10 significant visualisation developments: July to December 2014

To mark the milestone of each mid-year and end-of-year I take a reflective glance over the previous 6 month period in the data visualisation field and compile a collection of some of the most significant developments. These are the main projects, celebrated events, new sites, emerging trends, key 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 2014 and now I’d like to reflect on the second half of 2014. I look forward to hearing your suggestions for the developments you believe have been most significant.

And so, as ever, in no particular order…

1. ProPublica’s ‘Losing Ground’


Developed in partnership between ProPublica and The Lens (as well as several other partners), Losing Ground is a simply immense project, one that integrates the best of visualisation, astute journalism, and stunning satellite and photo imagery to present the extreme state of coastal land being lost across the Southeastern region of Lousiana. The project offers big picture perspectives from as far away as 30,000ft right down to individual stories of locals affected by the issues. Here is a behind-the-scenes Q&A with Scott Klein, Assistant Managing Editor, and Al Shaw, News Application Developer – two of the protagoanists behind this exceptional work.

2. Junk Charts


This is more a recognition of sustained high quality than anything that has necessarily significantly ‘changed’ during the past 6 months. The relentlessly valuable (and prolific) critical analysis and makeover work from Kaiser Fung on his Junk Charts site has to be applauded. His contribution to the field is significant, shining a light on the bad and the wrong, and offering a path to the good and the right.

3. NYT’s ‘The Most Detailed Maps You’ll See From the Midterm Elections’


‘Wowsers’ would probably suffice as a summary, but let me offer a little extra. Published for the US midterm elections, this work offered a simply incredible collection of interactive, zoomable maps displaying the story behind some of the closest Senate races at uber-detailed precinct resolution (the smallest level of detail election result reporting). Sure, there will have been plenty of hard preparation work going on in the lead up to the election night but, still, to launch this quality of work, with such ambition in its form and in a real-time context, is mind-blowing.

4. Great designs utilising nothings, blanks, nulls and zeros


As most readers will be aware, I’ve spent a not-insignificant amount of time this year talking about nothing: my intrigue into the possibilities and challenges of visualising the invisible. Well, the radar has continued blipping away and I’ve really been struck by three further projects in recent months. I therefore thought I’d lump them all into one single entry in this collection as they are all great in different ways. Firstly, technically from earlier in the year, I Remember is a project aiming to help fight Alzheimers disease. It literally lives off memories submitted through photographs and captions but if new memories are not submitted it starts to remove older ones. Secondly, the Hunger Report’s Missing Data uses gaps in photo imagery to represents the data gaps that exist across the developing crountries against the United Nations set of 52 indicators relating to women’s empowerment. Finally, the LA Times ‘Unclaimed Remains‘ campaign to try identify the names of the 1428 unclaimed remains at the L.A. County Cemetery ahead of a planned mass ceremony in early December. Jolly good stuff.

5. Zeit Online’s ‘A Nation Divided’


For any journalism organisation facing up to a major historical anniversary there are no doubt all sorts of pressures swirling around like ‘this needs to be the best’, ‘this needs to be different to what we’ve done before’, and, crucially, ‘this needs to be different to what others might do’. I’m sure these were factors faced by the graphics team at Zeit Online, the digital sister publication of “Germany’s most widely read weekly paper”, when the 25th anniversary of the German reunification arrived. Led by Sascha Venohr and Paul Blickle (to pick out just two names) the team responded with a wonderful pair of projects in the shape of ‘A Nation Divided‘ (original German version) and ‘Charting Germany‘, which formed part of the ‘paper’s anniversary coverage. A pair of innovative and informative visualisation works (the former providing inspiration for some of the graphics in this WaPo piece) that offer a perfect blend of exploratory and explanatory experiences. Here is a short video interview with Paul about their design process.

6. Eric Rodenbeck’s Eyeo talk


I came across this talk only a few weeks ago but Eric Rodenbeck’s “And Then There Were Twelve” Eyeo talk is a mixtape of compelling, refreshingly honest and sobering insights into his experiences at Stamen. ‘How to (keep) running a successful data visualization and design studio’ is the talk subtitle and in the course of 40 minutes or so we learn about a star agency having to grow and evolve against a context of the ebb and flow of personnel changes and a shifting marketplace around it.

7. Christopher Ingraham


I name-checked Christopher in my previous 6-monthly roundup but I feel he needs to occupy a bullet-pointed place on this list all by himself, such has been the ongoing development of his brand of data journalism work these past few months. From the curioso to the quirky to the current, his wide-ranging and prolific output for the Washington Post emulates the energy and quality that typified the golden period of the Guardian data blog of about 3 years ago.

8. FT Data


FT Data is a “collaborative effort from journalists across the Financial Times working in data journalism, statistics and data visualisation”. Essentially it is the place where the FT’s visualisation work lives and over the past year I’ve seen a growing range and quality of output with people like Martin Stabe and particularly John Burn-Murdoch responsible for some excellent interactive work and analysis. There has been some especially good work exploring sports-related topics through the ‘Baseline‘ series. Looking forward to seeing more great work during 2015.

9. New educational opportunities


Two announcements over the past months should whet the appetite for folks looking at opportunities to study data visualisation and its sibling subject areas. Firstly, the Graduate Center at CUNY announced it had been awarded a multimillion-dollar grant to establish ‘The CUNY Center for Digital Scholarship and Data Visualization’. The Center will ‘train graduate students and employees from the public and private sectors in visualization techniques’. Secondly, an exciting new offering from the School of Communication at the University of Miami through its launch of a new Data Journalism and Visualization track within the MFA in Interactive Media beginning in the Fall (UK translation: Autumn) of 2015. Alberto Cairo (newly appointed ‘Knight Chair in Visual Journalism‘, congrats!) will be one of the lead Faculty members designing and delivering this new programme.

10. Ramon Martinez


Its been a year full of dreadful news events and world affairs, with the ebola outbreak in Western Africa one of the enduring themes. There has been plenty of coverage across all news media outlets but nobody has done more to offer a rigorous and accessible analytical window into this issue than Ramon Martinez through his zen-mastery Tableau work published on his Health Intelligence blog. Ramon was the first person I saw publishing visualisations about this issue and he’s kept on top of it throughout the cycle of growth, fear, misinformation and then the inevitable post-hype decline in coverage. He’s also a smashing guy too.

Special mentions…

Here are the other highlights from the second half of 2014 that deserve a special mention:

World Chat Clock | A super elegant and (importantly) mega useful world clock device by Dark Horse Analytics that let’s you work out the optimum times for holding meetings across different world cities.

Norway’s new banknotes | A little bit of data visualisation design makes its way on to the beautiful new design for Norway’s banknotes created by Snøhetta.

Phillipp Adrian | On the 9th November 2012 at exactly 14:47:36, 5522 tweets were posted across the world. The #oneSecond project preserves the data of one moment on Twitter and presents it categorised, ordered and visualised across four books.

The Graphic Continuum | Jon Schwabish and Severino Ribecca’s excellent work to create a visual taxonomy of a range of common chart types, available as a convenient and attractive poster.

Poppy Field | Interactive version of Poppy Field by Valentina D’Efilippo and Nicolas Pigelet that achieved some great exposure during the recent milestone of the 100 year anniversary since the start of the first World War.

Pianogram | Such a brilliantly simple and simply brilliant concept. Use the apparatus of a piano and make bar charts out of the keys to reflect the frequency of notes used in a series of pieces of music.

Quartz | A really excellent project by David Yanofsky and Tim Fernholz to visualise ‘every active satellite orbiting Earth’

Data Viz Process | A valuable project by Scott Murray to research and distill the ‘Keys to a Successful Data Design Process’

Giorgia Lupi | Sneaking into the qualifying period by a single day, this is such a beautifully conceived and executed annotated slidedeck titled ‘The shapes of my thoughts’, exploring Giorgia’s passion for drawing and its influence on her data visualisation work.

Best of the visualisation web… November 2014

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 2014.


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

Datalooksdope | On the premise that bigger words determines the perceived complexity of a piece of writing, this shows portrayals of different passages using bubbles instead of words (also tons of other interesting stuff)

Hunger Report | Impactive work that shows how much data is missing on different groups around the world

BBC Magazine | ’12 data maps that sum up London’

Tableau Public | Ben Jones offers an interactive Tableau map showing the ‘Railroads of the Contiguous United States’

Aviz | ‘Bertifier is a Web app for rapidly creating tabular visualizations from spreadsheets.’

Dataphys | A chronological ‘list of physical visualizations and related artifacts’

Bloomberg | Interesting dataset: ‘What companies are the market leaders within each industry?’

Charting the Beatles | ‘Song Structure: How did the form of Beatles songs evolve?’

Popular Science | ‘Cocktail calculus chart: The inner workings of recipes’

Data Pointed | ‘Crayon The Grids: Maps Of Street Layouts Colored By Orientation’

bsix12 | ‘East Meets West: An Infographic Portrait by Yang Liu’

The Guardian | All sorts of US mid-term election coverage goodness. Starting with the ‘Are you reflected in the new congress?’

New York Times | Something of a masterpiece. ‘The Most Detailed Maps You’ll See From the Midterm Elections’

WNYC | Super breakdown of the elections by WNYC, particularly with their comparisons for small differences in voting numbers for context

New York Times | ‘How Big Were Tuesday’s Republican Swings?’

Twitter Blog | ‘Interactive guide: the midterms’ web of influence on Twitter’

FastCo Design | Here’s a summary of ‘The Best Visualizations Of Yesterday’s Elections’

Washington Post | ‘Did Michael Brown charge? Eyewitnesses paint a muddled picture’

Friends in Space | Accurat’s project visualises the activity on ‘the first social network that extends beyond Earth’

BBC Science & Environment | ‘Rosetta mission: Can you land on a comet?’

New York Times | ‘Landing on a Comet, 317 Million Miles From Home’

Joey Cloud | The Pianogram: ‘how often each key gets pressed relative to the rest for a given piano piece. It is a piano-looking histogram!’

La Sombra Blogs | ‘Between two oceans’ – exploring the idea of uniting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans via Nicaragua

ABC | ‘Map: 2010 Victorian election results like you’ve never seen them’

NPR | ‘New Players In The NBA: Big Data, User-Controlled Jumbotrons’

Poppyfield | Interactive version of Poppy Field by Valentina D’Efilippo and Nicolas Pigelet

LA Times | Interesting scatter plot showing ‘S.F. crime rate jumps while L.A. sees drop’

Scrollytelling | Collection of visual projects that encapsulate the idea of ‘scrollytelling’

Pinterest | ‘FT Graphics and design: A showcase for the most interesting, quirky and informative graphics, illustrations and page designs from the Financial Times’

Github | and… a collection of John Burn-Murdoch’s interactive works for the FT

ProPublica | ‘The Millions New York Counties Coulda Got’

Alllesss | Elegant collection of data art generated by tracing mouse movements

Culturegraphy | Explore the connections and influences between movies

The Upshot | ‘Who Would Have Health Insurance if Medicaid Expansion Weren’t Optional’


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

Junk Charts | Good profile of a brilliant front page NYT election chart

Wannabe Data Rockstar | ‘An inconvenient truth : Tableau is not a swiss army knife’

FastCo Design | ‘Ex-Googler On 4 Ways Designers Can Help The Working World Master Big Data’

Nautilus | ‘Five Ways to Lie with Charts’

Graphics Info | Nice summary by Simon looking back over his first year as Deputy Head of Graphics at ThomsonReuters

Policyviz | Jon discusses how ‘Sometimes a table is preferred to a graphic.’

Us Two | ‘The future of our past, or how to build a time machine’ (check out the xbox story)

Eager Eyes | ‘VIS 2014 Observations and Thoughts’

Learning & Development

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

Gravy Anecdote | Terrific month-long 12-post series by Andy Cotgreave deconstructing the design choices for an internal Tableau contest

Junk Charts | Typically good analysis by Kaiser about the reorganisation required with an infographic

UW Graphics Group | Overview of the paper exploring alternate approaches to error bars

Dominikus | Slides and code from Dominikus’ and Moritz Stefaner’s tutorial at IEEE Vis 2014 ‘Everything except the chart’

Drawing with Numbers | ‘Getting Good at Tableau – the Screencast’

HCI Stanford | Paper: ‘The Value of Visualization’ by Jarke van Wijk

Bost.ocks | ‘How to Scroll: five rules for employing scrolling effectively’

National Geographic | ‘Goldilocks worlds: just right for life?’

Mapbox | ‘Making the most detailed tweet map ever’

Youtube | ‘The Art of Storyboarding with Ridley Scott’

Youtube | TEDTalk by Susan Etlinger: ‘What do we do with all this big data?’

University of Miami | ‘Nigel Holmes’ talk on humor and infographics’

Pinboard | Very useful collection of pinned articles, projects and other content saved over the years by Jane Pong

Sunlight Foundation | Collection of useful tools around information to do with political matters

Nature Graphics | One of several typically excellent design process posts from Nature, this one is about a Comet Landing graphic

Nature Graphics | …here’s another, this time about a graphic on The Great Depression

Medium | ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa: A metaphor on the diversity of visualization’ by Manuel Lima

Vimeo | ‘Tutorial – Visualization Analysis and Design’ by Tamara Munzner for a IEEE Vis 2014 Tutorial’

Andy Woodruff | ‘Value-by-alpha Maps: An Alternative Technique to the Cartogram’

Subject News

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

Information is Beautiful Awards | As the title suggests, here are the 2014 winners and runners up in recent awards process

The Guardian | ‘Crazy paving: the twisted world of parquet deformations’

iVisDesigner | New Platform: ‘iVisDesigner stands for Information Visualization Designer, which is a platform in which users can interactively create customized information visualization designs for a wide range of data structure’

IBM | ManyEyes gets another little reboot…

The Marshall Project | New site: ‘The Marshall Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization covering America’s criminal justice system’

CartoDB | ‘Unlimited map views start today!’


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

PSFK | ‘Japanese Cartographers Create Printable 3D Maps for the Blind’

Meshu | New range of data jewellery and other data driven sculptured products…

Monochrome | …And this also from Rachel Binx allows you to print a custom map on arrange of clothing items

The Poke | ‘Richard Scarry’s Busy Town Jobs For The 21st Century’

Type Genius | ‘Find the perfect font combo for your next project’

FastCo Design | ‘Where Do Designers Go To Work After College?

Earth Pics | ‘9 funny and vintage ads for modern technology’

nuSchool | ‘Your Free Design Work Will End Up In The Trash’

YouGov | A free app to showcase YouGov’s profiles, a segmentation and media planning tool

Best of the visualisation web… October 2014

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 2014.


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

Bloomberg Politics | ‘A Really Small Slice of Americans Get to Decide Who Will Rule the Senate’

FastCo Design | ‘An Interactive Map Of Manhattan’s Mega Urban Expansion’

The Guardian | ‘Bike accidents mapped – five years of cycling crashes in Melbourne’

Faces of Fracking | ‘California’s Getting Fracked: Everything oil companies aren’t telling you about the extent of fracking in California, and what it means for your food, water, and health.’

Big Think | ’40 Ways to Carve Up England’

Die Zeit | ‘Charting Germany: Tracking a nation’s changes

Die Zeit | ‘The Divided Country’ – more great work from Paul and the team exploring the changes (or lack of) across German since reunification 25 years ago

Climaps | ‘This website presents the results of the EU research project EMAPS… an experiment to use computation and visualization to harness the increasing availability of digital data and mobilize it for public debate’

Infovis Postdam | Visualisation of a collection of over 7 million cultural objects from the German Digital library (in German)

FT | Interesting mapping to show the digital divide in the US and how it ‘exacerbates inequality’

Think Visible | ‘Equal population mapper: a perspective on density’

Animated Data | Interactive visualisation of the careers of F1 drivers based on their achievements at different ages

The Variable Tree | ‘Anatomy of an Emerging Knowledge Network: The Zapnito Graph Vizualized’

Bloomberg | ‘Why Governors in Tight Races Should Be Talking Jobs, Jobs, Jobs’

Jerome Cukier | Jerome returns to public action with some visual exploration into the ‘slopes of San Francisco’

SCMP | Infographic about ‘China’s high-speed rail vision’

Christian Warnow | Interactive Sankey diagram portraying the ‘German lobbying complex’

The Guardian | ‘Exposing the ‘independent’ campaign ads that aren’t, really’

New York Times | ‘How Likely Is It That Birth Control Could Let You Down?’

FT | ‘Surface tension in tennis’ – analysing the different performance levels of top tennis players across the different playing surfaces

New York Times | ‘The Most Detailed Maps You’ll See From the Midterm Elections’

PMCruz | A brilliantly bonkers ‘ecosystem of Corporate Politicians in Portugal 1975-2013’

SCMP | Long form graphically rich article: ‘Tigers and Flies: How two years of graft probes have shaken China’s political elite’

FastCo Design | ‘The Daily Routines Of 26 Of History’s Most Creative Minds’

Urban Layers | ‘Urban Layers: Explore the structure of Manhattan’s urban fabric’

New York Times | ‘Watch 10,000 League of Legends Games in 30 Seconds’

Pro Publica | ‘Where Congress Stands on Guns’

World Pop | Series of flow maps linked to the topic of ebola – ‘The WorldPop project provides detailed and open access population distribution datasets built using transparent approaches’

Tableau Public | ‘The changing language of freedom’

Chartball | ‘Who are the NFL’s most active players?’

Reuters Graphics | ‘114 Years of Nobel Laureates’

Washington Post | ‘If you’re on the beach, this map shows you what’s across the ocean’

Souvenir | ‘Souvenir is an app for visualizing leisure travel.’

Quartz | ‘The world above us: This is every active satellite orbiting Earth’


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

Rev Square | ‘RevSquare’s infographics team, Samuel and Juan Velasco, share the secrets behind transforming complex data into easy-to-understand visuals.’

New York Times | ‘A Golden Age of Design: Thanks to a convergence of creativity, technology and big money, the heyday of the field may finally be upon us.’

AIGA | ‘Nigel Holmes on using humour to illustrate data that tells a story’

Simply Stats | ‘An interactive visualization to teach about the curse of dimensionality’

BBC News | ‘Ebola: Can big data analytics help contain its spread?’

Wired | ‘The Cartographer Who’s Transforming Map Design’ – interview with Cindy Brewer

Fast Company | ‘Design thinking.. what is that?’

FastCo Design | …but before you get too excited by the possibilities, here’s ‘The Trouble With Design Thinking’

Ghostweather R&D | Great roundup of ‘Recent Text Analytics and Vis Work’

Visual.ly | ‘How Audio Can Help Communicate Time Data’

FastCo Design | ‘Inside The Design Of Norway’s Beautiful New Banknotes’

Quartz | …and here are some of the designs that were rejected

Graphitti | Article discussing the challenges, solutions and middle-ground of designing interactive visualisations to work mobile

ADC Global | Discussing the reactions to a very ‘white’ line up of winners of ADC’s Young Guns 12 competition

Creative Bloq | ‘The importance of data in design’

The Functional Art | ‘Don’t call yourself an infographics designer if what you do is data decoration’

Fast Company | ‘The Guardian Rolls Out A Redesign, With Input From Thousands Of Readers’

Under the Raedar | ‘How we read maps and dataviz – new research needed?’

Fast Company | ‘Two Designers’ Quest To Create The Magazine “The Beautiful Game” Deserves’

Wired | ‘This Guy’s Quest to Track Every Shot in the NBA Changed Basketball Forever’

Medium | ‘Whale Song Explained: Humpbacks synchronize their music across oceans, and there’s sheet music to prove it.’

Learning & Development

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

Shaded Relief | ‘Shaded Relief: Ideas and Techniques about Relief Presentation on Maps’

Simon Rogers | Simon serves up ‘The five Ws of data journalism’

Under the Raedar | Tutorial for ‘Flow mapping with QGIS’

Nature Graphics | Breaking down the design challenge and solution for the ‘Top 100 Papers’ graphic

Practical Typography | Wonderful resource for learning more about typography

Subject News

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

Eager Eyes | Bravo to Robert on 8 years of Eagereyes!

Journalism.co.uk | ‘Guardian forms new editorial teams to enhance digital output’

The Information Capital | New book: ‘The Information Capital’, by James Cheshire – ‘One hundred portraits of an old city in a very new way’

Juice Analytics | New book: ‘Data Fluency’, by Zach Gemignani and Chris Gemignani

Information is Beautiful | New book: ‘Knowledge is Beautiful’, by David McCandless

Alex Singleton | New book: ‘Transport Map Book’, by Alex Singleton – ‘The Transport Map Books are available for each local authority district in England and present a series of maps related to commuting behaviour’

Amazon | Another new book! ‘Understanding the World: The Atlas of Infographics’, by Sandra Rendgen and Julius Wiedemann

DataCracy | New site: ‘DataCracy: A social network to quickly share data driven arguments. Through simple plots.’

Best of the visualisation web… September 2014

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 2014.


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

PolicyViz | Developed by Jon Schwabish and Severino Ribecca, the Graphic Continuum poster is “a view of the many different types of visualizations available to us when we encode and present data”

Ben Schmidt | ‘Bookworm: Simpsons’ – “Search across every word from 25 years of the Simpsons by episode, season, or even time within in the episode.”

TheUpshot | Updated weekly: ‘Mapping the Spread of Drought Across the U.S’

Periscopic | ‘A World of Terror: Exploring the reach, frequency and impact of terrorism around the world’

Christoph Viau | ‘The Big List of
D3.js Examples’

ProPublica | Multi-media interactive project called ‘Losing Ground’ – “In 50 years, most of southeastern Louisiana not protected by levees will be part of the Gulf of Mexico”

New York Times | ‘342,000 Swings Later, Derek Jeter Calls It a Career’

Colors of Motion | Exploring the use of colour in movies

The Independent | ’47 per cent of London is green space: Is it time for our capital to become a national park?’

FastCo Design | ‘App Turns NYC Subway Maps Into Interactive Data Visualizations’

Thomson Reuters | ‘Heavy metal
pollution in China’

Scientific American | ‘How Nations Fare in PhDs by Sex’

I-Remember | ‘Sharing memories to fight Alzheimers disease’ – the site starts to disappear unless new memories are added

FastCo Design | ‘Mankind’s Greatest Architectural Achievements Since Prehistory’

Thomson Reuters | The first of several projects about the voting during the Scotland Independence Referendum…

BBC | …another one showing the final results

Guardian | …and another one from the Guardian

Washington Post | ‘Since 1978, Congress has worked a full week 14 percent of the time’

Washington Post | Great long-form digital reporting ‘The night bullets hit the White House — and the Secret Service didn’t know’

Data to Display | ‘The Premier League in small multiples’

The Vizioner | ‘Visualizing A Problem from Hell – The Effect of War and Genocide’

Under the Raedar | ‘A national map of cycling to work’

Stefanie Posavec | ‘I was commissioned by the V&A alongside 19 other designers and illustrators to illustrate a section of a short story written by Hari Kunzru’

Infosthetics | ‘Visualizing Publicly Available US Government Data Online’

New York Times | ‘Ebola Facts: Where Are the Most New Cases Being Reported?’ (updated daily)

Gizmodo | ‘What’s the Best Visualization of the Internet You’ve Ever Seen?’


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

Scientific American | ‘Art and Science of the Moiré’

Tow Center | ‘Behind “Losing Ground” II: Q&A with Scott Klein and Al Shaw of ProPublica’

Eager Eyes | ‘Beyond the Knee-Jerk Reaction’ – my joint-favourite article of the month from Robert Kosara

Junk Charts | ‘Exquisite chart by-of-for academics’

Huffington Post | ‘False Visualizations: When Journalists Get Data Viz Wrong’

Juice | ‘Fantasy Football is Teaching Data Fluency’

NewScientist | ‘Imagination: Our greatest skill’

Washington Post | ‘The states most threatened by trade’

MediaKar | ‘Interview with Bloomberg insider: How things work at Visual Data team’

Michael Babwahsingh | ‘The game of knowledge’

Eager Eyes | ‘My Favorite Charts’

Harvard | Paper: ‘UpSet: Visualization of Intersecting Sets’

GeekWire | Summary of Tableau CEO Christian Chabot Keynote on why data analysts are like artists: “The creative problem solvers of the modern era”

Sheila Pontis | ‘The Power of Information’

VizNinja | ‘Thoughts from (Paul’s first) Tableau Conference 2014’

Learning & Development

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

FastCo Design | ‘How Much Should You Charge For Design Work?’

FastCo Design | …and ‘How Top Startups Pay Designers’

DataRemixed | ‘How to Make Small Multiple Maps in Tableau’

Datavisualization.ch | My other joint-favourite article of the month about how Interactive Things created a series of refined color scales for interactive charts and visualizations

CartoDB | ‘How-to guides: Learning Data Visualization’

Data Revelations | ‘Likert vs. Likert on a Scatterplot’

YouTube | ‘Isabel Meirelles – Learning from Constraints in Visualizations of Information’

YouTube | ‘From Storytelling to Storylistening: John Maeda (Future of StoryTelling 2014)’

ProPublica | ‘Podcast: How ‘Wee Things’ Make a Big Difference in Design’

Relief Shading | ‘The Relief Shading website is intended to give cartographers, map enthusiasts, and students in-depth information about shaded relief.’

YouTube | ‘Windmap; an animated map of global wind’ – talk by Cameron Beccario at The Graphical Web 2014

Lynda | ‘Data Visualization Fundamentals with Bill Shander’

JSConf | ‘Dominikus Baur: Web-based data visualization on mobile devices’

Subject News

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

FT Baseline | New weekly feature on the FT Data blog covering the topic of sports statistics

100 Years of Brinton | Andy Cotgreave’s ode to Willard C Brinton, marking 100 years since he (Brinton, not Cotgreave) wrote the first book on data visualisation best practice

Tableau | Some amazing data art concepts in this: ‘Destination Data – Viz as Art contest finalists & voting’

Amazon | New book: ‘Infographics Designers’ Sketchbooks’, by Steven Heller and Rick Landers’

Google Books | Newly discovered classic book: ‘Information Design: An Introduction’, by Rune Pettersson

The Register | ‘iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah [and a small bit of oh boy] for 3D graphics!’

Web Pro News | ‘LinkedIn discontinues InMaps visualization tool’

FastCo Design | ‘New Data Visualization Tool Helps You Fight The Man’

FastCo Design | ‘Pioneering Design Consultancy Berg To Shut Down’

Tabletop Whale | New Site: Wonderful blog demonstrating the very best of science illustration, including some amazing animated infographic work

Tableau Wannabe Podcast | New Podcast: Introducing the ‘Tableau Wannabe Podcast’ hosted by Matt Francis and Emily Kund

New York Times | ‘Tibco Software Agrees to Sell Itself to a Private Equity Firm for $4.3 Billion’


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 | Are you still on the bus?

Extension 765 | Steven Soderbergh brings to light the brilliance of the ‘Staging’ in Raiders of the Lost Ark

philogb | ‘Color Decomposition: Visualize frame by frame color decomposition.’

FastCo Design | ‘Filmmaker Creates World’s Most Terrifying Traffic Intersection’

Collider | If only there was a map that showed Liam Neeson’s kill patterns (in movies, not real life)… well guess what?

New York Times | ‘Inside the Quartet’

FastCo Create | ‘See how colorful beer can be with cans that show the brew’s proper pantone color’

YouTube | ‘Type Safari with James Victore’

Bezier Method | ‘The Bézier Game: A game to help you master the pen tool’

Twitter | ‘Question of the day’

Design Fails | ‘Thomson Reuters Venn diagram fail’

Best of the visualisation web… August 2014

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 2014.


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

PRB | Long form visualisation about the World Population: 2014 and beyond.

Shoothill | ‘The Shoothill GaugeMap is the first interactive map with live river level data from over 2,400 Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales river level gauges in England and Wales.’

Vallandingham | ‘Visualizing The Racial Divide’

Infoamazonia | ‘Fires in the Amazon’

LiquidLandscape | ‘LiquidLandscape is a real-time data infrastructure specifically designed to process live market data feeds’

Medium | ‘Matter: The terrifying true story of the garbage that could kill the whole human race’…

National Geographic | …and this, ‘First of Its Kind Map Reveals Extent of Ocean Plastic’

Circular World | ‘Welcome to our growing collection of
interactive circular migration plots coded with d3.js’

See, Also | ‘A collection of visualization projects built on Wikipedia data’

Creative Applications | ‘FuelBand Fibers – Visualizing training data with Plask’

TheUpshot | ‘Mapping Migration in the United States – Where people who lived in each state in 2012 were born’

FastCo Design | ‘It Takes 4,500 Pages To Analyze And Archive One Second Of Twitter’

SCMP | ‘Infographic: The Premier League back in action… our in-depth guide to the world’s most popular football league’

Small Multiples | ‘A visualisation platform for tracking election promises’

LA Times | ‘Infographic 196 drought maps reveal just how thirsty California has become’

Feltron | The ‘2013 Annual Report’

Wall Street Journal | ‘Surveying the Destruction in Gaza’

Washington Post | ‘Where police forces don’t resemble the community’

TheUpshot | ‘Where We Came From and Where We Went, State by State’. Great project, just wish there I could buy some mugs with these custom images on them…(hint *)

Alasdair Rae | ‘Commuting by Rail, England and Wales, 2011’

Weather Browser | ‘Weather Browser is an interactive tool to visually look up and compare detailed weather data.’

The Upshot | ‘Special Sauce for Measuring Food Trends: The Fried Calamari Index’

The Guardian | ‘Beyond the border: A partnership between The Texas Observer and the Guardian’

Vizzuality | ’50 Years of concerts of The Rolling Stones: An interactive map of their live-show story’

Rainscapes | ‘Weather on the west coast has radically different densities and patterns. This heat-map gives a comprehensive view of all states trends through the considered time span.’

Washington Post | ‘What you don’t know about Africa, according to our readers’ quiz’

Visual Loop | ‘Portfolio of the Week – Johnathan Lozano’

Child Lives Map | Project exploring stories of improvements in child mortality around the world

Population.io | ‘What’s your place in the world population?’ (I’m currently number 4,453,826,191)

Erik Kwakkel | ‘A glove to find your way in 19th-century London’

Über Research | ‘Visual funding portfolios allow us to compare the funding profiles of funders and funded institutions at a glance.’

Vizual Statistix | ‘The pitch and width of airplane seats’

FastCo Design | ‘This Is The Very First Electoral Map Dividing The U.S. Into Red States And Blue States’

NPR | ‘A Fascinating Look Inside Those 1.1 Million Open-Internet Comments’


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

Metrico | Review of Metrico – ‘a puzzle-platformer inspired by the aesthetics of infographics.’

Phys Org | ‘Data-visualization tool identifies sources of aberrant results and recomputes visualizations without them’

Simon Rogers | ‘What data journalism told us about #Ferguson’

New York Times | ‘When Getting to a Body Count Takes More Than Math’

Source | ‘When the news calls for raw data: Thoughts on recent dataset postings from BuzzFeed and the New York Times’

Vox | ‘Why Obama won’t give the Ferguson speech his supporters want’

New York Times | Video interview, ‘Nicholas Felton: A Quantified Life’

Vimeo | Video: ‘A preview for the special Times of Oman Maracana Infographic pop-up for the World Cup 2014 finals.’

Cartonerd | ‘The reason for cartography’

Boing Boing | ‘Art in the Infographic Age’

Italia Design | Nice video profile about Giorgia Lupi and Accurat design

Medium | ‘Israel, Gaza, War & Data social networks and the art of personalizing propaganda’

Telling Information | ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts’

Governing | ‘City Finances and the Promise of Data Visualization’

Juice Analytics | ‘Common Myths Tied to Data Monetization’

Huffington Post | ‘False Visualizations: When Journalists Get Data Viz Wrong’

Learning & Development

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

Sapping Attention | ‘An early set of rules for graphic presentation by the Bureau of the Census from February 1915’

Source | Simon Rogers share details of ‘How (and why) we made Twitter reverb’

VizWiz | Following help given to Alberto Cairo, Andy Kriebel shares his tutorial for creating a connected scatterplot in Tableau

New York University School of Law | Paper: ‘The Persuasive Power of Data Visualization’

DataRemixed | ‘From GPS to Viz: Hiking Washington’s Trails’ – another great demonstration of Ben’s Tableau skills

Creative Bloq | ‘Design jargon explained: web design patterns’

ISTC | Paper: ‘Effects of Latency on Interactive Visual Analysis’

Hadley Wickham | Paper: ‘Graphical criticism: some historical notes’

Speaker Deck | Great talk slides, ‘The Keys to a Successful Data Design Process by Scott Murray’

Subject News

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

Mapbox | ‘Announcing Mapbox GL JS — a fast and powerful new system for web maps’

Well-Formed Data | Short announcement from Moritz about an intriguing sounding panel he’s moderating at IEEE VIS 2014

A Book Apart | Book: ‘Design is a Job’, by Mike Monteiro

Information is Beautiful | Book: ‘Knowledge is Beautiful’, by David McCandless

Infoactive | eBook: ‘Data + Design’, by Infoactive – ‘A simple introduction to preparing and visualizing information’

Hyphen Press | Book: ‘Isotype: design and contexts, 1925–1971’, edited by Christopher Burke, Eric Kindel, Sue Walker

CartoDB | ‘Welcome to the new CartoDB Editor, designed for the cartographer of the digital age’

Isomatic | Tool: ‘Isomatic: the automatic isotype tool’

CUNY | ‘The Graduate Center, City University of New York announced today it will establish the CUNY Center for Digital Scholarship and Data Visualization’


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

Guardian | ‘Accidental Renaissance: readers choose photos that look like Italian paintings’

DevArt | ‘DevArt is a celebration of art made with code by artists that push the possibilities of creativity – where technology is their canvas and code is their raw material’.

Creative Bloq | ‘The 100 best free fonts, from vintage-inspired typefaces to slap-you-in-the-face slab serifs, for Windows and Mac, for a range of design projects’

Zazzle | (Remember * from above?) Like mugs? Like NYT Graphics? Like mugs with NYT Graphics on them. Good news…

FastCo Design | ‘The World Trade Center Has A New, Very Confusing Logo’ (I disagree, like it)

New York Times | ‘Simplifying the Bull: How Picasso Helps to Teach Apple’s Style’

Scientific American | ‘Beyond Classic Brain Illustrations That Make Us Drool’

The Guardian | ‘Dizzying optical illusions by Akiyoshi Kitaoka – in pictures’ – The first one is bonkers

The Guardian | ‘Runner uses Nike+ app to draw penis’

Made By Evan | ‘WebGL Water’. Remember to get back to work at some point.

Google | Google Doodle celebrates John Venn’s 180th Birthday

BBC Technology | ‘An American academic is creating a searchable database of 12 million historical copyright-free images.’

xkcd | Pixels

Best of the visualisation web… July 2014

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 2014.


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

The O-C-R | New project for the July issue of Popular Science “a 4-page, 3,460-word visualization which tells the story of NASA’s history in the agency’s own words”.

Flickr | New work from Accurat portraying ‘Great gaps in the world of art auctions’

Cloud Red | ‘An Interactive Visualization of NYC Street Trees’

Guardian | ‘Where do atheists live? Maps show the ‘godless’ cities of England and Wales’

New York Times | ‘A Rogue State Along Two Rivers: How ISIS Came to Control Large Portions of Syria and Iraq’

Applied Works | ‘Tour de France Climbs – Maps & Data Explorations’

Isoscope | ‘Isoscope is an interactive tool that creates aesthetic visuals about locations that are reachable by car in a chosen time from a chosen location’

Statistics.gov.uk | ‘How WELL do you know YOUR area?’ – great participative/interactive project to challenge your local know-how (UK)

Medium | Probably the most useful visualisation of the month: ‘Pack like a nerd: Optimizing underwear’

OECD | ‘Find, compare and share the latest OECD data: charts, maps, tables and related publications’

Business Week | Neat use of a Sankey Diagram to show quantitative and geographical flow

Flowing Data | Collection of projects that provide ‘Explorations of People Movements’

Guardian | An interactive language and swearing map of Australia

BBC Future | ‘Flight Risk: Exploring fatal commercial passenger plane incidents since 1993

Behance | ‘Accurat has been working for months side by side with the United Nations Development Programme in the design of all the data visualizations, charts and visual contents of the Human Development Report 2014’

YouTube | ‘Charting Culture – This animation distils hundreds of years of culture into just five minutes’

SCMP | Infographic from Adolfo Arranz showing ‘The last days of rosewood’

NZZ | Plot showing how the Swiss population spends its day: on what activities, when and where

The Upshot | ‘How Birth Year Influences Political Views’

CartoDB | Nice demonstration of the use of CartoDB plotting geotagged tweets about the Tour de France Grand Depart in Yorkshire

National Geographic | ‘101 Years of Tour de France Globalization’

La Sombra Del Asno | Another piece from Adolfo Arranz detailing China’s manufacturing presence – ‘World Cup final, the winner is China’

April Zero | Beautifully designed site that tracks the life of Anand Sharma ‘For the past 171 days, I’ve been tracking everything about myself’

NYC Taxi | ‘NYC Taxis: A Day in the Life’ – “This visualization displays the data for one random NYC yellow taxi on a single day in 2013”

Bloomberg | ‘Graphic Language: The Curse of the CEO’

Washington Post | ‘Metro trains learn a new dance’

Guardian | ‘A global guide to the first world war – interactive documentary’

Chronicle | ‘Visualizing language usage in New York Times news coverage throughout its history’


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

FILWD | Enrico asks ‘How do you evaluate communication-oriented visualization?’

FastCo Design | ‘How To Draw Critical Design Insights From A Single Photograph’

Digital Publishing | Alan Smith discusses a new approach to visualising ONS data in the shape of the ‘How WELL do you know YOUR area?’ project

BBC News Magazine | ‘Small Data: Getting stuck on things or in things’

FastCo Design | ‘Watch: How Adobe Illustrator Changed Graphic Design’

Junk Charts | Kaiser discusses a big issue relating to the challenge of archiving in a digital age – ‘The unkind fate of data graphics in the media’

Fast Company | ‘New York Times Chief Data Scientist Chris Wiggins on the way we create and consume content now’

EagerEyes | ‘Putting Data into Context’ – “Raw numbers are easy to report and analyze, but without the proper context, they can be misleading.”

Visual.ly | Interview with three of Bloomberg Visual Data’s leading names

Well-Formed Data | Some notes from Moritz about the latest project he was involved in: The OECD Data Portal

Eager Eyes | ‘What is Data Journalism?’

FastCo Design | ’24 Of Design’s Most Important Principles, Animated’

Junk Charts | Excellent piece about ‘Interactivity as overhead’

Juice | Lovely article by James Lytle – ‘Visualization techniques we all knew at 4 years old’

HBR | ‘How to tell a great story’

Tableau | More storytelling-related content… this post for ‘Storytelling month’ by Matt Francis discusses ‘Telling tales with Tableau’

Storytelling with Data | … and his post by Cole Nussbaumer expresses the importance of three key words ‘Lead with Story’

Visualized | All the videos are up now from the 2014 Visualized conference

Earth Observatory | After 20 years Rob Simmon choses his favourite visualisations as he leaves NASA

FastCo Design | ‘Google Docs Gives Us A First Taste Of Google’s New Design Language’

Gestalten | ‘Juan Velasco Talks Infographics’ – “An interview about why we need data vizualisation, what it takes to create great infographics, and what it’s like to work at National Geographic”

PBS | ‘#EdShift Chat: Teaching Data Visualization’

ProPublica | ‘Podcast: What Design Can Do for Investigative Journalism’

FastCo Design | ‘UI, UX: Who Does What? A Designer’s Guide To The Tech Industry’

NiemanLab | ‘Alberto Cairo: Data journalism needs to up its own standards’

CIO Journal | ‘Germany’s 12th Man at the World Cup: Big Data’

Chez Voila | ’13 facts you didn’t know about the Minard map’

Visual.ly | ‘How to Easily Check Visualizations for Accuracy’

Markets For Good | ‘Making the World Look Simple’ – Nice article by Peter Grundy

MetroTrends Blog | ‘Maps need context’ article co-written by Jon Schwabish and Bryan Connor

Learning & Development

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

FastCo Design | ‘Behind The Scenes Of Design Observer’s New Look’

Source | Design narrative from Chris Canipe about the WSJ’s app for visualisation the tendencies of top football penalty takers.

Isoscope | Superb design narrative for the above project

Data Remixed | ‘Six Principles of Communicating Data: A Checklist’ taken from Ben’s book ‘Communicating Data with Tableau’

Source | Project narrative about how The Texas Tribune made ‘Disappearing Rio Grande’

After The Flood | Lovely piece from Max detailing the team’s work on four videos for the BBC’s 100th Anniversary of the outbreak of WWI

Giorgia Lupi | ‘The shapes of my thoughts’ was such a wonderfully detailed and beautifully constructed talk given by Giorgia at Eyeo, here’s a written down version

Nature Methods | The latest ‘points of view’ article discusses sets and intersections (££)

Popular Science | ‘Behind The Scenes Of “The Whole Brilliant Enterprise”‘

Ann K Emery | ‘How to present data when you’re presenting: storyboarding your data visualizations in videos, webinars, presentations, and more’

Source | Project narrative about how The New York Times made ‘Spot the Ball’

SND | Infographic case study: ‘Boston Globe’s energetic interactive and print graphics’

Adventures in Viz | Rob’s presentation at the Tableau London Conference ‘Can Tableau Save You £100 million?’

Vimeo | ‘You are not a storyteller – Stefan Sagmeister @ FITC’

Visual Loop | ‘3D World Cup Dataviz Ball, by Times of Oman’ – “See how one of the most impressive World Cup visualizations was developed”

Source | Project narrative about how The New York Times made the excellent ‘Detroit Foreclosure’ interactive

Jessica Schillinger | The design narrative richness continues… ‘Sketches: Designing the Political Polarization Report’

Medium | ‘After the launch of Codecademy’s redesign, some people reached out to us wondering how we were able to embrace such a clean, minimal interface.’

Subject News

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

Blopboard | ‘Blopboard is an innovative forum for asking questions and sharing opinions that provides members with an effective tool for organizing, customizing, and visualizing information in a new and dynamic way.’

Stamen | ‘Stamen has long aspired to make it easier for people everywhere to visualize data, particularly on and with maps. In our recent partnership with Tableau, we’ve helped to improve a tool that does just that’

Qlik | New tool: ‘Qlik Sense Desktop’ – Free self-service data visualisation and discovery that let your instincts lead the way

KeyLines | ‘Introducing KeyLines 2.0: Visualize your Dynamic Graphs’

Popular Science | ‘The Vizzies: Now Accepting Your Mind-Blowing Science And Engineering Visualizations’ (entries open to 30th Sep)

Kantar | ‘Kantar acquires data viz and interactive specialist Guardian Digital Agency

FT Data | All the Financial Times interactive data goodness, now in one place


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

With Google | ‘Smarty Pins’ a supremely addictive game based on the accuracy of your geographic knowledge

Slate | ‘Who Won the World Cup of Arm-Folding?’

The Upshot | ‘Quiz: Can You Tell What Makes a Good Tweet?’

News Nerds Firsts | Great collection of peoples’ first news graphic projects – “We all sucked once”

Moment Factory | ‘Wanting to showcase its charms, Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook commissioned Moment Factory to create Foresta Lumina, an illuminated night walk through the forest.’

Business Insider | ’16 Heatmaps That Reveal Exactly Where People Look’

It’s Nice That | ‘Luis Hernan’s work makes WiFi signals visible in astonishing images’

FastCo Design | ‘This Is The World’s Cumulative Average Handwriting’

It’s Nice That | ‘Onformative find faces in landscapes seen from above in Google Maps’

Stubbornella | ‘Sexist by design?’

Bored Panda | ‘Artist Recreates His Own Childhood Drawings 20+ Years Later’

Wired | ‘A Redesigned Parking Sign So Simple That You’ll Never Get Towed’

Twitter | ‘Guy tattoos the world map on his back, colors in every new country he visits’

Poynter | ‘Time.com’s bounce rate down 15 percentage points since adopting continuous scroll’

It’s Nice That | ‘An interview with Leftloft about their three-year rebranding of Inter Milan’

10 significant visualisation developments: January to June 2014

To mark the milestone of each mid-year and end of year 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 2013 and now I’d like to reflect on the opening 6 months of 2014. 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. The Reshaped Economy in 255 Charts


How the Recession Reshaped the Economy, in 255 Charts‘ is sharing the ‘pièce de résistance de 2014’ prize so far and probably stands up well against anything else produced in recent memory. It is a modern masterpiece, supremely conceived and executed interactive graphic produced by Jeremy Ashkanas and Alicia Parlapiano for TheUpshot (more later), showing how job numbers have fared across 255 different industries in the past 10 years. Pigeonholing it is hard: it is a small-multiple-scatterplotted area charts extravaganza. Some of the tool-tip interactivity detail is extraordinary, which kind of makes the single complaint – that of the colour scale failing on the red-green issue – a slightly surprising oversight, albeit the position and direction of the charts provides the main encoding.

2. Visualising MBTA Data


As I stress above, there is no significance to the ordering of the items in the list (which actually goes against everything I teach, but we’re all human). This next work – Visualizing MBTA Data – is at number 2 but has to be mentioned in the same breath as above project. This beautifully crafted exploration of Boston’s subway system by Mike Barry and Brian Card must share the acclaim with the ‘255 charts’ project. It is perfection, one of those projects you simply dream of having in your portfolio. Created ‘to help people in Boston better understand the trains, how people use the trains, and how the people and trains interact with each other’ this project provides incredible levels of intricate detail, design attention and elegance in interaction across several sections of content. Let me leave you with the fact that this was produced for a graduate course at WPI – bravo to Matthew Ward as the programme’s data visualisation teacher.

3. Data Journalism Sites


It has been impossible to ignore the emergence – in a very similar timeframe – of new data journalist organisations/entities led (in profile terms) by Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, Vox, and the New York Times’ Upshot. It is still, of course, early days for each of these entities to bed themselves in and establish a clear raison d’etre. Indeed there has been quite a lot of criticism (very good articles by Alberto and Brian Keegan) about the output they have demonstrated to date, even if most observers accept this is quite an exciting and potentially disruptive development in the journalism space. This overview from Nate Silver for the launch of FiveThirtyEight offers a good guide for what to expect over the coming months, with similar intros from David Leondart for The Upshot and Ezra Klein for Vox. Watch this space with interest.

4. Storytelling Discourse


Through a reflective lens the phrase ‘hot topic’ tends to mean one of two things: short term gimmick or a concept that is being strongly debated. You tend to only strongly debate things that have some kind of traction and that is certainly what ‘storytelling’ as a concept feels like. We’ve been nibbling around the edges of this issue for a year or two but this past few months really saw some more concerted efforts at refining the definitions, applications and role of storytelling in data visualisation. If my memory of the precedents serve me correctly, here is the story… Moritz Stefaner kicked things off with an astutely timed bit of trolling during Tapestry Conference 2014 and then walked-the-walk with a well argued article about ‘Worlds, not stories‘. At the same time Dino and Kim of Periscopic were respectively rocking-boats with a ‘Framework for Talking about Data Narration‘ and ‘Talking Numbers at Visualized‘. Lynn Cherny weighed in with her piece ‘Implied Stories (and Data Vis)‘ later followed by ‘Data Characters in Search of An Author‘. Robert Kosara made two contributions with the skillfully framed ‘Stories Are Gateways into Worlds‘ and then ‘Story: A Definition‘. Then we had the summit meeting with the Data Stories episode 35 (constructive) clash of perspectives involving Moritz, Enrico Bertini, Robert and Alberto Cairo. Alberto wrote up his thoughts ‘Annotation, narrative, and storytelling in infographics and visualization‘. We then had follow up reflection/discussion pieces from Jeff Clark, Andy Cotgreave and Jon Schwabish. Additionally, for reference, in the past Cole Nussbaumer (as her site/twitter name suggests) has discussed at length the issue of storytelling with data. I’m sure many others have too, apologies that I can’t include everyone’s stories in this summary paragraph…

5. Lyra


You can’t fail to have noticed the buzz around the conference circuit this year caused by the early demonstrations of Lyra, or officially the ‘Lyra Visualisation Design Environment (VDE)’, an interactive environment that “enables custom visualization design without writing any code”. Lyra is emerging from the same research lab (supervised by the omni-brilliant Jeff Heer) that brought Protovis and D3 to the field and comes from the significant brain of Arvind Satyanarayan. Arvind has done a great job of introducing the tool over the past few months which aims to offer “more expressive than interactive systems like Tableau, allowing designers to create custom visualizations comparable to hand-coded visualizations built with D3 or Processing”. Here is a short demo video to see the environment and output, a paper giving more detail, Jim Vallandingham (the king tutorialiser) has produced an insanely good tutorial already and John Burn-Murdoch has been giving it a run out in some of his work at the FT.

6. Wee Things and Two Little Ducks


Unlike last year, I’ve actually managed to attend a number of conferences already this year and have witnessed a deluge of great talks. I’ve also watched many of the recordings and read the increasingly-trendy (and thank god because its brilliant) slide narratives. There were two talks in particular that absolutely chimed with every ticking cog in my visualisation head, and indeed were talks I didn’t actually witness in person. Jonathan Corum is responsible for some of the very best presentations in this field. I’ve never had the pleasure of attending one of his sessions but if the intricate detail of his write-ups (and incredible body of work) are anything to go by they are must-see events. His talk at Malofiej titled “Two Little Ducks” was a magnificent piece of work, superbly framed and sequenced and oozing with valuable insight at every turn. The second talk came from Lena Groeger at OpenVisConf. At the time of Lena’s talk I was sat with Robert Kosara in a taxi heading for the airport bemoaning the fact we were missing it! I have since had the opportunity to watch the video of Lena discussing ‘A Few of My Favourite Wee Things‘ and gone through a companion slide deck/collection of ideas and it is everything I hoped it was going to be: a creative and comprehensive glance through the many different issues of ‘tiny’ in visualisation design. It is just ‘right up my street’, as the saying goes. A special mention too for Jon Schwabish’s short story at Tapestry discussing ‘Goofy Comparisons‘.

7. Washington Post Graphics Goodness


The Washington Post Graphics team has never been better. Under the Directorship of Kat Downs Mulder, the work coming from their multi-talented team deservedly places them right at the top table of this field alongside their New York rivals counterparts. I can’t profile all the staff in one go but people like Katie Park, Darla Cameron, Denise Lu and Kennedy Elliott (to name but a few) are some of the brilliant people you should be following. You’ll notice that is a stream of female names: it shouldn’t need to be noticeable or need surfacing as a ‘thing’, but in a field of 3 males to every 1 female it is something that is important to celebrate. There are some very good human men in the team, also. Richard Johnson‘s arrival has certainly introduced a special new ingredient to the mix (especially with his incredible illustration skills) as has the prolific and talented Christopher Ingraham who is firing out some great stuff on the Wonk Blog and the fascinating companion site ‘Know More‘.

8. Bloomberg’s Tracking Super Bowl Tickets


I’m a sucker for connected scatter-plots and this was one of the best I’ve seen by the Bloomberg Visual Data Team showing the daily price and secondary market volume of Super Bowl tickets. There’s so much to admire with this graphic, such as the ghosting background comparisons, the annotated extremes but one of my favourite features is simply the ‘How to’ pop-up. With visualisation literacy very much on my mind right now, the coaching this helpful guide provides is excellent – helping viewers understand how to make sense of the shape, direction and trajectory of the connected story. It really preserves the potential of this appropriately chosen graphic device to be understood and I think that is a great sign.

9. WSJ’s ‘How does 3D printing work?’


This entry is very much filed under ‘one to watch’. On the basis that this collection is about things that I reckon are significant, either as case studies of great work or trends in the field, my spidey senses tell me this might be something we see more of in the future. The Wall Street Journal’s guide to 3D printing also included a chart showing personal 3D printer sales, in 3D for you to download and print, in 3D! As the home 3D printer becomes a commodity, maybe the graphics of our near future will have exportable, home-printable 3D downloads as routine, just as we have data downloads right now.

10. Success of the NYT Dialect Map


The interactive Dialect Map ‘How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk’ by Josh Katz and Wilson Andrews was released on December 21, 2013. (“Andy, that’s out of scope for this collection. Idiot!”, you cry, prematurely). In the 11 days it was online during 2013 it became THE most visited New York Times web pages of 2013 (via the Atlantic). Just let that sink in. A staggering success story, as I discussed in more detail in February.

Special mentions…

Here are the other highlights from the first half of 2014 that deserve a special mention:

NYT Sochi Collection | Easy to be complacent about the ongoing brilliance of this department’s output, another genius portfolio of work, this time from the Sochi winter olympics.

News Vis | A very useful, explorable collection curated by Robert Kosara of the best visualisation and infographic output from news and media organisation.

Data Visualization Checklist | A super useful checklist developed by Stephanie Evergreen and Ann Emery to guide folks towards more effective data visualisation constructions.

World Cup league representation | There was a lot of good stuff produced during the World Cup but this was amongst my favourites from the Guardian US Interactive team (primarily led by Kenan Davis) to show at each stage of the World Cup which leagues had the most representation amongst the remaining players still competing.

OpenVisConf | This interface created by Yannick Assogba is a wonderfully innovative way to share videos from conference events.

Letters in words | Graphing the distribution of English letters within words. Might not sound particularly exciting but it is a dead simple but engaging piece of analysis.

Scientific American Blog | I loved Jen Christiansen’s article ‘How I Reconciled My Love for Art and Science’

Tableau for the Mac | Relatively self-explanatory, just a very useful development opening up a very important potential user base (and making my life endlessly easier)

Atlas of Prejudice | Probably an off-beat choice but I liked it and it’s my list. So there.

Spurious Correlations | Just because.

Best of the visualisation web… June 2014

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 June 2014.


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

New York Times | ‘How the Recession Reshaped the Economy, in 255 Charts’ – A highlight of the year from the NYT in the form of a scatter plot sparkline-multiple extravaganza

Noah Veltman | Animated heatmap showing the height vs. weight of NFL players over time

Egypt Building Collapses | Interactive audio (quite terrifying if you put the volume up) and visual timeline portraying the terrible number of Egyptian buildings collapsing

Flowing Data | Nathan profiles a tool that lets you move the poles of the Mercator projection to anywhere in the world

The Guardian | The first of many visualisations related to the World Cup, a super piece by the Guardian US asking ‘Do Golden Boot winners help win the World Cup?’

FastCo Exist | “This Map Shows How Far You Can Get In Traffic At Any Time Of Day”

New York Times | Huge interactive mosaic of Google Street View images showing ‘the 43,634 Properties in Detroit That Were on the Brink of Foreclosure This Year’

Spatial Information Design Lab | Report about visualisation work related to a NYC ‘Citi Bike Rebalancing Study’

New York Times | Gregor Aisch’s interactive network map that shows ‘The Clubs that Connect the World Cup’

Density Design Lab | ‘Seven Days of Carsharing: Exploring and visualizing the Enjoy carsharing service in Milan’

Dead Spin | ‘When Did Nazi Insults Spike On Twitter During USA-Germany?’

The Guardian | Tour de France 2014: Interactive stage and tactics guide

WSJ | ‘World Cup Players’ Penalty Kick Patterns’

National Geographic | ‘The Evolution of Alvin’ – A graphical timeline of the evolution of the deep-sea submersible as he (/it) celebrates a 50th birthday

Twitter | An alternative vision of the areas of land by type in London

The Guardian | ‘The Seven Digital Deadly Sins’ is an interactive project that profiles confessions of familiar faces relating their experiences of moral dilemmas in the digital world of today

Evogeneao | ‘The Evogeneao Tree of Life is a colorful genealogical family tree that helps students and the public understand evolution at a glance’

Globo Esporte | Wonderfully deep and multi-faceted interactive and animated narrative about the history of the World Cup

OECD | The OECD Regional Well-Being project

Dark Horse Analytics | ‘World Chat Clock helps you find a time to chat with people in different cities’

MobileVis | ‘Examples of data visualization usage on mobile devices and offer some observed best practices for building your mobile data visualization interfaces.’

GFK | ‘The European Political Twittersphere: Network of top users discussing the 2014 European Elections’

FastCo Design | ‘TrendViz Turns News Relevant To You Into Sleek Data Visualizations’

Twitter | “The number of workers who died in construction in the run up to recent sporting events” (warning: includes a naughty word)

New York Times | ‘2014 World Cup Special’ – Wonderful long form digital article with some terrific integrating of photo imagery and illustration

Twitter | From Amazing Maps: ‘60% of the population of Iceland lives here’

BoingBoing | …similar concept showing ‘The total area of solar panels it would take to power the world, Europe, and Germany’

Information Geographies | ‘Information Geographies at the Oxford Internet Institute’ – “This project proposes a comprehensive mapping of contemporary geographies of knowledge”

Visual Loop | Special edition of World Cup infographics from Brazil

Visual Loop | …and a special edition of interactive World Cup projects

Slate | ‘Interactive Time-Lapse Map Shows How the U.S. Took More Than 1.5 Billion Acres From Native Americans’

Tableau | ‘Tracking Ebola in Africa’ – Ramon Martinez has been all over this breaking story for weeks now, here’s some of his analysis

Pro Publica | Interactive small multiples show ‘Ambulances for Dialysis Patients on Rise’

WNYC | Interactive tool to explore the graduating rate histories of each NYC high school

The Guardian | Great tool used to track the remaining representation of players from different leagues at each stage of the World Cup


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

Mapping Complex Information | Sheila discusses Will Burtin’s significant legacy to the world of Information Design

Storytelling With Data | Cole presents a range of alternatives to the pie chart

Eager Eyes | Robert looks at some examples where the bars in the bar chart point downwards and make sense to do so

FiveThrityEight | Great series called “Hope the Numbers Help” by Mona Chalabi answering reader’s questions with data

Visual.ly | ‘Data vs. Editorial Judgment: The Danger of Chasing Numbers’

Periscopic | A great article discussing the objective of removing confusion from complexity

Smashing Magazine | ‘What Is The Most Underrated Word In Web Design?’ (answer: “affordance”)

ONS Digital Publishing | ‘Prototyping a platform for data storytelling’

Washington Post | ‘How one hackathon visualized ‘invisible data’ on the worldwide women’s empowerment problem’

NPR | ‘The NPR Visuals Team: How we work’

Pew Research Center | ‘Why we didn’t include the y-axis on our polarization chart’ – interesting discussion about design choices

Learning & Development

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

AT&T Research | Collection of information visualisation papers from AT&T

Open Culture | If you happen to have 42 hours spare… ‘Everything I Know: 42 Hours of Buckminster Fuller’s Visionary Lectures Free Online (1975)’ (confession: I have not watched all of these)

do.minik.us | Project narrative for the new OECD Regional Well-Being project

YouTube | Josh Katz gives a talk at the NYC DataViz meetup discussing the NYT Dialect Map

UW Interactive Data Lab | Paper: ‘Authoring Narrative Visualizations with Ellipsis’ by Arvind Satyanarayan and Jeff Heer’

bost.ocks | ‘Visualizing Algorithms’ – “Algorithms are a fascinating use case for visualization. To visualize an algorithm, we don’t merely fit data to a chart; there is no primary dataset.”

Data to Display | Discussion about different ways of constructing small multiples

O’Reilly | Video: Scott Murray’s ‘An Introduction to d3.js: From Scattered to Scatterplot’

Journal of Arts and Humanities | Paper: ‘Data Visualization and Infographics in Visual Communication Design Education at the Age of Information’

Subject News

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

DataRemixed | New book: ‘Communicating Data with Tableau’ by Ben Jones (Congrats Ben!)

Squish Logic | New tool: ‘Sankey Diagram’ – “Optimized for the visual iPad interface, Sankey Diagram allows users to visualize energy flows, economics, and more” (use promo code: KEPHHRXFFPMX)

Gareth Cook | New Book: ‘The Best American Infographics 2014’

Dataviz | New Site: ‘Dadaviz’, publishes a stream of different data visualisation projects

Search is over | ‘Exploring Cultural Collections with Visualization’ – International Workshop in conjunction with DL2014, 11-12 September 2014 in London

The Beauty of Health | “The Beauty of Health Data is a national exhibition and competition of health data visualizations hosted by the Foundation for Healthcare Innovation (FHI)” – here is an exhibition of the entries

GitHub | Elijah Meeks’ release of D3.js library that renders sketchy/handrawn rectangles and circles

Fathom | New Tool: ‘Mirador’ – “A tool for visual exploration of complex datasets which enables users to infer new hypotheses from the data and discover correlation patterns”


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

Who Pays Artists | A site that let’s you share and learn about the earning experiences of artists

Web Colour Data | Creates a colour profile for any website address you request

New York Times | A very addictive ‘spot the ball’ quiz based on goals from the World Cup

New York Times | Jennifer Daniel’s superbly bonkers ‘Battle Cries’ project playing the audio recordings of different football commentators saying “Goaallll!”

Animagraffs | Jacob O’Neal’s site showcasing his masterful animated gif designs of cutaways and mechanisms

xkcd | ‘Space, without the space’ – showing the solar system’s solid surfaces stitched together

FastCo Design | ‘Beautiful Stamps Reveal The Hidden Geometry Of The World Cup’

WSJ | A profile of how 3D printing works alongside a downloadable 3D-printable chart showing the sales of 3D printers. Is that clear?

WSJ | ‘100 legacies from World War I that continue to shape our lives today.’

YouTube | ‘Flight of the Conchords friendship graph’

New York Times | ‘As Robotics Advances, Worries of Killer Robots Rise’

22Words | ‘Designing the least user friendly products imaginable just for fun’

Phd Comics | ‘Your conference presentation’

Best of the visualisation web… May 2014

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 May 2014.


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

National Climate Assessment | Some nice graphics across this report: “Explore highlights and the full report of the National Climate Assessment”

Moebio | Santiago creates a whole new way of looking at the world wide web via a trace of site links over time “The First Web, and Beyond”

ONS | Slopegraph showing ranking relationship between countries and their number of visits to UK and the spending per day of visitors from those countries in 2013

New Yorker | Interactive and video exploring the most radioactive place in New York City

Guardian | ‘Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights around the world’

Vizual-Statistix | ‘A career shooting percentages of every NBA player’

WSJ | Long form piece from the WSJ exploring the phenomena of Alibaba, China’s biggest online commerce company

mdaniels | Examining the vocabulary of hip hop artists based on the number of unique words used within artist’s first 35000 lyrics

Smartmine | Who wouldn’t want to watch tracking data for whales? This tool lets you “follow sperm, beaked, false killer, and pigmy killer whales as they migrate around the Hawaiian Islands” (love the Ocean view especially)

Australian Financial Review | My friends at Small Multiples did this really nice interactive to explore language used by the current and previous Treasurers to explain their budgets

Washington Post | ‘The most lethal actors of all time, by number of career kills on screen’

CartoDB | Animated map showing the geotagged tweets mentioning Arsenal or Hull City during the FA Cup final in May

New York Times | ‘Rating a Health Law’s Success’ – with a sequence of slopegraphs. Yes!

BigtimeBCN | More ‘Age of a city’ goodness, this time for Barcelona

Forum | Infographic showing how Africa tweets

CS 171 | Always look forward to the publication of the Harvard ‘CS 171 – Visualization’ course end of year best student visualisation projects gallery

LA Times | Take a video-flyover across the LA area showing the updated location of the earthquake fault zones routes.

Urban Demographics | 3D projections that show ‘Urban Density Patterns in 9 Global Cities’

Lincolnmullen | Animated map that shows the spread of US slavery between 1790 and 1860

The Upshot | ‘Which Team to you Cheer For?’ a map of NBA fans across the US

The Upshot | Music to my ears, or eyes, as this graphic comprehensively shows how Liverpool were robbed of the Premier League title – ‘The Premier League Standings if Only Goals by English Players Counted’

Andreapinchi | ‘No Country for Young Men’ – analysis of the age of Italian Parliament members

Dark Horse Analytics | ‘Breathing City’ Joey takes a look at Manhattan’s population who are at home or at work, by hour

Guardian | Profiling the animated mapping project by CASA to look at the evolution of London’s 2000 year history

Seventeenpeople | ‘A modest tribute to – and deconstruction of – my favourite hour of television’ – an ode to Aaron Sorkin

Retale | ’13 Years of Apple Stores in 60 Seconds’

Vimeo | Discovered via Jer Thorp’s datastories episode. This is a video of actors reading the most common first names for artists in MOMA’s accessioned collection, in order, by gender (hint: listen for the occasional female speakers)

Prooffreader | ‘Graphing the distribution of English letters towards the beginning, middle or end of words’

Slavery Footprint | ‘How many slaves work for you?’

FastCo Design | ‘Falling In Love, Visualize’ – work by Lam Thuy Vo using text message data to visualize the sparks of love

Washington Post | ‘Weapons and mass shootings’ – chart showing every gun that was used in a mass shooting and how those guns were obtained.

SCMP | An incredible attempt to portray the hugely complex issue of the conflicts in the waters between China and Vietnam.

New York Times | ‘A New Story Told at Ground Zero: The National September 11 Memorial Museum’

The Upshot | ‘Is It Better to Rent or Buy?’

The Atlantic | ‘The World of Starbucks, Mapped’ [+ subtitle of the month: “No matter where you are on the planet, you’re never more than 5,000 miles from a Starbucks.”]

Washington Post | Connected Scatterplot showing how ‘Inequality and political polarization have been rising in tandem for three decades’

Flowing Data | Analysis of ‘Where Bars Outnumber Grocery Stores’

Washington Post | A scatter-plot showing the best and worst ceremonial first pitches (showing that 50 Cent’s was possibly the worst)


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

Int3rhacktives | An interview with data visualiser Ri Liu from Pitch Interactive

Periscopic | Dino discusses the issue that data – and what data is or isn’t – is a point of view.

GiorgiaLupi | ‘Bellas Razones [Beautiful Reasons]’ A super Italian/English article by Giorgia sharing the approach Accurat take to balance their aesthetic and practical choices across their portfolio of work (based on her Visualized talk of 2014)

YouTube | ‘CHI Belgium Hangouts with interesting people: Moritz Stefaner’

New York Times | ‘The United States of Metrics’

Junk Charts | Nice piece by Kaiser discussing ‘how effective visualisation brings data alive’

JSK | Shazna Nessa discusses ‘how journalists can turn raw information into data visualizations that are both appealing and understandable to real people’

Ghostweather | A great article by Lynn, offering a second-part to her discussion about Implied Stories.

Scientific American | When an article begins with ‘Andy Kirk…’ and has ‘clever’ in the same sentence then there’s a good chance I’m going to be loving it! (It is a really nice piece by Jen looking ‘Under the Hood of Online Data Visualization’)

Nieman Journalism Lab | ‘The leaked New York Times innovation report is one of the key documents of this media age’

Ampp3d | ’11 mistakes that will drive data nerds crazy’

Source | Lovely article by one of my favourite people in viz – Sarah Slobin – as she ‘discovers that all the facts and numbers didn’t add up to the humans in her story’

BBC Internet Blog | ‘To mark 20 years of the BBC being online, we wanted to see if there was a way of representing the growth and changing shape of the site over the last 20 years.’

OpenVisConf | A beautiful way to break down and share the videos from the OpenVisConf 2014 (My ‘The Design of Nothing’ is in there…)

Simon Rogers | ‘Data journalism needs to go mobile’

Tow Center | Report: ‘The Art and Science of Data-Driven Journalism’

Michael Babwahsingh | Michael discusses how rarely ‘information design acknowledges the missing, the unknown’

The Functional Art | Yes >> ‘Infographics that just work better on paper’

Aeon | Quite a long article looking at the relationship between truth and beauty. Some Operators in particular may find this interesting.

SND | ‘Infographic case study: Boston Globe’s energetic interactive and print graphics’

Policy Viz | Jon shares his thoughts on the ‘So What?’ test as introduced by Alberto in the Datastories episode 35

Gravy Anecdote | Continuing the recent discussions about storytelling, Andy Cotgreave challenges some of the views (of Moritz in particular) from the same episode 35

Juice Analytics | Great message: ’10 Ways to Reduce to Improve Your Data Visualizations’

Utah.edu | Paper: ‘Reflections on How Designers Design With Data’

Contently | Interview with Bloomberg Visual’s leader, Lisa Strausfeld

Source | ‘Distrust your data: Jacob Harris on Six Ways to Make Mistakes with Data’

Learning & Development

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

Perceptual Edge | Nice summary from Stephen about some of the methods of displaying change between two points in time – such a frequent task

Sankeymatic | Tool: SankeyMATIC – a Sankey diagram builder built in d3.js

tylervigen | Loads and loads and loads of brilliant charts that show some spurious correlations eg. Number people who drowned in a swimming pool correlates with the number of films Nicolas Cage has been in. Obviously.

Sorting | ‘An attempt to visualise and help to understand how some of the most famous sorting algorithms work.’

Medium | A write up of ‘Experiences & insights from a course by Jonathan Corum, Bret Victor, Mike Bostock & Edward Tufte’

GiorigaLupi | Another great contribution for Giorgia this month, this time a nice project narrative from Accurat’s work on ‘The Life Cycle of Ideas’ for Popular Science

Well Formed Data | Moritz outlines some of the updated features of the Better Life Index 2014

Source | Project narrative by Alastair Dant and Hannah Fairfield as they discuss the work behind the scenes of their ‘Few Helmets, More Deaths’ project

Mic | ‘9 Things You’d Believe About World Geography if You Only Listened to Fox News’

Evergreen Data | Great work by Stephanie and Ann Emery to create a data visualisation creation checklist

Storytelling With Data | Really useful article from Cole, ‘the story you want to tell…and the one your data shows’

Stamen | ‘Stamen’s Checklist for Maps’ – Here’s another super useful checklist, but this more narrowly focused on maps

Collossal | ‘The Cyanometer, a 225-Year-Old Tool for Measuring the Blueness of the Sky’

Caroline Beavon | A long article by Caroline about infographics, making them accessible and many other design considerations

Subject News

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

Global Editors Network | Announcing the nine winners of the Data Journalism Awards 2014

Journalism | ‘BBC to launch daily infographics shared on social media’


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

Guardian | ‘Second world war in Google Street View’ – overlaying photos from the second world war

Twitter | Useful little explainer for the difference between Type I and Type II errors.

Collossal | ‘271 Years Before Pantone, an Artist Mixed and Described Every Color Imaginable in an 800-Page Book’

The Creators Project | ‘This Is What The Internet Sounds Like’ – audio of different big data centres

FastCo Create | R.I.P HR Giger

FastCo Design | R.I.P. Massimo Vignelli

Wired | ‘400 Years of Beautiful, Historical, and Powerful Globes’

NPR | ‘The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever’ – Over 300 searchable addresses going back to 1774

Slash Film | ‘Every Word In Star Wars Sorted Alphabetically’

Guardian | ‘World Cup kits through the ages – interactive guide’

xkcd | “Someone is wrong on the internet.”

Business Insider | ‘Inside The 45-Day Planning Process That Goes Into Creating A Single Corporate Tweet’

Twitter | “We are becoming rational, analytical, and data-driven in a far wider range of activity than ever before”

Buzzfeed | ‘The 21 Worst Police Sketches Of All Time’

LinkedIn | ‘Error messages are evil’

Twitter | ‘Save Paper – Save The Planet ‘

New York Times | ‘What are you drinking?’ – Interactive and customised cocktail builder

Best of the visualisation web… April 2014

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 April 2014.


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

Social Progress Index | ‘The Social Progress Index offers a rich framework for measuring the multiple dimensions of social progress, benchmarking success, and catalyzing greater human wellbeing.’

Enigma Labs | Nice animated/interactive project showing ‘US Daily Temperature Anomalies 1964-2013’

National Geographic | A range of videographics explaining various matters relating to food around the world

Stanford Kay | Infographic showing the global carbon ‘foot’print. Labelling might be an issue but I like the attempted metaphor.

Twitter | From Brilliant Ads, a very clever ambient/visualisation/ad concept about the consequences of smoking

Washington Post | ‘Where every person lives and works in Manhattan’

Visualizing | Nice curated gallery by Manuel Lima looking at a range of projects that visualise urban patterns

Economist | A new form of interactive static visualisation: representing the odds of being murdered in 5 countries via the chance of a dart hitting the same display. We clearly now must see more dart vis, this needs to be a thing.

Jonathan Hull | Jonathan uses the periodic table framework to good effect, visualising the abundance of elements in the universe, ocean, earth etc.

Washington Post | ‘The depth of the problem’ possibly my first liked tower graphic as it perfectly captures the ludicrous depth of the search for the Malaysian airliner’s black box

Visual Loop | ‘This is Visual Journalism: Special edition dedicated to the awarded infographics at Malofiej 22’

Bloomberg | ‘How Americans Die’ – the latest interactive story from the Bloomberg Visual team

Mapsbynik | Mapping the census blocks where nobody lives in the US

Sensory Maps | Kate launches her latest ‘Smellmap’ – this time for Amsterdam

das Referenz | Typically elegant and briliant work from Raureif to create a free reader app for Wikipedia. Also check out the in-depth design process article link.

The Upshot | ‘A Map of Baseball Nation’ – Facebook fans by zip code.

Fathom | ‘A look at the history of Miles Davis’ career and collaborations according to his (400) recording sessions as documented by the Jazz Discography Project.’

Washington Post | Visual article with some wonderful interactive/animated devices detailing the ‘intensive care’ required for the damaged dome of the US Capitol.

New York Times | ‘How Minorities Have Fared in States With Affirmative Action Bans’

WYNC | ‘Tracking Tickets for Dangerous Driving, by Precinct’

SCMP | Really nice poster quality piece that depicts the biggest players through the history of the Oscars

National Geographic | ‘Nine Cities That Love Their Trees’

Washington Post | ‘Looming: A delayed wallop of pollen’. Nice Gantt-chart style graphic


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

FiveThirtyEight | Interesting exploration of the ongoing exclusion of women in Hollywood, with analysis of the Bechdel test

The Guardian | ‘Why Google Maps gets Africa wrong’

Visual Loop | ’90 dataviz Tumblr blogs to follow: The ultimate list of Tumblr blogs about data visualization, cartography and data journalism’

Smashrun | Smashrun is an “analytical platform for runners” and contains some terrific looking visualisation work. Browse through the blog to see some of the analysis (the link provided here).

The Why Axis | We’ve had a good chunk of articles and discourse about storytelling, Bryan collates them in one place here…

Eager Eyes | …but here are the ones specifically published during April, starting with Robert’s piece ‘Story: a definition’

Neoformix | Here’s Jeff Clark’s piece ‘A Short Reflection on Storytelling in Data Visualization’

The Functional Art | Alberto also wades in with ‘Annotation, narrative, and storytelling in infographics and visualization’

Fell in Love with Data | Enrico might have been having a bad day at work :) – ‘My (stupid) fear we may, one day, become irrelevant’

Telling Information | Nice short summary from Lulu about her take aways from Malofiej 22…

Earth Observatory | …and here’s Rob Simmon’s more in depth write up from his experience as a judge at Malofiej 22

Chartio | An Interview with Scott Murray, Code Artist… D3 Hero and other such monikers

Stanford | Paper from EuroVis 2013: ‘Selecting Semantically-Resonant Colors for Data Visualization’. Surfacing again now mainly due to…

HBR | This article by Sharon Lin and Jeff Heer: ‘The Right Colours Make Data Easier to Read’

Junk Charts | ‘When to use the start-at-zero rule’

Medium | ‘(Re)defining multimedia journalism: New storytelling forms inspire us’

WonkViz | Less about the subject or analysis, more about the **edit** at the bottom for the importance of misleading interpretations

JND | Article from Don Norman: ‘Predicting too early is as bad as not predicting at all. In making predictions, getting the timing right is as important as getting the idea right.’

Eager Eyes | ‘Review: Manuel Lima, The Book of Trees’

Source | ‘Meet Bloomberg’s dataview: Iterating toward a reusable animated chart flow’

Storytelling With Data | Cole discusses the difference between exploratory and explanatory analysis

nGrain | Really smart demonstration of solutions for ‘looking beyond two dimensions’

Source | ‘Introducing Fourscore: Speedy sentiment-grid making from WNYC + Al Jazeera America’

Learning & Development

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

Graphitti | Detailed process narrative about Tom MacInnes attempts at ‘his’ first interactive map.

Dashing 3js | Comprehensive set of tutorials and screencasts to help you learn how to make data visualisations with D3.js

The Information Lab | Quick tutorial for ‘Advanced Map Visualisation in Tableau using Alteryx’

Dataplusscience | The first Sankey diagram I’ve seen attempted in Tableau, with a set of notes explaining how it was done

Scribd | Golan Levin’s presentation from Malofiej 22 – ‘Information Arts, Critical Making’

Stat Hunting | A very good, honest and constructive reflection from Steve Fenn about his experiences of taking and responding to (quite brutal) criticism of one of his pieces of work.

Data Remixed | ‘Dimension Line Charts: a (slight) variation on arrow charts’ – nice article from Ben Jones about the issue of (mis)interpreting arrowheads

Lena Groeger | Slides from Lena terrific talk at OpenVis 2014 about the ‘wee things’ in visualisation design

FastCo Labs | ‘The Five Best Libraries For Building Data Visualizations’ with contributions from Moritz Stefaner, Mr D3 Hero, Jan Willem Tulp, Benjamin Wiederkehr and Erik Cunningham

Vimeo | Think I might have shared before but worth another go if so, ‘Webstock ’13: Mike Monteiro – How Designers Destroyed the World’

Peltier Tech Blog | Nice excel tutorial from Jon for ‘Axis Labels That Don’t Block Plotted Data’

PJIM | Always a good read: Volume VI, Issue 2 of the ‘Parson Journal for Information Mapping’

The Why Axis | ‘Today we have better access to health information than ever before but this means little without greater understanding. Visualizing Health is a weapon in the fight to create a culture of health.’

Subject News

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

Mapbox | Launching Mapbox outdoors – ‘A beautiful new map designed for outdoor adventures.’

Density Design | Updated version of RAW

Visci | Newly discovered site, the impressive ‘Visual Science’: – “a media production service, providing graphical and animation solutions to the industrial, academic and educational sectors” – check out the showreel

TargetProcess | Newly discovered tool for Visual Management: ‘Software to plan and track any process, including Scrum, Kanban and your own.’

Amazon | New book: ‘The Best American Infographics 2014’ edited by Gareth Cook (Disclaimer: I was a member of the ‘brains trust’)

Information is Beautiful Awards | Revealing the winners of the ‘Human Cost’ visualisation challenge

Software Studies Initiative | Congratulations to Lev Manovich and his team for securing one of the very rare Twitter Data grants, here’s the abstract for their proposed work


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

BBC News | ‘Bristol artist creates hand-drawn maps of the city’

FastCo Design | ‘A Top Nike Designer Rebrands Game Of Thrones’

Offbeat | Unusual data source but might interest one or two ‘World Football Statue Database’

YouTube | Archive of the great Numberphile videos – ‘videos about numbers’

Vox | ‘Amtrak’s insane train boarding rules, explained’

Washington Post | Oh dear, America, looks like you’ve been taking the dart from above into your ‘guessing where Ukraine is’

The Guardian | ‘What would football managers see if they wore Google Glass?’

Emily Garfield Art | ‘Emily Garfield creates intricate maps of imaginary places that explore the origins of cities and the function of maps themselves.’

Interface Vision | A HUGE collection of examples/images of Visual Programming Languages