a Chord Diagram to create a radial Sankey’

TED | ‘Manuel Lima: A visual history of human knowledge’

Tableau | ‘Tips on Building Dashboards for the Smartphone’

r2d3 | ‘A Visual Introduction to Machine Learning’

Infragistics | ‘An Introduction to Small Multiples’

Medium | ‘Crafting a custom, mobile-friendly
data visualization – Inside the design process of “The Evolution of Trade Agreements”’

Source | ‘Faster, Better Chartmaking with the Right Tools and a Little Bit of Training’

Evergreen | ‘Make a Slopegraph in Excel’

YouTube | “Disinformation Visualization — How to lie with Dataviz” by Mushon Zer-Aviv

Oli Hawkins | Tool: ‘Welcome to Population Builder, a web-app that lets you build a population estimate for a set of small areas in Great Britain.’

TechSmith | Tool: ‘Snagit for Google Chrome Keeps on GIF’ing’

Tableau | ‘Use the New Web Data Connector to Reach Any Data’

Flowing Data | ‘Bar Chart Baselines Start at Zero’

Online Journalism Blog | ‘When to use maps in data visualisation: a great big guide’ (part 1)

Online Journalism Blog | ‘When to use maps in data visualisation: a great big guide’ (part 2)

Subject News

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

iNZight | ‘Easily explore data and discover trends without learning complex software’

Jump Plot | ‘Jump Plot helps analysts quickly identify
outliers in repeated event sequences’

Sebastian Meier | An interesting collection of projects on the website of research associate and lecturer, Sebastian Meier, from the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences

Amazon | Book coming soon! ‘Data at Work’ by Jorge Camoes

Twitter | Discussing a treemap. In a million tweets.

Sundries

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

OpenCulture | ‘1,000,000 Minutes of Newsreel Footage by AP & British Movietone Released on YouTube’

Guardian | ’96m water-saving shade balls released into LA reservoir’

TheUpshot | ‘Puzzle: Are You Smarter Than 61,125
Other New York Times Readers?’

BLDG BLOG | Article about a video profiling ‘The John Feathers Map Collection’ – “a discovered collection so massive it doubled the LAPL’s collection in a single day.”

New York Times | ‘Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big
Ideas in a Bruising Workplace’

Archive | ‘Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, and more.’

Guardian | ‘Attack on the pentagon results in discovery of new mathematical tile’

Vox | ‘The neckwear primary: our ultimate graphical guide to the ties of the GOP debate’

US Fish & Wildlife Service | ‘Wetlands Mapper Legend Categories’

The New Yorker | ‘What is elegance in science?’

Best of the visualisation web… July 2015

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 2015.

Visualisations/Infographics

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

WSJ | ‘Anatomy of a descent’ – profiling the downhills of the Tour de France (love the map in the middle)

Guardian | …and here’s the Guardian’s interactive illustrating ‘The climb of Alpe d’Huez’

Morgenpost | ‘Where the population of Europe is growing – and where it’s declining’

Guardian | ‘Global threat interactive: What’s the world scared of?’

FiveThirtyEight | ‘How Your Favorite Baseball Team Blows Its Money’

New York Times | Oh my word the map imagery on this piece by Derek Watkins ‘Japan’s New Satellite Captures an Image of Earth Every 10 Minutes’

Josh Worth | ‘If the moon were only 1 pixel’

FiveThirtyEight | ‘The Endorsement Primary’ – Like the little tally charts at the top and the small multiples below

The Information Capital | ‘Relationship Status’ a population pyramid combined with marital status

Washington Post | ‘How railroads, highways and other man-made lines racially divide America’s cities’

New York Times | …and here’s an updated version of the Mapping America project, now specifically showing the map of segregation

Tableau | Typically nice work from Chris Luv to show the ‘wagon wheel’ analysis of Ashes batsmen during the summer’s second test

Guardian | …and on the same subject, I love these small multiples by Carlo Zapponi showing the history of all Ashes matches

Vox | ‘From the Devil-Doll to Ant-Man: A visual history of Hollywood’s shrunken people’

FiveThirtyEight | ‘The Worst Board Games Ever Invented’

Visualoop | ‘Portfolio of the Week – Fernando Baptista’

New York Times | ‘Stacking Up the Presidential Fields’

Robert Manduca | ‘Where Are The Jobs? Employment in America, 2010’

ProPublica | ‘Surgeon Scorecard’

New York Times | ‘New Horizons’ Pluto Flyby

GraphTV | ‘Graph TV is a visualization tool which graphs tv show ratings by episode. ‘

FT | ‘Austerity State: how has your council’s budget changed?’

New York Times | ‘What It’s Like to Face a 150 M.P.H. Tennis Serve’

WSJ | ‘The Cities That Have Lost the Most Flights’

Articles

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

The Functional Art | ‘A dialogue between a reporter and a visualization journalist’

Visualoop | ‘A Look at Choropleth Maps’

Randal Olson | ‘Rethinking the population pyramid’

ONS Digital | Background work behind the development of the ONS guide for creating effective tables and charts

National Geographic | ‘Even Graphics Can Speak With a Foreign Accent’

Scott Bot | ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ offering a considered rant about the intertwingled-ness of the information age.

National Geographic | ”Steampunk’ Infographics Beautifully Combine Past and Present’

Medium | ‘Explaining graphic design to four-year-olds’

Priceonomics | ‘Hadley Wickham, the Man Who Revolutionized R’

Visualoop | ‘Talking with… John Grimwade’

Perceptual Edge | Stephen Few calmly put his a pillow over Andrew Abela’s Chart Chooser and holds it there for quite a while

Learning & Development

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

Webkid | ‘How we created an interactive map of Europe with 100k+ areas’

Eager Eyes | Annotated presentation slides from Robert’s talk at BioVis in Dublin

Eager Eyes | Once you’ve finished with that, check out this timely (in my mind) article from 2010 ‘Understanding Pie Charts’

Interworks | ‘Extract Web Data Directly to Tableau with Our import.io Web Connector’

Stanford Graphics | Presentation slides by Pat Hanrahan about ‘Self-illustrating phenomena’

Source | ‘How we made Losing Ground’

YouTube | ‘Amit Kapoor – Visualising Multi Dimensional Data’

FlowingData | Great explainer from Nathan about Horizon Graphs

Geog UCSB | Paper: ‘Area Estimation of World Regions and the Projection of the Global-Scale Cognitive Map’

Subject News

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

Driven Data | ‘Data science competitions
to save the world’

Wiley | Journal article: ‘Guidance for representing uncertainty on global temperature change maps’

Visualoop | ‘A new Visualoop: New online showcase inspires with over 1500 of the best infographics of the past years’

Mapiful | ‘Create, design and order maps of… the city you were born, where you fell in love or just a place that makes your heart skip a beat. Search, zoom and tweak. Within days your unique Mapiful print will arrive in the mail.’

Sundries

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

Territory Studio | New animated digital art pieces to feature in the Upper Class bar area of Virgin Atlantic’s new fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft

BBC | ‘How painting ‘saved’ a man with paralysis’

Medium | ‘7 Rejections’

Nieman Lab | ‘Trials and iterations: The Globe and Mail tries to balance reinvention and familiarity in its new app’

YouTube | ‘From 1956: A future vision of driverless cars’

The Creators Project | ‘Miniature Tools That Really Work’

Vimeo | ‘Super fun, pre-animated, sometimes looping, customizable Fake User Interface assets’

BoingBoing | ‘Font censors you as you type’

Guardian | ‘Rain is sizzling bacon, cars are lions roaring: the art of sound in movies’

Bloomberg | Check out the dynamic mouse-over labelling!

Cooper Hewitt | ‘Welcome to our collection database’

QZ | ‘The science of empathy—and why some people have it less than others’

10 significant visualisation developments: January to June 2015

To mark each mid-year and end of year milestone I try to take a reflective glance over the previous 6 months period in the data visualisation field and compile a collection of some of the most significant developments. These are the main projects, events, new sites, trends, personalities and general observations that have struck me as being important to help further the development of this field.

At the end of December I published a collection for the last 6 months of 2014 and now I’d like to reflect on the opening 6 months of 2015. I look forward to hearing from you with suggestions for the developments you believe have been most significant.

And so, as ever, in no particular order…

1. Tessellations of the Nations

Cartogram

If you’ve not tripped over a hexagon or squarified grid map during 2015 you’re not doing this ‘tracking the visualisation field’ right. They are everywhere and have stirred much debate, in the US especially, about their use and their optimum formation (FlowingData, David Yanofsky, NPR). The UK has seen its fair share too, from the BBC’s flagship election night outdoor graphic, other newspaper’s coverage or After The Flood’s ‘London Squared‘ work, and Europe too, with David Taylor’s offering. Some experiments have got a little extreme but let’s not rule out, just yet, the emergence of the lizard grid map being the star of the remainder of 2015.

2. Mobile or desktop first?

MobileDesktop

This is perhaps not much of a surprise but feels like a worthwhile signpost for observing increasing conversations and experimental techniques concerning the desktop-mobile multi-platform conundrum. Driven largely by newspaper and media organisations facing growing proportion of visitors landing on their content via mobile, it is more than just about responsive design, it is about fundamental publishing strategies. The question of desktop-first or mobile-first is not just about following trends of web design in general. For some the mobile is now the primary landing place and so visual projects will be increasingly designed to succeed to best effect with device dimensions and capabilities in mind. For others, the canvas of the desktop will always be preferred as the best way to fully express the breadth, depth and potential functionality of advanced visualisation work – the mobile version will be where the compromise exists. This was expressed to some degree by Scott Klein (in Oct 2014) when describing ProPublica’s tactics for translating desktop projects onto mobile being either to ‘smallify or simplify’. NPR’s Brian Boyer recently tweeted the notion of “small multiples on desktop, gifs on your phone” when discussing this Walmart project. The DearDesignStudent

I really loved reading the growing collection of articles in the ‘advice publication’ Dear Design Student, launched by editors Mike Monteiro, Jennifer Daniel and several others (not to relegate their role, Mike and Jennifer are just the names through which I learned about it). The intention of Dear Design Student is to offer “advice on design from people who work for a living” and whilst it goes far beyond the boundaries of data visualisation – design in general – and is aimed at those beginning or thinking about launching their journey into this world, there is already tons of wisdom that is useful for anyone. With a growing band of contributing writers hopefully the initial momentum will be maintained and the excellent content will continue. Send them questions and they will answer…

4. Mike Bostock’s New Chapter

Bostock

This is probably the epitome of a ‘significant development’. One of the biggest news items so far in 2015 was the Twitter announcement from Mike, made on May the 4th (oh, I see what he did there…), that he was leaving the New York Times graphics team to spend his time developing visualisation tools: “It’s hard to go beyond incremental maintenance of open-source projects while publishing on deadline. Long thoughts take time. And there’s still lots of room for improvement in visualization tools, particularly for discovery. Need less arcana, better interaction. Don’t have the answer yet, but it’s what I want to focus on. So, here I go. Adventure!”. Given Mike’s track record and seismic contributions to the field already one can only be rather excited at the prospect. Good luck Mike!

5. Guardian Graphics

TheGuardian

Over the past few ’10 significant’ collections I have profiled the quality of work coming from the Washington Post and the Financial Times, now it is the turn of The Guardian, and specifically the UK operation. It wasn’t so long ago that the dynamic work and profile of the Guardian Data Blog was hugely influencing the prominence of the data-driven movement away from the fringes and increasingly into mainstream consciousness. Following the departures of significant names responsible for the newspaper’s growth on this front and also for its most celebrated visual output (such as Simon Rogers, Michael Robinson and Alastair Dant, to name but a few), it would be fair to say the Guardian’s UK work (the US team kept the momentum going) dropped somewhat off the radar for 2-3 years. The London visuals team have now re-emerged helped by some class signings bolstering existing talents such as Aron Pilhofer, Xaquín González Veira, Feilding Cage, Carlo Zapponi, Giulio Frigieri, Cath Levett, Pablo Gutiérrez, and Daan Louter as well as several others I’m sure to have forgotten. Their work before, during, and after the UK Election was particularly outstanding. My only wish would be that they create a single place to collect and publish all their work as most other newspapers have done…

6. Writer’s Block

SmallMedia

I thought this was a beautifully designed and astutely judged project looking at the story of censorship in Iran and produced by the team at Small Media. Aside from the evidently deep research that went into curating the content – in what I can imagine is a data-dark topic – the interactive digital version is a real joy to work through, with innovation and astute flourishes coming out of every pore. There is also a printable report version which is wonderful to see being offered as an alternative package. Do yourself a favour and give yourself time to fully consume the content of the project, not just skimming the design surface.

7. Mike Monteiro IxDA Talk

MikeMonteiro

A second entry for Mike Monteiro in this list. Titled ’13 Ways Designers Screw Up Client Presentations’, I found this Keynote Mike gave at Interaction Design Association 2015 conference offered some extremely valuable insights. Whether you are working as a freelancer or studio/agency or even just in an organisational setting with ‘internal’ clients, this talk will give you some super helpful tips. For those with no patience to watch a 1hr video, here is a companion article available on Medium.

8. Dear Data

DearData

Another entry that contains ‘Dear…’ something in the title (is that a meta-trend in itself?). Dear Data is a lovely, year-long ‘artisan’ visualisation project by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec that explores “how two girls who switched continents get to know each other through a collection of handmade postcards: small data-driven self-portraits they draw and send across the pond each week”. Using postcards as their canvas, they hand draw visual depictions about the weekly themes they select based on the primary data they collect. Pen pals for the modern age.

9. Design/Redesign

DesignRedesign

The nature of criticism in data visualisation is something that has been a concern to me for a few years now (2012 article). For the field to develop then constructive critique is absolutely, well, critical. However, I do believe we collectively, as a field, need to be better at delivering on the key word there – constructive. Maybe due to the nature of Twitter being so popular for data visualisation content discussions yet offering a relatively poor platform for holding conversations especially with nuanced debate we have veered off track a little again. This excellent piece by Fernanda and Martin presents some really valuable critique of the standard of criticism in the field and I urge everyone to read it and practice what it recommends. “We need more criticism, and redesign is an essential part of visualization criticism. But with so much of it happening on the web — in public, instantly in view of everyone involved, available to the world without context or preparation — it can be a difficult process. In this [article] our goal has been to start a conversation about how criticism can be most productive, and cause the least stress, for those involved.” Let me emphasise the word collectively – I certainly recognise that I need to do a hell of a lot better myself at this and this recent post was an attempt to demonstrate this.

10. What is code?

WhatIsCode

An outstanding article that, simply put, answers the question it poses by providing deep historical, practical, and technical insights that make it a truly accessible read for the non-expert and enlightening even for the expert, I’m sure. It is a long read – 31,558 words to be precise – but for any non-programming data visualiser out there it offers a wonderful entry point into this world and is well worth your time.

Special mentions…

Here are the other highlights from the first half of 2015 that deserve a special mention:

America Changes Its Mind | There’s something about this project that really struck a chord with me. I just thought it was such a clear and well-executed profile of the interesting dynamics of change in the US covering some of the most compelling current topics of concern.

On Repeat | A consecutive yearly mention for one of Lena Groeger’s talks. Last year I loved her ‘Wee things’ presentation at OpenVisConf 2014, this year she followed up with another excellent topic titled ‘That’s the power of loops‘. The main link for this special mention points to the follow-up article that includes so many brilliant examples.

Statistical Atlas of the United States | Great project from Nathan Yau to recreate the Statistical Atlas, historically produced by the Census Bureau until cuts took hold, using data from the 2010 Census and deliberately employing similar ‘vintage’ styling to the original from 1874.

Mr Chart Maker | I wasn’t there in person but heard so many echoes of ‘wow’ following coverage of NICAR 2015 about from Gregor Aisch’s lightning talk where he presented his Mr Chart Maker tool, developed internally for creating charts at TheUpshot. Sadly, I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for this to be Open Source, not through a lack of will but down to the incredible amount of hidden work that goes into such developments. This does seem indicative of a trend for some organisations to construct their own in-house chart-making products.