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

Books about related but non-data visualisation subjects

Over the past couple of days I’ve been asking people in my corner of Twitter for suggestions for classic book titles from subject areas that are not data visualisation but that do hold many interesting related ideas, theories and concepts. Things that we can draw from and apply to our understanding of data visualisation.

This is a list of top 3’s based on responses on Twitter. I know that there is a good chance some purists or practitioners from these fields will likely sit their cringing at some of the choices, if that’s the case please help improve and refine via the comments section below!


The Universal Journalist, by David Randall


The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect, by Bill Kovach, Tom Rosenstiel


Inside Reporting: A Practical Guide to the Craft of Journalism, by Tim Harrower


News/publication design

The Newspaper Designer’s Handbook, by Tim Harrower


The Best of News Design 34th Edition, by Society for News Design (Contributor)


The Modern Magazine: Visual Journalism in the Digital Age, byJeremy Leslie



How to Read Buildings: A Crash Course in Architecture, by Carol Davidson Cragoe


Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan, by Rem Koolhaas


Precedents in Architecture: Analytic Diagrams, Formative Ideas, and Partis, by Roger H. Clark, Michael Pause


Game Design

What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy: Revised and Updated Edition, by James Paul Gee


The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses, by Jesse Schell


Level Up!: The Guide to Great Video Game Design, by Scott Rogers


Graphic Design

Graphic Design: A Concise History, by Richard Hollis


100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design, by Steven Heller


Graphic Design, by Milton Glaser


Advertising Design

Creative Advertising: An Introduction, by Miriam Sorrentino


The Advertising Concept Book: Think Now, Design Later, by Pete Barry


Ogilvy on Advertising, by David Ogilvy


Product Design

The Design of Everyday Things, by Donald Norman


Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, by Nir Eyal, Ryan Hoover


Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams, by Klaus Klemp, Keiko Ueki-Polet



How Maps Work: Representation, Visualization, and Design, by Alan M. MacEachren


You are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination, by Katharine Harmon


Cartography: Thematic Map Design, by Borden D Dent, Jeff Torguson, Thomas W. Hodler



How About never – is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons, by Bob Mankoff


The Naked Cartoonist: Exposing Your Creativity, Uncover Your Imagination, Bare Your Wit, by Robert Mankoff


Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers, by Jeffrey Katzenberg, Marcos Mateu-Mestre



Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, by Scott McCloud


Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels, by Scott McCloud


Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative, by Will Eisner


Best of the visualisation web… March 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 March 2014.


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

Malofiej22 | ‘The Spanish Chapter of the Society for New Design (SND) presents the final list of awarded entries from the 22nd Edition of the Malofiej Awards.’

Infosthetics | ‘CODE_n: Architectural-Scale Data Visualizations Shown at CeBit 2014′

Washington Post | ‘What happened to Flight 370?’

Washington Post | ‘The scale of the search for Flight MH370′

Lucas Infografia | Infographic from the South China Morning Post: ‘The War of the Worlds’

Vallandingham | ‘Want some more data visualization attempts, studies, and undertakings? Check out my new Experiments Section’

Earth Engine | ‘Explore different views into this global timelapse built from global, annual composites of Landsat satellite images. Watch change across the planet’s surface beginning as early as 1984.’

BBC Future | ‘Space Race: There are galaxies far, far away but how big is our own solar system?’

The Guardian | ‘As the Oscars age, so do the nominees’

Movehub | ‘Human Ooze Map: A Unique Look at Population Density’

Communication Arts | Showcasing the 38 winning projects from the ‘2014 Interactive Annual’ awards

Vizual Statistix | ‘On and off the street grid: relative distributions of road orientations’

Global Migration | ‘Explore new estimates of migration flows between and within regions for five-year periods, 1990 to 2010. Click on a region to discover flows country-by-country.’

New York Times | ‘The Search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370′

One Human Heartbeat | Jen Lowe put her heartbeat on the internet.

Twitter | Vintage graphic profiled in Scott Klein’s Malofiej talk

Rank and Filed | I don’t think I understand the subject particularly well but this is an interesting set of visualisations based on data collected by ‘Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’ by the ‘Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval (EDGAR)’ system

NATS | ‘A data visualisation showing a typical summer’s day of air traffic from last year.’

Atlas of Prejudice | ‘A book series with funny maps and essays about bigotry, paranoia, politics and prejudice by Yanko Tsvetkov, a leading international bigotry professional with a taste for unconventional historical studies.’

Global Rich List | Where are you on the global list?

New York Times | ‘Fewer Helmets, More Deaths’

Washington Post | ‘What made the mountain move?’

Visual Loop | ‘Portfolio of the Week – Misha Simakov: More examples of visual journalism from Russia’

SVDS | ‘History of Rock in 100 Songs’

usvsth3m | ‘The theme tune of your life is the song that was the US #1 on your ‘nth’ birthday’


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

Infogr8 | Infogr8’s Trend Report, best bits: “2014 – the year data visualisation turns from an afterthought to an essential starting point when informing an audience”

The Functional Art | ‘Infographics to explain, data visualizations to explore’

Drawing with Numbers | One for the Maths-heads amongst you: ‘L-System Fractals in Tableau’

Juice Analytics | ‘Three-and-a-half lessons learned from network diagrams’

FILWD | ‘Course Diary #3: Beyond Charts: Dynamic Visualization’

Malofiej22 | ‘The importance of appropriately range of data in a map’

Well-Formed Data | One of several posts published this month attempting to make sense and form some definitions around what stories and storytelling with data, here’s Moritz’s opening offering…

EagerEyes | Here’s Robert’s counter post to Moritz’s: ‘Stories Are Gateways Into Worlds’

Ghostweather R&D Blog | Lynn Cherny takes on the baton: ‘Implied Stories (and Data Vis)’

Periscopic | As does Dino of Periscopic: ‘A Framework for Talking About Data Narration’

Periscopic | ‘Talking Numbers at Visualized': A recap of Kim Rees’ talk at Visualized where ‘Kim rocked the boat by calling for rethinking our mania with storytelling’

HP | ‘Earth Insights’ is a project that facilitates ‘scientists, environmental leaders and the wider public to see changes in ecology and biodiversity… from any location around the world’.

The Great Discontent | Long interview with Nicholas Felton

Source | ‘Newsroom analytics: A primer’

Bloomberg Business Week | ‘Sha Hwang, the Designer Hired to Make Obamacare a Beautiful Thing’

Cool Infographics | ‘The State of Infographics at SxSW 2014′

Scientific American | ‘The Data-Visualization Revolution: Virtual “telescopes” for big data make it possible to see through the deluge’

Source | From a year ago but I was reminded of it and its worth another share ‘The NYT’s Amanda Cox on Winning the Internet’ from OpenVisConf 2013

Gizmodo | ‘Let’s All Cool It With These Stupid Maps’

Graphicarto | …and as a counterpoint: ‘The Lost Art of Critical Map Reading’

The Guardian | ‘Infographics for children: what they can learn from data visualisations’

Wannabe Awesome Me | ‘Tapestry takeaways’

Tow Center | ‘Debugging the backlash to data journalism’

MIT News | ‘emocratizing data visualization: Study examines use of ‘Exhibit’ tools in creating interactive data visualizations.’

Penn State | ‘Health researchers build bridges with Penn State’s new visualization wall’

Time | Long form article about the Google Timelapse project profiled above

Michael Babwahsingh | ‘Rational Thinking Made Tangible’

Metropop | Article to accompany the ‘Global Flow’ project above: ‘A circular data visualisation that makes international migration flow data more accessible.’

FastCo Labs | ‘How The Rise Of The “R” Computer Language Is Bringing Open Source To Science’

NPR | ‘Who Had Richer Parents, Doctors Or Artists?’

Learning & Development

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

Chartsnthings | Process narrative behind the development of the New York Times’ 4th Down Bot, a news application that analyses NFL 4th down decisions in real time

Wolfram | ‘Harness the power of Mathematica to interactively visualize your data. This Wolfram Training course features a series of examples that show how to create a rich interface for exploring data in depth.’

Twitter | A seemingly small tweet from @stefpos turns into a fascinating discussion

Dominikus | Breaking down the challenge of creating the ‘selfiecity’ project

Ahoi | Paper: ‘A Visual Survey, Classification and Analysis of Data Visualizations at and of Events’

Evergreen Data | ‘Adding Standard Deviation to a Dataviz’

Slideshare | ‘Storyboarding csa2013 – Simple sketching for UX, user research & content strategy’

Peltier Tech | ‘Dot Plots in Microsoft Excel’

Source | ‘How we made the SOTU Twitter Visualisation: The Twitter #Interactive team breaks it down’

Knight Lab | ‘Don’t believe your eyes: Learning how to be critical with Alberto Cairo’

Data+Science | ‘A Graph Recreation in Tableau – Part 2: How To Build’

Bizweekgraphics | ‘Process post: how to make a giant oil spill map the hard way’

Kent.edu | Paper: ‘Crowdsourcing Graphical Perception: Using Mechanical Turk to Assess Visualization Design’

Source | ‘Network diagrams are hard: NPR’s Alyson Hurt on the challenges of making good network diagrams’

13pt | ‘Two Little Ducks: A summary of Jonathan Corum’s talk at the 22nd Malofiej conference at the University of Navarra, Pamplona.’

Youtube | Videos from the Tapestry Conference 2014

UW Graphics Group | Paper: ‘Perception of Average Value in Multiclass Scatterplots’

Darkhorse Analytics | ‘Clear Off the Table’

Subject News

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

Google Maps | Large gallery of maps on Google, with top rated and staff picks. If you’re name is Rob Simmon, I’d maybe skip over this one…

Visage | New tool: ‘Visage transforms the uninspired data in your reports into beautiful, branded visualizations that make your message more impactful—and make your work look good.’

Visual.ly | ‘Book Review: The Visual Organization by Phil Simon’

Fivethirtyeight | With the launch of FiveThirtyEight, here’s Nate Silver’s manifesto

The Guardian | ‘Journalism startups aren’t a revolution if they’re filled with all these white men’

Data Docs | New Tool: ‘Data Docs is a series of embeddable interactive video narratives, designed to render seamlessly on desktop and mobile (tablet and smartphone) devices.’

The Why Axis | ‘What Yahoo’s Latest Acquisition Means for Data Visualization’

Aesop Story Engine | New Tool: ‘Aesop Story Engine is a collection of thirteen unique components wrapped in a plugin that can be used to tell rich, interactive stories in (almost) any WordPress theme.’

Numberpicture | eBook from Number Picture, register to view

Variance Charts | New Tool: ‘Build powerful data visualizations for the web. Without writing JavaScript.’

NYPL | ‘Open Access Maps at NYPL’

Mapbox | ‘Zeit Online Launches Custom Maps’


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

FastCo Design | ‘Now You Can Buy Art Created From Your DNA’

Polygon | ‘Game designer cracks through myths about women in the games industry’

Glyphr Studio | ‘Glyphr Studio is a free, html5 based font editor.’

Gurusability | ‘Personas for video game development’

New Scientist | ‘Google Flu Trends gets it wrong three years running’

The Guardian | ‘How computer analysts took over at Britain’s top football club’

The Onion | ‘Breaking News: Series Of Concentric Circles Emanating From Glowing Red Dot’

Youtube | ‘LEDBIKE is a piece of modern art that displays real time data streamed from Barclays Cycle Hire Stations, from all across London.’

Vimeo | ‘Scraping Google Street View depth map and reconstructing it with openFrameworks’

Wired | ‘The Mathematical Formula for Beauty, Explained in Clever Pictures’

Wired | ‘Artists and makers, it’s time to be leaders’

Twitter | Correcting a Fox News graphic classic

FastCo Design | Putting a 14 year old in his place: ‘Why Garamond Won’t Save The Government $467 Million A Year’

Twitter | ‘Do you drink bottled water? Perhaps this will make you think twice!’

Upworthy | ‘What Uniques And Pageviews Leave Out (And Why We’re Measuring Attention Minutes Instead)’

Twitter | “The 8 types of bad creative critics”

Best of the visualisation web… February 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 February 2014.


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

Data Remixed | ‘Visualizing History’ via a Presidential Gantt chart

New York Times | ‘Is That a Luge in Times Square?’

Fathom | ‘2013 Year in Nike Fuel’

NZZ | Great long-form piece about snowboarder Iouri Podladtchikov – designed and developed by Interactive Things (check out the YOLO flip graphic)

xkcd | ‘Frequency’

Mappingteam | ‘A Diorama of Player Movement in Sport’ (see

article link too)

Bloomberg | ‘Bubble to Bust to Recovery’ – nice multi-tabbed digital story

The Variable Tree | ‘London maps and bike rental communities, according to Boris Bike journey data’

Arthur Buxton | ‘Colourstories – colour in picture book narrative’

Science Mag | ‘Science and the National Science Foundation present the winners of the 2013 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge.’

Flowing Data | ‘Using slime mold to find the best motorway routes’

Information Aesthetics | ‘Visualising Mill Road: Informing Communities by Infographics in the Street’

Refined Practice | ‘Visualising Ministerial Lobbying in the UK’

Moebio | ‘Life, the Universe, Everything: A Journey to the things that matter through Information Visualisation’

Hello Monday | ‘Into the Arctic’ – Take a journey into the Arctic through a hugely immersive digital documentary/story

Facegroup | ‘How Stuff Spreads: How Videos Go Viral part I’

New York Times | Winner of a gold at Malofiej 23, the interactive stories created for the Sochi 2014 coverage. Good grief.

Business Insider | The connected scatterplot is rebadged as the ‘swirlogram’

Geo Visualist | ‘One Chart that Explains Why Ukraine was Vulnerable to Revolution’

Brandon Rose | Summer Olympics: A visualization of participant countries’ actual Olympic performance measured against predicted performance estimated using GDP, population, and past performance.


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

PolicyViz | The first of Jon Schwabish’s 8 (EIGHT) part overview detailing his experiences at Visualized conference

Scientific American | Great article by Jen Christiansen ‘Don’t Just Visualize Data—Visceralize It’

Hogeschool Utrecht | *Dreadful self-publicity klaxon* an video interview I gave data visualisation during my time at @ccjhu in Utrecht earlier in the year. Yes, I’d been out the night before.

SQL Server Blog | Article about the SQL Server Team’s thinking about data visualizations in relation to Power BI for Office 365

AEA | Great article from that man Schwabish (again) providing ‘An Economist’s Guide to Visualizing Data’ for the Journal of Economic Perspectives

FILWD | Enrico begins his excellent series of diary posts relating his experiences teaching information visualisation to students at NYU. To start with ‘Basic Charts’…

FILWD | …and here’s diary entry #2 ‘Beyond Charts: High-Information Graphic’

UX Blog | ‘Blind Spots, Blue Lights, and Campus Security’

Tableau Public | Andy Cotgreave compiles the ‘Most Influential Tableau-Related Blog Posts’

Nieman Journalism Lab | ‘The Guardian experiments with a robot-generated newspaper with The Long Good Read’…

The Long Good Read | …and another great and related piece on ‘Algorithmic newspapers and publishing’

Voilà | Oh man, this is turning into the Jon Schwabish show! (Jon, we should have made it $50, not $20). Anyway, here’s an interesting interview he gave with Francis Gagnon about his past, present and future in the field.

Voilà | And now another shout out for Francis, with his great round up of his experiences at Tapestry Conference 2014

The Economist | ‘Turning information into art’

Mother Jones | ‘This Map Does Not Show What Your State’s Favorite Band Is’

CIO | ‘What animated movies can teach you about data analysis’

Axismaps | ‘In Defense of Bad Maps’

Sensory Maps | ‘Design Dimension on BBC Radio 4 – Design & Desire through Smellwalking’ (Sadly, I think this may have now dropped off the schedules)

Perceptual Edge | ‘Are Mosaic Plots Worthwhile?’

Maarten Lambrechts | More discussion (in Dutch, but google translate is good) about plagiarism in data visualisation (this one is screemingly blatant!)

Untapped Cities | ‘Beautiful Maps, and the Lies They Tell, An Op-Ed From Runkeeper’

Visualized | Emerging collection of videos of the talks from this year’s Visualized event

FastCo Labs | ‘This Is What Happens When Publishers Invest In Long Stories’

Learning & Development

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

Source | ‘How we made “Behind the Bloodshed”: Behind the scenes with USA Today and Gannett Digital’

MIT Sloan | Process narrative from Damien Saunder describing ‘How We Made Nadal’s Interactive Game Tree’

Datavisualization.ch | Peter describes the process of creating *that* YOLO graphic

Vallandingham | ‘Let’s Make a Bar Chart with Lyra’

Junk Charts | Great piece by Kaiser ‘Knowledge in the chart and knowledge in the head’

Google Datasense | ‘This self-paced, online course is intended for anyone who wants to learn more about how to structure, visualize, and manipulate data.’ (whoops, the course closes on 4th April. Today is 4th April, get on it now)

ATH Creative | ‘My answer to the question: “So, what do you do?” (Part 2)’

Postgraphics | ‘Behind the Scenes: Mountains of the Olympics’

style.org | A summary of Jonathan Corum’s talk at the second Visualized conference: ‘The Weight of Rain’

Density Design | ‘Contropedia: Visualizing controversial topics on Wikipedia’

Fathom | ‘Game on! Data, in its multiple forms, can range from the very abstract to the most tangible. We tend to be type-agnostic, but recently a particularly clear set of data caught our eye: real-time position tracking for sports events.’

Subject News

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

Eager Eyes | Launching NewsVis.org, the ‘Directory of News Visualizations’

Dataveyes | Nice new site design from the good folks at Dataveyes

Stanford | Stanford scientists put free text-analysis tool (‘etcML’) on the web

Silk | ‘We just launched the new Explore page, which greatly improves the way you can visualize and filter the information on any Silk.’

Territory | Newly discovered site for ‘Territory Studio’ an independent, creative agency based in London working on some incredible design, motion and digital projects (particularly of interest those high-end works for Hollywood movies)

Think Insights | ‘Datagrams: Animated Instagram videos, created in real time with US Open stats.’

Amazon | New book: “Infographics: Human Body”, by Simon Rogers, Jenny Broom and Peter Grundy

ProPublica | ‘The ProPublica Data Store: ProPublica is making available the datasets that power our data journalism’

VenutureBeat | ‘Knowledge-based programming: Wolfram releases first demo of new language, 30 years in the making’

Github | New site: A single collection of the interactive data projects developed by Twitter

Palladio | New tool: ‘Palladio’ (beta) – ‘We are building a tool for data visualization in the humanities, help us improve it!’

UW Interactive Data Lab | New tool: Introducing ‘The Lyra Visualization Design Environment (VDE)’

Graf.ly | New tool: Graf.ly – ‘Use Graf.ly to present your data in ways that have previously only been available to teams of dedicated developers and designers’


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

The Functional Art | ‘Bill Gates emulates Hans Rosling’

Storyteller Game | Storyteller – A game about building stories

ProPublica | ‘Non-Profit Journalism: Issues around impact’

Devart | ‘Play the world: Visitors are invited to perform with a keyboard that finds samples with the same note in realtime from web radio stations from around the world, essentially allowing them to play the world.’

Spritz | Reading re-imagined: ‘Spritz’s mission is to change the way people read and make communication faster, easier, and more effective.’

Twitter | ‘I vote yes to this map’

Twitter | ‘As New York installs its first interactive subway maps, a reminder that Paris has had them since 1937′

Wonkviz | ‘Should I make a nested pie chart?’

Twitter | ‘Family game console from JC Penney, 1976′

Twitter | ‘Far too many ‘programming tutorials’ are like this’

Dean McNamee | ‘Bar Portraits: Image processing and portrait vectorization’

Best of the visualisation web… January 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 January 2014.


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

WFP | Interactive globe from Santiago Ortiz displaying the country-by-country stories of donors and recipients involved in the World Food Programme (WFP)

The Refugee Project | “The Refugee Project is an interactive map of refugee migrations around the world in each year since 1975.”

Jehiah | Jehiah 13: An interactive personal report

Twitter | Interactive and animated map shows the range and volume of different terms surrounding the “tweeting happy new year around the world”

Tableau Public | Counting down the top 5 Tableau Public visualisations of 2013

FastCo Design | ‘A Reggae Song That Explains The 2013 Stock Market’. Really.

FastCoExist | ‘A Stunning Visualization Of Every Popular Protest Since 1979′

ConcertHotels | ‘From Gospel to Grunge: 100 Years of Rock in less than a minute’

BBC | ‘The seats which could decide the next election’

The Washington Post | ’40 more maps that explain the world’

Mapbox | ‘A woodcut inspired map for city streets’

Bloomberg | ‘Tracking super bowl ticket prices’ (Nice use of connected scatter plot)

Mashable | ‘These 10 Real-Time Visualizations Put the World in Perspective’

Guardian | ‘Burglaries in Australia: by the numbers’

Washington Post | ‘What’s in that image? Masterpieces like you’ve never seen them before’

Apple | ‘Celebrating 30 years since the introduction of the Macintosh’

Boston Globe | ‘A taxonomy of movie psychos: Psychiatrist Samuel Leistedt sorts the diagnosable cases from the villains of pure fantasy’

Washington Post | ‘History through the president’s words’

FlowingData | ‘Famous Movie Quotes’ poster: “The most memorable movie quotes selected by the American Film Institute, represented with charts”

PeopleViz | ‘Where are the Big Polluters since 1971?’

Twitter | Interactive streamgraph that breaks down the speech and reaction to the State of The Union address minute by minute on Twitter

New York Times | Animated/interactive small multiples profiling ‘A Stark Gap in Breast Cancer Deaths’

SCMP | Jane Pong and Cedric Sam look at the Australian Open 2014 ‘Road to victory': “look at the paths of the top eight players in the tournament and the minutes they spent on the court”

NZZ | A visual portrait of snowboarder Iouri Podladtchikov


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

Wired | ‘Study: body mapping reveals emotions are felt in the same way across cultures’

Computing Now | ‘A snapshot of current trends in visualisation’

FastCo Design | ‘The 17 Most Amazing User Interfaces Of The Year’

New York Times | ‘Makeover for maps': Interview with Stamen’s Eric Rodenbeck about how he is “trying to rethink how data is presented”.

Tow Center | ‘Making Data More Familiar with Concrete Scales’

FILWD | ‘The myth of the aimless data explorer’

Scientific American | Jen Christiansen describes how she “reconciled my love for art and science”

HBR | Kate Crawford discusses the ‘hidden biases in big data’

Slate | ‘Basketball, Football, and Hockey Are All the Same Game: What big data can teach us about our favorite sports’

Microsoft Research | ‘A Survey on Information Visualization: Recent Advances and Challenges’

Arxiv | Michael Friendly presents the ‘Golden Age of Statistical Graphics’, framing developments between 1850 and 1900 (ish)

Tableau | Jewel Loree tells everyone: ‘Why I blog and you should too’

EagerEyes | Robert’s annual ‘The State of Information Visualization’ for 2014

Futurearth | ‘Data visualization for science: the next frontier?’

EagerEyes | Robert starts off a five-part series on peer review in visualisation with a takedown of the much-discussed ‘quiltplot’

Simply Statistics | A response to the hate aimed at the quiltplot

FILWD | Enrico on ‘The Role of Algorithms in Data Visualization’

If We Assume | Discussing findings from an exploration into the ‘Readability of Tweets and their Geographic Correlation with Education’

VizNinja | Paul’s latest ‘2 minutes with…’ interview series, this with Kelly Martin of VizCandy

Michael Babwahsingh | Michael makes an appeal for a change in the conversation – “spending less time curating conversations and more time getting hands dirty in sensemaking” (paraphrasing)

Perceptual Edge | Bryan steps in for Stephen and discusses a redesign of one of Bill Gates’ favourite graphs

PJIM | ‘Visual Storytelling at the Graphics Department of The New York Times, by Sergio Pecanha’

Medium | ‘What The Longform Backlash Is All About: Taking the best of the magazine craft online. And leaving the rest on paper’

Learning & Development

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

Source | Behind the scenes design narrative of the New York Times digital re-design

Juice Analytics | ‘Reading Visualizations for Beginners’

Data to Display | ‘Communicating changes in rank over time: bumps charts and slopegraphs’

Policy Viz | ‘To Slope Chart or Not to Slope Chart?’

Nature Graphics | Dissecting the design challenge of presenting one million deaths on two pages

Junk Charts | Discussing ‘Losing the big picture’ – “you should focus less on comprehensiveness and focus more on highlighting the good data”

Richard Bedford | A case study to demonstrate using GIS for the uncovering of stories in data

Kutosis | ‘Tables, charts, paragraphs and narratives: We need to be both Type-A analysts and Type-B analysts’

Peter Smart | ‘It’s time to… Rethink the airline boarding pass’

Flowing Data | Need help to get your head around mapping projections… ‘Map projections illustrated with a face’

Knight Lab | ‘Behind the dialect map interactive: How an intern created The New York Times’ most popular piece of content in 2013′

Work Made for Hire | ‘How to Tell A Client How Much Something Costs’

Design Notes | Discussing the design process for working with Dataminr

School of Data | ‘Tutorial: Data Visualisation for Print’

Sociable Physics | ‘Data visualisation programming: a recap’

DataVizCatalogue | ‘The Data Visualisation Catalogue: Helping you display your data…’

Subject News

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

Visual Complexity | New Book: “The Book of Trees”, by Manuel Lima, available for pre-order

Graphical Web | ‘Call for Participation’ open for 3rd edition of the Graphical Web Conference

Amiando | Tickets now on sale for the Information Design Conference 2014, 7-8 April

VUDlab | ‘The Visualizing Urban Data Idealab (VUDlab) is a student-led organization formed at University of California-Berkeley’ with a mission ‘to yield research insights and assist decision-makers who confront the problems facing modern cities.’

VB News | ‘Chartio grabs $2.2M for simple but powerful data visualization’

UK Data Service | Newly discovered site: “The UK Data Service is a comprehensive resource funded by the ESRC to support researchers, teachers and policymakers who depend on high-quality social and economic data.”

Knight Foundation | Profiling the 24 projects that will receive new funding from the Knight Foundation

Google | ‘New Google Sheets: faster, more powerful, and works offline’

Guardian | ‘UK government plans switch from Microsoft Office to open source’


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

Designboom | Article profiling a visit to BIG architects new lofted/industrial studio in the district of valby, in the southwestern area of Copenhagen. Always interesting to peer behind the curtain at studios like this!

The Atlantic | ‘How Netflix Reverse Engineered Hollywood’

Twitter | Graphically revealing how Luis Suarez posed questions for the Hull defence…

Creative Review | Breaking down the thinking behind the new logo for ‘Made in Britain’

BBC News | ‘The map that saved the London Underground’

Transom | Profiling Jonathan Harris’ manifesto titled ‘Navigating Stuckness’ described as ‘an autobiographical journey with teachable moments, following Jonathan’s path as a diarist, painter, storyteller, data artist, web visionary, etc’

BBC | ‘Presenting a warm front: 60 years of the British TV weather forecast’

See Your Folks | Calculating how many more times you will see your parents based on current visiting patterns.

EagerPies | ‘Pie in the Sky: The Dream of Big Data’

Twitter | ‘Guideline-poster for the illustrators of The Simpsons’

Wimp | ‘News report from 1981 about the Internet’

Twitter | 3D popup dataviz

FastCo Design | ‘Why Visa is Sick of Gold’

Slate | ‘Space Invaders: Why you should never, ever use two spaces after a period.’

Best of the visualisation web… December 2013

At the end of each month I pull together a collection of links to some of the most relevant, interesting or thought-provoking web content I’ve come across during the previous month. Here’s the latest collection from December 2013.


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

Tableau | [Warning, the first of many ‘years in review’ posts. if you hate those type of things, in which case, why are you on here?] Tableau Public’s 2013 year in review, curated by Ben Jones

Washington Post | ‘2013: The year in graphics’

New York Times | ‘2013: The Year in Interactive Storytelling’

The Telegraph | ‘A galaxy? A supernova? No, it’s NASA’s website’

BBC News | ‘2013: A year in graphics’

Brain Pickings | ‘Britain vs. America in Minimalist Vintage Infographics’

Flowing Data | ‘Data and visualization year in review, 2013′

Post Graphics | Striking visualisation that maximises the personalisation of the data – the 91 children killed in the US during 2012

EyeSeeData | Animated and interactive visualisation of the history of the FIFA World Cup

Brain Pickings | ‘Famous Writers’ Sleep Habits vs. Literary Productivity, Visualized’

bdon | We saw sever similar projects during 2013, now here’s one for the building ages of NYC and its five boroughs

Creative-co | Interactive Harry Potter novel search tool for locating keywords of phrases and their mention

Bloomberg | Interactive story exporing ‘how we spend’

Pew Research | Chart of the Week: Coffee and tea around the world

Simon Rogers | ‘Goodbye #NelsonMandela: visualising the response’

Visualizing.org | ‘How the money flows in the 50 most expensive football transfers’

New York Times | The most visited page on the New York Times during 2013. Create your own dialect map – ‘How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk’

IEA | A huge project to create interactive Sankey diagrams for (seemingly) ever world nation showing their energy consumption by type, sector and usage.

Grahaphics | Motion graphic looking at ‘Income inequality in NYC’

Knight Foundation | ‘What does the civic tech landscape look like?’

Vimeo | ‘Midday Traffic Time Collapsed and Reorganized by Color: San Diego Study #3′

Fathom | Launching the updated ‘Millennium Development Goals project’

MoMA | Interactive network tool to explore the connections between exhibitors included in the ‘Inventing Abstraction, 1910-1925′ season at MoMA

WSJ | ‘Hollowing out a City: Detroit has watched its population contract over decades as residents have fled for the suburbs’

Fathom | Breaking down the six Rocky films, Rocky Morphology ‘analyzes the Rocky series in order to identify its key narrative elements.’

NYC Henge | Showing the best location around NYC to experience the ‘Manhattanhenge’ this visualisation ‘helps you explore and learn about the phenomenon and maybe see the NYC street grids in a whole new light’.

Rosny | (It is in French so I’m going to have to guess) Similar approach to Moritz Stefaner’s Stadtbilder project, this project maps the prevalence of different ‘lifestyle’ options around Rosny-sous-Bois (shops, bars, restaurants etc.)

FastCo Create | ‘See the 25 most beautiful data visualisations of 2013′

ESPN | ‘SPI World Cup group stage projections’

New York Times | ‘State Gun Laws Enacted in the Year Since Newtown’

Twitter | (Image of the above graphic in the print version)

Visual Loop | ‘Our 100 favorite interactive visualizations of the year’

Reuters | ‘Shark attacks since 1990′ (published on Twitter)

FastCo Design | ‘The 21 Best Infographics Of 2013′

Huffington Post | Book visualisations: Short animation to explain difficult ideas from the book ‘The Attacking Ocean’

Scientific American | Interactive visualisation: ‘The flavour connection’

Post Graphics | Infographic: ‘The most contested real estate on Earth?’

FlowingData | ‘The most unisex names in US history’

Visual.ly | ‘The Top 20 Interactive Visualizations of 2013′

Shoothill | ‘This gigantic image shows all the digits of the world’s largest known prime number.’

AnimatedData | ‘UK Temperature History: Explore the temperature in the United Kingdom since 1910′

USA Today | Longform digital story of ‘Behind the Bloodshed: The Untold Story of America’s Mass Killings’


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

Thomas Levine | Super in depth materials to support/accompany Thomas’ talk at NYC Open Data

Sheila Pontis | Sheila was on fire in December! This piece describes ’38 Steps for Effective Information Design’

MapLab | ‘6 Reasons to Get Over Your Fear of Coding and Start Making Better Maps’

Eager Eyes | ‘A Lack of Communication and Visibility’ – Robert makes a please for new and improved visualisation web-resources to track the field (good comments/discussion too)

BBC Academy | ‘Data journalism: What’s new, what’s not, and work in progress’

BBC News | ‘Why border lines drawn with a ruler in WW1 still rock the Middle East’

Inspire | Nice video interview with Kim Rees and Dino Citraro of Periscopic

Null School | Enchanting visualisation of the flow of wind across the Earth

Visual.ly | ‘How Do Our Brains Process Infographics? MIT “Mongrel” Shows Peripheral Vision at Work’

Yolandama | ‘Infographics booming in China’

O’Reilly Data | ‘Interactive Visualization of Big Data’ by Jeff Heer

Nextness | ‘John Maeda: an artist redesigns leadership’

The Information | ‘Letter from the editor: Hello World’

Patrick Garvin | A discussion about the issue of infographics and memorability

Twitter | Beginning a flurry of related articles discussing the use of axis scaling in a Reuters graphic

The Functional Art | Here’s Alberto’s take (and links to others still)

Voilà | Here’s Francis Gagnon’s take

Junk Charts | Here’s Kaiser Fung’s take

Eager Eyes | And finally, for now, Robert picks up the baton

Sheila Pontis | ‘Sensemaking Activities in Information Design’

Twitter | ‘Interesting piece on why #charts in The Economist are the way they are’

Substratum | New issues in the series of inspirational interviews

Skillshare | ‘Meet Graham Roberts, a Graphics/Multimedia Editor at The New York Times who teaches an Animated Information Graphics class.’

Peachpit | ‘The Many-Faced Infographic: Brooklyn, Elephants, and the Visualization of Data’

Medium | ‘The Tufte totem in information designland: Edward Rolf Tufte preceeded the digital age’

O’Reilly Radar | ‘Tweets loud and quiet: Twitter’s long, long, long tail suggests the service is less democratic than it seems.’

Guardian | ‘Unreliable statistics of 2013′

Perceptual Edge | Stephen rallies at the ‘Scourge of Unnecessary Complexity’

Sheila Pontis | Final entry for Sheila, ‘Visualisations & the Process of Abstraction’

Learning & Development

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

Booz Allen | ‘The Field Guide to Data Science’

Drawing With Numbers | ‘Creating data, multi-step recurrence relations, fractals and 3D imaging… without leaving Tableau’

Bloomberg | Another reminder of the excellent data sources available on Bloomberg’s visual data site

Stanford | Paper: ‘Interpretation and Trust: Designing Model-Driven Visualizations for Text Analysis’

Patrick Garvin | Project design narrative: ‘How BostonGlobe.com’s gay marriage interactive graphic came to be’

Data Remixed | Ben takes on my observations about my love for slope graphs with a demo (and tutorial) for doing the same in Tableau

The Why Axis | ‘DataViva, Built in Brazil, Available to All’

Wiley | Companion site to the book ‘Visual Data Mining: Techniques and Tools for Data Visualization and Mining’ listing some of the digital resources mentioned, including ‘Data Visualization and Data Mining Success Stories’

Subject News

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

Guardian | Important market report about the growth in take up of tablets vs. PC’s – these are the platforms on which we will be consuming more of our visualisation work

British Library | ‘Beautiful Science: Picturing Data, Inspiring Insight’ – profiling the events taking place in under the libraries’ special season (including some almost sold out data visualisation workshops offered by yours truly)

Information Architects | Outlining the functions of Writer Pro

Future Everything | This year’s conference taking place in Manchester on 31st March and 1st April, tickets now on sale

Data Stories | Newly discovered site, ‘Data Stories… on India, one chart at a time’, does what it says on the tin!

Data Portraits | Connected to the NASA website story above… Data Portraits offers ‘bespoke art visualising your web presence’

Knight Lab | ‘Introducing the StoryMapJS Beta, now with an authoring tool’

Fathom | ‘The Weather’ – A post from (former) intern Tim Ripper who shares his experiences with one of the projects he worked on at Fathom.


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

Visual News | ‘How To Escalator: A Smart Traffic Control Proposition for the Busy London Underground’ – but good counterpoint made on Twitter about yellow markings also used for where not to stand…

YouTube | Sid the Science Kid – “I love charts” (PBS Kids)

Anitype | ‘Anitype invites you to animate letters with JavaScript, so we can begin to see what an animated typeface might look like on the web.’

GifPop | Rachel Binx and Sha Hwang’s new venture, building on their passion for all things gif! – ‘Gifpop is a tool to make custom cards from animated gifs, using the magic of lenticular printing.’

FastCo Create | ‘Domino’s responds to British Airways “look up” billboard with its own cheeky version’

Digital Synopsis | ‘How Virgin America Got 6 Million People To Watch A Flight Safety Video Without Stepping On A Plane’

Printalloverme | ‘Choose your object, upload your print, buy and sell your product’

Twitter | ‘One of the oldest known photographs of a man smiling’ – no good visualisation-related reason, just liked it! (and it looks like Roger Moore)

NASA | ‘Urban growth, Philippines’

Business Insider | ‘The British Library Is Putting Millions Of Amazing Images On Flickr That Probably Would Have Been Lost In Time’

FastCo Design | ‘Trippy Clocks That Challenge Your Perception Of Time’

10 significant visualisation developments: July to December 2013

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 July I published a collection for the initial 6 months of 2013 and now I’d like to mark the closing of 2013 with my latest perspective. 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. HelpMeViz


HelpMeViz is a really great idea from Jon Schwabish, motivated by the lack of a suitable platform outside of Twitter to offer the community a means of satisfactorily commenting and providing in-depth critique on data visualisation projects. The site is open to anyone who is seeking feedback on their visualisation designs to submit their work and commence a conversation. It is designed to be very inclusive and especially constructive, welcoming to all levels of designer and for any type of visualisation work. Over time, I would anticipate there will be plenty of functional enhancements incorporated in to the site but, for now, I urge anybody seeking advice/evaluation for their work to give it a go. Likewise, any folks in the field who are able to offer such advice, please do contribute.

2. Earth Wind Map


So new on the scene is this project that the D3 paint over Africa is not even dry. This is the beautiful Earth Wind Map, created by Cameron Beccario, and inspired by the hint.fm Wind Map project of 2012 (great to see the attribution). It is entrancing to the point of hypnotic.

3. News-Graphics Job Changes


This rather stretched revolving-door metaphor is intended to visually summarise the flurry of changes amongst newspaper graphics editors and interactive designers witnessed over the past few months (and 2013 in general). We have seen numerous arrivals, departures, promotions and movements between some of the top newspapers, particularly in the US, as the graphics teams shuffle their packs. Names such as Gregor Aisch, Kennedy Elliott, Jennifer Daniel, Alan McLean, Wilson Andrews, Javier Zarracina, Alvin Chang, Derek Watkins, Simon Rogers, Alastair Dant, John Burn-Murdoch, Simon Scarr and Richard Johnson are just some of those I can recall moving roles during this period.

4. Subtleties of Colour


A really excellent 6.5-part series of in-depth articles about the use of colour to display data from the pen (or keyboard tapping fingers) of NASA’s Rob Simmon. It is a brilliantly comprehensive, well-structured and – importantly – accessible discussion on the fine balance between right and wrong in this critical aspect of visualisation design.

5. Age of Buildings


One of the most prevalent project topics over this last period has involved the creation of absorbing, interactive displays to explore the patterns of the ages of a city. These projects use different portrayal methods (colour, shade, 3D spikes) to capture the tapestry of the age of the buildings across various cities. A selection of the most prominent projects I have seen were for Portland (OR), Chicago, Brooklyn and Amsterdam.

6. WTFViz


What the Flip…? WTFViz does what it says on its Tumblr-shaped tin: a celebration of visualisations that cause severe head scratching and confused wonderment. It is the trash compactor of the visualisation field. Rather than Han Solo and gang wading amongst the detritus we can thank Drew Skau for rolling up his jeans and getting in amongst the stink. For a more positive celebration collection check out the prettier counterpart site ThumbsUpViz and the more noble collection of trash that is Accidental aRt.

7. Living United States Presidents


A very personal choice for this entry but I just really liked the insights from and the execution of this project that explores the concurrency of living presidents past and present. We are seeing more and more floating bar/Gantt chart works, for which I raise both thumbs, and this approach works so well for this project. The interactivity is superbly judged too, just utilising the hover event across the line chart’s timeline. The final result is a great demonstration of the discipline in reduction and simplicity, without treading into the murky waters of minimalism.

8. Mars Curiosity Rover


This project from Jonathan Corum and Jeremy White of the New York Times tracks the Mars Curiosity Rover on its daily journey exploring Mars. It provides a route map of its day-by-day position and distances travelled, an annotated timeline of each day’s adventures as well as presenting key images collected by NASA. Regardless of whether you are a space science enthusiast this is just such a brilliantly accessible and endlessly fascinating way to tell the story of little Rover’s expedition.

9. IXT/NZZ Swiss Maps


Another mapping-related entry in this list concerns the fabulous series of work produced by Interactive Things for Swiss German-language Newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Working with the editorial team at NZZ, the 4-week project aimed to reveal new connections and developments within Switzerland through cartographic representations. Here’s the original and translated collections.

10. RAW


Hopefully evidence of more offerings like this. RAW is a tool developed by Density Design lab that undertakes a middle-man role, sitting on top of the D3.js library but providing an interface to create custom vector-based visualisations. Inevitably you lose some of the design control but that is a worthy sacrifice if it helps take away the pain – and potential obstacles for many – of hardcoding from scratch.

Special mentions…

Here are the other highlights from the latter half of 2013 that deserve a proud nod from their creators having just missed out on the prestigious main list by the width of a dart (disclaimer, darts are not used for these selections. The magic 8 ball does a good enough job):

Black Budget – Really strong project from the Washington Post to explore the US ‘Black Budget’, spanning dozen agencies that make up the National Intelligence Programme.

Sci-Fi Spaceships – Incredibly detailed, painstakingly crafted and beautifully composed illustration to create a single graphic that visually compares the size of some of the most notable starships from science fiction

Bechdel Test – Outstanding exploratory visual analysis of the Bechdel test in movies.

Finding the Quiet City – Lovely project from the New York Times to crowd-source the quiet parts of New York’s boroughs, mapping their location and descriptions, and occasionally including short audio and video excerpts.

Jobs Board – Already mentioned on my previous 6-monthly collection but Lynn Cherny’s data-vis-jobs Google Group goes from strengh-to-strength with an increasing frequency of new opportunities. Check it out and contribute!