Data Stories podcast: Episode 31, a review and preview

It is always a thrill to be invited to contribute to a Data Stories podcast and last week I joined hosts Enrico and Moritz alongside Robert Kosara to review the major trends and developments during 2013 and preview the main hopes and expectations for 2014.

datastories

As ever, my sincere thanks to Enrico and Moritz for asking me back for a fourth appearance. Data Stories is a terrific podcast and during 2014 the guys want to hear more from you out there. Send through any questions you want answering or any topics/issues you would like to hear being discussed. You can get in touch via Twitter, Facebook or Email: mail@datastori.es.

Interview for ‘Science Book a Day’

Was thrilled to be invited by George Aranda, editor of the excellent ‘Science Book a Day‘, to take part in an interview about a range of visualisation-related themes and to discuss my book that he kindly profiled in December.

ScienceBookADay

Before you say it: (1) Yes, I need to get a new head-and-shoulders photo done and (2) my understanding is that it is no longer being used on the walls of barber shops across the UK.

Avoiding work tasks on a Sunday: Big Data puns

Big Data is a term that, according to the 2013 Gartner Hype Cycle, is reaching the ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’ and about to face the slippery decline down the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’. So a number of Twitter comrades looked into a crystal ball and determined some potential (tenuous) successors to this buzzy-est of buzzword terms. It was a Sunday. Apologies.

Google Research releases the ‘Music Timeline’

The Music Timeline is a new project from the Big Picture and Music Intelligence research groups at Google. The Big Picture group includes star names such as Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg. The Timeline is updated weekly and let’s you see how different musical genres grow or shrink in popularity through the years from a starting point of 1950. It also let’s users discover artists’ libraries from within each genre.

Timeline

The visualisation exists, in the first instance, as an interactive stacked area chart, with the thickness of each genre determining its popularity over time and the colours used to differentiate between genres at the top level and the sub-genres beneath. The popularity data comes from Google Play Music and is based on the number of users who have an artist or album in their library. In the ‘About‘ description we see this explained: “The jazz stripe is thick in the 1950s since many users’ libraries contain jazz albums released in the 1950s’.

Metal

When you click on a certain genre, you are then taken to an interactive stream graph including more detailed sub-genre streams within the overall shape. Beneath the main graphic you have a selection of seven prominent albums/artists from down the years, though it is unclear on what basis these are selected (possibly top seven sales figures on Google Music?). Clicking on an album will take you through to the artist/album’s library.

GoogleMusic

Read more about the project including some of the key acknowledgements about the depth and state of the data.

Microsoft’s patent for ‘Dynamic visualization generation and implementation’

Was catching up with my January RSS feeds earlier and my attention was drawn to an unusual item that had been reeled in from a site called ‘4-traders‘. The article was titled ‘Microsoft Corporation: Patent Application Titled “Dynamic Visualization Generation and Implementation”‘ and contained a summary of the key claims of a patent filed by Microsoft Corporation in June 2012 but published on 19th December last year.
“Interesting”, I said, out loud but to nobody as I work alone. “I wonder what this is about?”, I queried, still alone. My curiosity had been piqued so I did some complex keyword-term digging (you might know it as a ‘Google’ search) and came across a copy of the the full patent document.

Patent

I’ve copied a chunk of the summary text…

Embodiments described herein are directed to selecting and applying data-specific presentations, to adaptively selecting visual presentations based on historical data and to providing rendering hints for data presentations. In one embodiment, a computer system receives an indication that a visual presentation is to be applied to a specified portion of data. The computer system analyzes the specified data to determine which of a plurality of data presentations is most relevant for the specified data. The relevance is based on relevancy factors including one or more of the following: end-user profile, structure of the specified data and patterns within the specified data. The computer system then applies the determined appropriate visual presentation to the specified data.

In another embodiment, a computer system adaptively selects visual presentations based on historical data. The computer system analyzes prior visual presentation selections for specified sets of data and determines, based on which visual presentations were selected for the specified data sets, which visual presentations are most relevant for a currently selected data set. The relevance is based on relevancy factors including one or more of the following: end-user profile, structure of the specified data and patterns within the specified data. The computer system then applies the determined appropriate visual presentation to the currently selected data set.

In still another embodiment, a computer system provides rendering hints for data presentations. The computer system selects a portion of data for uploading to a data store and also selects rendering hints to be applied to the selected portion of data. The rendering hints indicate how the selected data is to be rendered in a visual presentation. The computer system then appends the selected rendering hints to the selected portion of data and uploads the selected portion of data and the appended rendering hints to the data store.

As you can gather, trying to make sense of the wading-through-treacle patent-speak is not a straightforward task but a summary of the summary leaves us with…

  • A computer-implemented method for selecting and applying data-specific presentations
  • A computer-implemented method for adaptively selecting visual presentations based on historical data
  • A computer-implemented method for providing rendering hints for data presentations

On the surface it sounds like an attempt at a ‘smart’ chart type selection method, taking away some of the burden of thinking about what chart type is best from those who may not know. It also appears to be something along the lines of the Tableau ‘Show Me’ panel, where only chart types that are relevant to a given set of data variable types and quantities are proposed/available for usage.

However, it goes a bit further, with dynamic ‘relevancy factors’ informing the available and recommended presentation options. These factors are informed by a combination, ‘including one or more of the following: end-user profile, structure of the specified data and patterns within the specified data‘.

So what is ‘end-user profile’? Is this data based on a single users’ charting behaviour/preferences or maybe informed by patterns from a broader base of users (maybe all?) – akin to a “users who wanted to present this data tend to use this chart” concept? The answer seems to be the former…

The user’s profile may indicate certain preferences for visual presentations. For instance, the user’s profile may indicate a preference for tables for certain types of data, and a preference for reports for other types of data.

So how will it resolve conflicts between how users are deploying chart types vs. the correct way to use such charts? For example, if pie charts are constantly being used to represent time-based data, would the ‘system’ accept this as the user’s preference, despite this method demonstrating incorrect usage, and override the standard recommendations?

Figure5

There is also mention of applying different ‘weights’ to “specified users, profiles or industries” when it comes to determining the appropriate visual presentation. Perhaps this means a corporate profile would have weight to establish certain protocols that its users would inherit in terms of the recommendations they receive?

The ‘hints’ element of the patent summary relates to a kind of preview mode, perhaps a pop-up indicating how the presentation will look if this is the chosen option.

The big question, that I can’t ascertain an answer to right now, is what is this ‘computer-implemented method’? Is it a new tool? Is it an extended capability to an existing tool (maybe Excel? PowerPivot)?

Anyway, just thought I’d flag this up, it will be interesting to see what emerges. You can view a pdf version of the filed patent on Google’s patent pages.

Confirmed training dates for 2014

I now have the final confirmed locations and dates for my data visualisation workshop schedule for the initial part of 2014. Chicago (16th May) and Montreal (19th) were the final outstanding pieces in the jigsaw.

Visit the training page to find more details for each event or to commence your registration.

Schedule

Note that for non-Europe based courses there are some 10% discount earlybird tickets available. Specific venues for each event are being organised as soon as possible, but they will always aim to be in convenient locations, central to each city being visited.

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

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

EarthWind

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

Door

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

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

Age

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

WTF

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

USPresidents

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

Mars

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

IXT

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

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!

Best of the visualisation web… November 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 November 2013.

Visualisations/Infographics

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

Hatnote | ‘Listen to the sound of Wikipedia’s recent changes feed.’

Guardian US | Numerous visualisation goodies in this long-form project about the wider impact of the Snowden NSA files

Al Jazeera | ‘Where would 8.8 million displaced Syrians fit?’

Excel Charts | Nice re-working by Jorge converting a dual-axis line chart into a connected scatterplot

CitiBike | A look back on New York City’s first-ever bicycle share program

Star Tribune | Nice explanatory interactive to show how ranked-choice voting works

FastCo Design | ‘Infographic: Explore The World Of Literary London With This Exquisite Book Map’

Fan Graphs | ‘Introducing the interactive spray chart tool’

Bloomberg | A presentation examining how the US labor market has changed since 1990

Washington Post | Mixture of audio and visualisation in this work to explore the 39,000 outdoor gunshot incidents in DC area over last 8 years

Independent | ‘A live visualisation of global births and deaths in your browser’

PBL | Long form piece by/for PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency exploring the rise of CO2 emissions

Washington Post | ‘The story of the governor’s race is written in the margins’

Stamen | ‘OpenStreetMap: Every Line Ever, Every Point Ever’

FastCo Design | ‘Infographic: The History Of Audio Equipment’

Guardian | ‘Global deforestation: 10 hot spots on Google Earth’ – great data, shame about the colours

Erasmus | Interactive project exploring where students study abroad via the European Erasmus Network

If We Assume | Interesting visual analysis of 65K pieces of artwork held by the Tate

Washington Post | ‘The federal health-care exchange’s abysmal success rate’ – nice slope graph from Kennedy Elliott (I like them, you know).

Czechcrime | Interactive map visualising the record crime’s happening in the Czech Republic

Ten Chocolate Sundaes | Outstanding body of analysis exploring ‘Visualizing the Bechdel test’

Office of Jane | Interesting project from Jane Pong to visualise smoking statistics from around the world

Vizynary | ‘Restless America: state-to-state migration in 2012′

New York Times | Have I mentioned I like slope graphs?

The Black Board | Interesting data, more so than the visualisation product itself, about screenplays

Washington Post | Second project from Kennedy Elliott, ‘Children from poor families more likely to be overweight or obese’

New York Times | ‘Tracing the History of N.C.A.A. Conferences’, already blogged about it but worthy of second mention on here

Brain Pickings | Profiling latest work from Accurat, ‘The Creative Pace of the 20th Century’s Greatest Authors’

Articles

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

Telegraph | ‘ODI: data literacy will help solve world’s biggest challenges’

Sheila Pontis | ‘Understanding Disinformation Design’

Software Feathers | Interesting approach to new multi-variate data portrayal: ‘this paper presents Software Feathers, an approach for mapping characteristics of object-oriented code entities to features of artificially generated feathers.’

PJIM | Latest issue (4, Volume V) of Parsons Journal for Information Mapping

Ghostweather | Excellent article by Lynn researching advice about data visualisation consulting

Stamen | Announcing Place Pins, mapping your favourite things on Pinterest

Well-Formed Data | Great process narrative from Moritz about his latest project for Scientific American (above)

Michael Babwahsingh | ‘The Real Meaning of Information Design’

The Drum | ‘Creativity in the age of the Maths Men’ article by Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP

Wired | ’5 Maps That Could Help Solve Some of the World’s Most Daunting Problems’

Stephen Wolfram | Stephen whets the appetite for what he believes will be their most important technology project yet

Nieman Journalism Lab | ‘How I faced my fears and learned to be good at math’

The Age | ‘The Melbourne Now exhibition’s 250 works employ myriad forms to chart stories and shifting ground’

New Republic | David Leonhardt Explains How the NYT Will Replace Nate Silver

Fast Company | ‘Google reveals its 9 principles of innovation’

Tableau | Great interview with Lee Mooney about his football analysis using Tableau Public

Nieman Journalism Lab | Q&A: The Guardian’s Gabriel Dance on new tools for story and cultivating interactive journalism

Scientific American | ‘Where the Wild Bees Are: Documenting a Loss of Native Bee Species between the 1800s and 2010s’

Software Studies | ‘Motion Structures by Everardo Reyes: Visualizing a moving image sequence as a 3D shape’

Learning & Development

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

Storytelling with Data | Nice makeover task by Cole for her class on the MICA MPS in Information Visualization

School of Data | Great piece titled ‘So you want to make a map…’ with the perfect first subtitle ‘Are you sure?’

Gapminder | Hans Rosling’s latest video presentation ‘Don’t Panic – showing the facts about population’

YouTube | Video from ‘Where 2012′ of Noah Iliinsky’s talk “When To *Not* Use Maps”

Processing | Most talked about development last month, Daniel Shiffman’s processing tutorials “with the goal of giving millions of students the opportunity to explore coding as a way of thinking and making”

Medium | On a related theme, ‘Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Learning How to Code, And what I’ve learned from teaching others’

Subject News

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

Help Me Viz | New site: Brilliant concept from Jon Schwabish – ‘This site is designed to facilitate discussion, debate, and collaboration from the data visualization community.’

Data Remixed | Announcing Tapestry 2014, February 26th in Annapolis, MD

FastCo Design | ‘The Esoteric Symbols Behind User Interfaces, Explained’

Information is Beautiful Awards | Announcing the 2013 winners

Tableau | Release of Tableau 8.1, outline of new features

Voila | New site: New visualisation design and analysis studio, founded by Francis Gagnon

EcoViz | New site: ‘Information visualisation for science and policy: a joined up approach’

Graphical Web | Visual Storytelling Conference: The Graphical Web, August 27-30 2014 in Winchester, England

Big Data & Society | New Journal: ‘Big Data & Society (BD&S) is an open access peer-reviewed scholarly journal that publishes interdisciplinary work principally in the social sciences, humanities and computing and their intersections with the arts and natural sciences about the implications of Big Data for societies.’

Sundries

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

Paint By Numbers | Fun concept – ‘Exquisite Viz Part 1: Introducing the game, the rules and the first workbook’

Media Matters | Probably shared it before but no harm being done again. The collection of dumb and dumber charts from Fox

BBC Technology | ‘Apple buys motion sensor maker PrimeSense’

Slate | Love it: ‘Impress your friends and humiliate your children using Slate’s foolproof strategy for finding the missing man.’

FastCo Create | Interactive British Airways billboards point to planes flying over in real time

Twitter | When the visualisation field calls it as it is. Well, Jennifer Daniel does in particular.

Dubly | Breaking Bad Character Map

In praise of slopegraphs

I love slopegraphs. I’m happy to nail my colours to the mast and declare it. I’d probably not go as far as to wear a t-shirt with such a slogan but I feel a need to express my praise for the still-underused slopegraph and try help continue spread the word of its worth.

The typical application for using a slopegraph is for a before and after story. Its key value is that it provides several lines of interrogation in one single chart, revealing ranking, magnitude and changes over time.

As a big football fan, this is a particularly interesting time to apply a slopegraph to show the huge amount of transition that has taken place in the Premier League between this season and last.

So far teams have played 15 games. A snapshot of the league tables after 15 games for this season versus last let’s us look at the data and pick out the headline changes in the position of teams in the league and their absolute points,. We can see Arsenal are up at the top of the league having been mid-table last year, as are Liverpool. We can see (and take some delight) in Man Utd’s drop towards mid-table mediocrity but yet they aren’t loads of points away from the precious top 4. We can see Sunderland’s ongoing struggles.

Prem20122013

Prem20132014

However, it doesn’t satisfactorily draw out the big changes that have happened. The best way to visually expose the big stories of these two contrasting seasons is with the slopegraph. Using data from the official Premier League tables for 2012/2013 (as at 15 games, with manual adjustments for those who hadn’t reached 15) and 2013/2014 (as at 15 games played) we can use something as simple and ubiquitous as Excel to create a simple before and after story. (Note that I have removed the relegated/promoted teams, just using those that were in the league across both seasons.)

Slopegraph1

Now we can see the stories. Plotting the teams by absolute points totals on the parallel vertical axes automatically encodes their ranking with connecting lines joining the points together highlighting the transition (colour accentuating the up and down movement).

First of all we notice there are clearly big changes, the sloping lines in all directions tell us this instantly. We see how boringly dominant the two Manchester teams were at this point last season: the physical gap between City and third place much more apparent than from the table view. We see Arsenal’s impressive standing, 5 points clear already, and the relative bunching of teams competing for the top places beneath. We see not just Arsenal’s and Liverpool’s rise up the table but the significance of that rise compared to their relative performances at the same stage last year, as it is for Newcastle and Southampton.

To further emphasise the bigger changes up and down we could use the darkness/lightness of colour to visually distinguish those who have gone up or down by 25%+ of their points totals.

Slopegraph2

Alternatively, we could use the thickness of the connecting line to emphasise this (which might be better for small resolution graphics).

Slopegraph3

Just a simple demonstration but something that should show the value of a slopegraph in offering multiple insights from a single and simple graphic display. I would love to see this technique being used more, especially in the sports broadcast media, where it could be perfectly deployed.

** Here is a link to a shared Excel file that was used to create these graphs. Feel free to download and view in Excel (ignore the flawed Google preview version of it).

Best of the visualisation web… October 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 October 2013.

Visualisations/Infographics

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

Flowing Data | Incredible piece of work to create a single graphic comparing the size of starships from science fiction

Washington Post | How the shutdown affects departments

Enigma | Now ended, but during October this was a great, live dashboard of the facts and figures relating to the US government shutdown

YouTube | 10 seconds of extreme trading in blackberry

Rasagy | Visualizing 500 Days of Summer

Stamen | Visualisations for Jawbone as presented at TED 2013 using TED attendees’ data

Digital Attack Map | ‘Digital Attack Map is a live data visualization of DDoS attacks around the globe, built through a collaboration between Google Ideas and Arbor Networks. ‘

Flowing Data | Maritime traffic in the Baltic Sea, animated

Sport England | Interactive to look at the participation numbers around different sports

Health Plan | Explore your neighborhood health profile (in LA)

New York Times | ‘The Cancer Divide: Uganda Fights Stigma and Poverty to Take On Breast Cancer’

New York Times | ‘Where Poor and Uninsured Americans Live’

BBC News | Women gain as gender gap ‘narrows’

QlikView | Nice demonstration of data StoryTelling feature in QlikView11, using the data visualisation census data

New York Times | A Short History of the High Rise

Guardian | ‘The UK tops the 2013 open data index but how do other countries compare?’

EyeSeeData | Football Player Transfers: ’133 years of transfer data into a 60 second history lesson’

SCMP | Some fantastic infographic work from the SCMP team during October, browse through the series

UK Data Explorer Blog | ‘Experimental interactive Census maps of English wards’

Boston Globe | ‘NBA salary cap game: Make your own team’

Guardian | Interactive map: the history of music in Manchester

Stamen | Surging seas mapping project

Flightaware | Tracking and visualising the misery associated with traveling by air

RTI | Introducing the ‘Synthetic Microdata Household Viewer’ – ‘How does the human population organize itself across the landscape? How do age, income, race, and household size vary in cities?’

Guardian | Three degrees of separation: breaking down the NSA’s ‘hops’ surveillance method

Cooper Center | More pointillistic mapping beauty, this time to show a single dot for each vote in the US presidential election, coloured by party

Guardian | Australia in Numbers: What is the safest time to drive?

Articles

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

Knight Foundation | Jake Porway’s post about ‘Big data for the greater good’

Poynter | Continuing the recent trend of great articles about colour ‘Why rainbow colors aren’t the best option for data visualizations’

Masters of Media | ‘The Not-So-Functional Art: Putting Information Visualisation Back Into Context’

Eager Eyes | Introducing Tableau’s upcoming new feature ‘Story Points’

Peltier Tech Blog | Excel charting dos and don’ts

Vincos | A Gephi generated view of the Italian Twittersphere

Eager Eyes | Glowing review from Robert for Isabel Meirelles’ ‘Design for Information’ book

A List Apart | Flat UI and Forms

Journalism | The Times building ‘suite of tools’ for multimedia stories

Tableau | Great set of articles for the October Design Month series

New Yorker | Why Abraham Lincoln loved infographics

qunb | Good Ol’ Excel Is The Ultimate Data Visualization Tool (In Most Cases)

UX Magazine | Useful article about designing for mobile – ‘Six mobile myths’

Second Story | Write up from the Shape of Story event ‘an interactive screening to spark conversation’

Fast Company | ‘The New York Times fights ‘Snow Fall’ fatigue with more Snow Falls – and it’s working’

BBC | ‘BBC plans to help get the nation coding’

Eager Eyes | Report from IEEE VIS 2013 in Atlanta, GA

FastCo Design | Why our brains love curvy architecture

DataHero | Interesting take on the ongoing debate of ‘Visualisation vs Infographic’

Dominikus | Big Pictures in the Small: Visualizations on Mobile Devices

FastCo Design | The Science Of A Great Subway Map

Usesthis | ‘What do people use to get stuff done? Featuring Hadley Wickham’

The Functional Art | ‘Storytelling, journalism, visualization, and science: A discussion in Nature Methods’

DataVizBlog | Critiquing Data Visualizations

Wired | NBA Superstar Chris Bosh: Here’s Why You Should Learn to Code

ATH Creative | Amanda Hobbs’ reflections on a year of freelancing

Perceptual Edge | ‘Chart Junk: A Magnet for Misguided Research’ – Review of the Research Study “What Makes a Visualization Memorable?”

Learning & Development

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

Visually | ‘Graph Visualization 101′ – series of posts on the basics of graph visualization by Sébastien Heymann in collaboration with Bénédicte Le Grand

IEEE VIS | Full collection of IEES VIS 2013 Papers

SportsVis | What’s the score?
The 1st Workshop on Sports Data Visualization, papers from IEEE VIS 2013

CiteVis | Visualizing Citations among InfoVis Conference Papers

Web Design Depot | A simple typographic trick to increase text readability by up to 30%

Wired | 13 of the Year’s Best Infographics

O’Reilly | Video of Scott Murray’s talk ‘Getting Started with Interactive Data Visualizations’

Mulin Blog | ‘A quick guide on web scraping: Why and how’

Slideshare | Visualizing ‘Big’ data slide deck from Sean Kandel & Jeffrey Heer (Trifacta)

Interaction Design | Online course: ‘Information Visualization: Getting Dashboards Right’ (at time of publishing the course had started but you can still join)

Subject News

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

Density Design | Introducing RAW, ‘The missing link between spreadsheets and vector graphics’

Amazon | New book: ‘Presenting Data Effectively’ by Stephanie Evergreen

Visual Loop | Really useful collection of visualisation blogs and their recent posts

Community Resources | Newly discovered site: ‘Community Resources is an online collection of references compiled by researchers in the field of visualization (including scientific visualization, information visualization and visual analytics)’

Thumbs Up Viz | The antidote to WTFViz! ‘Thumbs Up Viz is a collection of elegant, efficient, and (above all) effective data visualization.’

Charles Apple | Boston Globe’s Javier Zarracina moving to the Los Angeles Times

MapBox | Eric Fischer joins the MapBox team

VisualizingImpact | Newly discovered site: ‘We are a collective of techies, designers, researchers, information architects and storytellers working with organizations to transform complex information into compelling insights’

accidental aRt | Newly discovered site: ‘When data visualization goes beautifully wrong.

VizCandy | Newly discovered site: ‘at play in the world of visual analytics with Tableau and Excel’

IDL | Newly discovered site: Formerly the Standard Vis Group, now the UW Interactive Data Lab

Sundries

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

xkcd | Tall infographics

Nielsen Norman Group | iOS 7 User-Experience Appraisal

BBC News | How did van Gogh find colour

FastCo Create | ‘This map shows what every country leads the world in and it’s not entirely flattering’

Kickstarter | Waveform – bleep, techno and rave silkscreen prints

FastCo Design | Must be an application for this in visualisation – ‘A Scratch-N-Sniff Book For Budding Wine Snobs’

FastCo Design | Artists Aim To Rebrand The Slums Of Rio, With A Wave Of Audacious Color

Noisli | ‘Noisli is a fantastic and good looking background noise and color generator ideal for working and relaxing.’