The Data Journalism Handbook is now live

The Data Journalism Handbook is a free, open-source reference for anyone interested in the field of data journalism. It features contributions from over 70 of the leading global voices of authority and has now been released, remarkably only 6 months after its conception. It is a joint initiative between the European Journalism Centre and the Open Knowledge Foundation and is published by O’Reilly Media.

The Handbook’s list of contributors reads like a who’s who of the major names in this field, such as the New York Times, Zeit Online, the BBC and the Guardian, but the additional impressive aspect is that it is an entirely open source reference:

The Handbook is an open educational resource, under a creative commons licence (CC-BY-SA) so please share it with your friends and remix it. We hope that it will encourage many budding data journalists to look at data as a source and give them courage to tackle it, as well as showcasing some great examples of journalism using data as inspiration for future stories.

In terms of contents, after its introduction, the book covers life in the newsroom, a series of data journalism case studies, and then three chapters dedicated to the challenges of data: getting it, understanding it and delivering it. For those of us with a specific data visualisation slant, it is the last chapter which has most direct relevance and these are the sections covered within:

A free web version of the book can be viewed here. Alternatively, if you wish to pay for an e- or print version from O’Reilly Media, you can pre-order now and just wait a few more weeks for it.

Many congratulations to the project coordinators Liliana and Lucy who have worked incredibly hard, alongside others too many to list, to get this project across the finishing line. It looks like a super resource and I’ll be sure to take a good read through as soon as the opportunity arises!

Data Stories podcast: Episode 5, another appearance!

Hot from the Bremen sound studio is the brand new release of Episode 5 of the Data Stories podcast with Enrico, Moritz and me, as a returning invited guest. In this episode we cover the subject of data visualisation training, a subject clearly close to my heart.

Many thanks again to Enrico and Moritz for inviting me on the show for a second time, as with the previous experience, it was a good laugh!

Come along to a Big Data Week 2012 event

This week sees the launch of Big Data Week 2012, a series of free, interconnected activities and events taking place across the globe. The aim of the events is to have contemporary conversations about Big Data, bringing together the communities of Data Scientists, Data Technologies, Data Visualization ad Data Business.

I will be taking part in the Big Data Community Meetup, in London on Tuesday 24th April. I will be on a moderated panel discussion and audience Q&A session with:

As I say, this is a completely free event, all you have to do is register here and join about 200 other people at this event alone. The event is being held at the Lancaster Hotel, London W2 2TY and kicks off around 6:30pm (but get there from 5:00pm as I heard rumours of nibbles…).

Whether you attend the event or not, there is a (genuinely) very brief survey being held to canvas opinion about big data, business, technology etc. You can complete the survey here.

If you are following the events on twitter check out the @BigDataWeek timeline and follow the conversation via the hashtags #bigdataweek or #bdwldn.

Newly launched – The Miso Project

This week has seen the launch of The Miso Project, an “open source toolkit designed to expedite the creation of high-quality interactive storytelling and data visualisation content”. It is a joint development between The Guardian (with Alastair Dant and Alex Graul at the helm) and Boston-based Bocoup (led by Irene Ros).

The first set of libraries released is entitled Dataset is a JavaScript client-side data ‘transformation and management’ library which makes life easier for visualisation designers by “handling loading, parsing, sorting, querying and manipulating data from all sorts of sources”.

Visiting the Dataset pages brings up a number of examples which showcase the different stages of a data transformation and management process. The main example shows Cabinet Office Spending and is presented as an interactive tree map to demonstrate selecting and connecting to remote data files as well as grouping data.

There are also a number of hugely helpful tutorials and complete access is provided to the API documentation and the source code via GitHub,

Miso is in active development and so expect a number of releases landing in the coming months. You can follow the project’s developments on the main site and via Twitter (@TheMisoProject).

An update on my data visualisation training courses

I typically save updates like this for Twitter, but I am aware that not everybody is on Twitter (just yet, anyway) and there’s only so much you can pack in to 140 characters. So here is a brief update on a few things relating to my ‘Introduction to Data Visualisation‘ training courses.


I now have confirmed venues for most of my upcoming schedule with Chicago, Bristol and Edinburgh being the most recent updates.


The London event has long since filled up and I will be looking to arrange another event down there soon, though it is likely to be late summer before I get chance to run the course. In the meantime, Bristol will be the closest alternative for those desperate for the knowledge!

Elsewhere, the other courses that are close to filling are New York City (with four places remaining) and Washington DC (with six). With a maximum class size of 20 people, there are still plenty of spaces on the other courses.

Upcoming Schedule

I am so busy at the moment that I’m going to delay announcing my intended schedule for the second half of 2012 for another month or so. I have received a number of suggestions from people asking if I will be visiting their location but I need to consolidate all these responses and form a cohesive plan. So this is a reminder to register your interest with me via email so that your favoured location can be considered for inclusion.

Baltimore/MICA 20% discount

For those interested in attending the Baltimore training course on Wed 16 May, I’m pleased to announce a 20% discount (reduced delegate rate at £200) for any staff, students or alumni of the Maryland Institute College of Art. If you think you qualify for this discount please email Andy Kirk to arrange your booking.

Additional Courses

Towards the end of this year I’m hoping to be in position to announce further course offerings to complement the introductory one, with some intermediate/advanced and hand-on sessions being conceived. I will keep you posted on any updates regarding this. I am also exploring ways of possibly doing video tutorials to reach those people in far off lands! However, this is a secondary priority to continuing with the existing introductory course and developing the additional ones.

Private Events

I have had a number of enquiries about designing and delivering private training courses. I have done and will be doing training sessions for some extremely prominent organisations, details of which I will share at a later date for confidentiality reasons. If your organisation would be interested in having a private session arranged on your site just let me know via email and we’ll look at the options to suit your needs.

Data Stories Podcast

Finally, if you want to hear more about these training courses I am lined up to join Enrico and Moritz on the award-worthy Data Stories podcast, due in the next week or two.

Poster shows visual breakdown of cinematic project

Platage Image is a Poland-based high-quality animation studio. Today they have shared details of their recent work for a promotional/introductory video for the forthcoming Xbox 360 video game ‘The Witcher 2‘. To accompany this release they have produced a detailed visualisation which captures the hard work and complexity of the challenge faced by their artists, designers and coders in producing this rich 4 minute video project – the product of nine months’ work.

The main visualisation element displays the dozens of tasks performed concurrently by a team of over 50 people, from animation, rendering and composition through to FX, scene set-up and lighting.

Each concentric track displays a key quantitative measure to highlight the substantial volume of intricate work that goes into each element.

It starts with the animatic, the structure of which dictates the scenes and shots that comprise the film. Each shot, in turn, has been organized by characters and layers, as well as the time and gigabytes of data used in its creation. The information is arranged in a structured hierarchy with marked parent and child categories. This layout makes it possible to compare and explore information at different levels of depth.

Towards the bottom of the piece, which you can access by visiting the main site and clicking on ‘download poster’, you get a network diagram showing the relationship between the actors/characters in the video as well as a radial calendar of the project as a timeline.

It is quite a lot to digest in one go but as you spend time reading each layer you really appreciate the amount of effort and the different layers of design activity taking place, even for just a short 4 minute video. For more information about this project visit The final video is available to watch below:

Best of the visualisation web… March 2012 (part 2)

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

Here’s part two of the latest collection from March 2012 (see part one):

Junk Charts | Discussing high-effort graphics | Critique

Flowing Data | Innovation History via 6,000 Pages of Annual Reports | Visualisation

The Telegraph | Budget 2012 graphic: Where does my tax money go? | Interactive Visualisation

Stamen | Surging Seas: sea level rise in your community | Article/Project

FastCo Design | NASA Creates Picture Of Our Night Sky, Using 2.7 Million Photos | Article

Forbes | Information Visualization: Cartography for the 21st Century – interview with Manuel Lima | Interview

Guardian Data Blog | New York’s energy use mapped in patchwork infographic | Map Visualisation

Ben Willers | You are all explorers now | Visualisation/Article

Style | Behind the Lines: Building ‘Guantánamo Detainees’ | Visualisation Narrative

Big Think | The World’s Largest Atlas: Cheers Bests Klencke | Mapping

Guardian Data Store | Nasa’s animations: from the perpetual oceans to the surface of the sun and moon | Article/Visualisations | ‘This map shows you the delicate tracery of wind flowing over the US’ | Mapping/Visualisation

SND | Twenty-five infographics lessons from Malofiej 20 | Article

Periscopic | Recent HTML5 Data Visualizations: Specifically Designed for the iPad | Projects

Mashable | Financial Times Unveils 70-Foot Interactive Wall in Grand Central Terminal | Visualisation

Jack Hudson | Infographic project produced for UK TV Channel 4 | Infographic

Interactive Infographics | Datavis in documentary | Article

Sansumbrella | “Drawing Water is a constructed landscape shaped by the relationship between where water falls and where it is consumed within the United States” | Visualisation

SND | Full winners list: SND Best of Digital Design | Article

Guardian Data Blog | What is a Data Scientist? | Article

Infosthetics | Showing Where Tweets Actually ‘Go’ in 3D | Interactive Visualisation

Stamen | Behind the scenes of the new watercolor mapping tiles | Process Narrative

TEDTalks | Andrew Stanton: The clues to a great story | Video

Software Studies | Lev Manovich, “How to Follow Software Users? (Digital Humanities, Software Studies, Big Data)” | Paper

Stanford University | Infographics for a Post-Flash World | Slideshow

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

Personal reflections on Malofiej 20 – March 25th, 2012

‘ Create’ – Infographic design automation tool – March 12th, 2012

Slides from my Malofiej talk – March 26th, 2012 Sprint: An experiment in collaborative visualisation – March 1st, 2012

Malofiej, Big Data Con and other site news – March 15th, 2012

Best of the visualisation web… March 2012 (part 1)

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

Here’s part one of the latest collection from March 2012 (see part two):

O’Reilly Radar | Profile of the Data Journalist: The Long Form Developer, interview with ProPublica developer Dan Nguyen | Interview

Core77 | Imagining a TEDTalk from the year 2023 | Video/Article

Flowing Data | Profiling the ‘Spotlight on movie profitability’ visualisation submission to the Information is Beautiful Awards | Visualisation

O’Reilly Radar | Profile of the Data Journalist: The Visualizer, interview with Michelle Minkoff of the Associated Press | Interview

Neoformxi | Mapping the data visualisation field on Twitter – ‘Datavis Blue-Red Connections’ | Visualisation

Spatial Analysis | Fast thinking and slow thinking visualisation | Article

Eager Eyes | Considering the ‘Three Types of Chart Junk’ | Article

Drawar | Great video titled ‘A line. A dot. A story.’ | Video

Jer Thorp | Jer’s TEDxVancouver talk on thinking about data in a human context | Video

O’Reilly Radar | Profile of the Data Journalist: The Daily Visualizer, interview with Matt Stiles who oversees data journalism on NPR’s State Impact project | Interview

Stephen Wolfram Blog | The Personal Analytics of My Life, by Stephen Wolfram | Article/Visualisations | Why We Need Another Mapping Framework | Mapping

FastCo Design | A Case Study In How Infographics Can Bend The Truth | Article

James Anderson | James Anderson’s (England Cricketer) personal website based on an interactive infographic of his career | Interactive Visualisation

New York Times | Analysing who voted for Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney | Visualisation

Guardian Data Blog | Radio interview: Hans Rosling, Martin Rosenbaum and Simon Rogers on open data | Interview/Audio

Guardian Data Blog | How the world of 1950 looked in 1925: infographic | Infographic

Strata Conference | The speaker slides and videos from Strata Conference, Feb-Mar 2012 | Slides/Videos | Poor Visualization Can Do More Harm Than Good | Article

Guardian Data Blog | ‘Infographics old and new: top data visualisations, in pictures’ profile of new book by Taschen, ‘Information Graphics’ | Book

Telling Information | Critique of tower graphics | Article

Flowing Data | Visualizing the History of Everything | Timeline Visualisation

Target Process | Patterns for Information Visualization | Article

Swiss-Infographics | “The SwissInfographics platform is dedicated to exploring new visual representations of information and to promoting in the field of infographics the principles that have made the Swiss graphic design style so well-respected around the world” | Site

Stamen | Stamen introduce their new range of Toner, Terrain and Watercolor mapping tile styles | Mapping

Data Driven Journalism | The School of Data Journalism is coming soon! | Article

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

Personal reflections on Malofiej 20 – March 25th, 2012

‘ Create’ – Infographic design automation tool – March 12th, 2012

Slides from my Malofiej talk – March 26th, 2012 Sprint: An experiment in collaborative visualisation – March 1st, 2012

Malofiej, Big Data Con and other site news – March 15th, 2012

Visualising intensity of mobile phone activity in Spain during Euro 2008

As we approach the summer (though seemingly not in the North of England just yet… brrrrr) and the Euro 2012 football championships, it is sobering to think how fast the previous four years have gone by since Spain won the 2008 event. I was thinking about this event during the past few days whilst delivering data visualisation training to a team from France Telecom-Orange. One of the guys in the team shared with me a pair of really nicely executed animated visualisations based on their network data to track the intensity of mobile phone usage before, during and after the Final back in June 2008.

The first video shows the reaction in Barcelona…

Urban Mobs – Barcelone by QNTV

…and the second in the capital, Madrid.

Urban Mobs – Madrid by QNTV

I recommend you watch both in full screen view, in HD mode to see the full resolution of the patterns of network ‘heat’ and activity as the country celebrates this famous win. Notice how the city seems to organically congregate in the main city squares and locals will also possibly observe key hotspots out of the city, including some significant activity around the Madrid training ground, I understand?

Best of the visualisation web… February 2012 (part 2)

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

Here’s part one of the latest collection from February 2012 (see part one):

Nieman Journalism Lab | Article that proposes ‘Word clouds considered harmful’ | Article

Forbes | A Behind the Scenes Look at | Interview

Data Pointed | Charting the last fifty years of rainfall in downtown San Francisco | Visualisation

Sizes | What Size Am I? | Interactive Visualisation

Poynter | 10 tools that can help data journalists do better work, be more efficient | Article

O’Reilly Radar | Why data visualization matters – The best data visualizations expose something new | Article

Vimeo | Bret Victor – Inventing on Principle | Video

Charts n Things | Before and After: Analyzing ESPN “SportsCenter” Transcripts | Process Narrative

Scientific American | The Evolution of a Scientific American Information Graphic: Stellar Life Cycle | Article

Brain Pickings | Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments of Writing & Daily Creative Routine | Article

Google Docs | Lev Manovich report on ‘Innovative visualizations of temporal processes in culture’ | Report

Eager Eyes | Another Metaphor for Visualization: Writing | Article

Visualization Viewpoints | Scientific Storytelling Using Visualization | Article

Forbes | Are Grid Lines Useful or Chartjunk? | Article

Telling Information | ‘Magic in Graphs’ | Article

The Why Axis | LA Times’ Senti-meter Inches Towards Oscar Predictions via Twitter | Critique

BBC News: Science & Environment | Ocean trench: Take a dive 11,000m down | Visualisation

Fast Co. Design | A Solar Company’s Amazing Infographics Are Powered By The Sun | Video/Article

Revolutions | Creating beautiful maps with R (link to other sites’ Spanish tutorials) | Tutorial

Neoformix | Jeff Clark’s first in a series of attempts to visualise the ‘Data Visualization Field on Twitter’ | Visualisation

Feltron | The 2010/2011 Feltron Biennial Report | Report

The Why Axis | Feltron Annual Reports Start to Feel Like Annual Reports | Critique

Infosthetics | Ranking the Autonomy of Universities in Europe | Interactive Visualisation

Webecset | Krisztina Szücs’ impressive website/portfolio | Site

Diana Lange | Diana Lange’s equally impressive website/portfolio | Site

Fell In Love With Data | Telling a story doesn’t tell the whole story | Article

Brain Pickings | A Brief History of Children’s Picture Books and the Art of Visual Storytelling | Article/Gallery

The JIT | Wind Motion Patterns | Video

Knight Garage | ‘Times editor says media not driven to data journalism’ | Interview

Twitter Friends Map | The clue is in the title! | Interactive Visualisation

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

Bio.Diaspora: Visualising interactions between populations and travel – February 2nd, 2012

Datawrapper: Open Source data visualisation creator – February 24th, 2012

Best of the visualisation web… January 2012 (part 1) – February 17th, 2012

Best of the visualisation web… January 2012 (part 2) – February 17th, 2012

KeyLines: New network visualisation tool – February 7th, 2012