• Streamgraph code is available and open source

    April 1, 2010  |  Software

    Some people love 'em and others hate 'em. Now you can play with streamgraphs (seen here and here) yourself, whatever side you might be on. Lee Byron has made the code available on Github, under a BSD license.

    It's in Processing, and it's not plug-n-play like many of you are probably hoping for, but on a quick skim, the code does look very readable and shouldn't be too hard to grasp for those with a little bit of coding knowledge. I recommend reading Lee and Martin's streamgraph paper first though.

  • Visualize your Last.fm listening patterns with LastHistory

    March 3, 2010  |  Self-surveillance, Software

    lasthistory

    Frederik Seiffert provides this nifty tool, LastHistory, to visualize your Last.fm listening history. Mouse over songs and find repeated track sequences. The visualization itself isn't all that useful, but it gets interesting when you hook your calendar and photos in with music. LastHistory lets you replay songs synched with your photos, and your slideshow suddenly gains a new dimension.
    Continue Reading

  • Sunlight Labs releases mapping framework, ClearMaps

    February 23, 2010  |  Mapping, Software

    clearmaps

    Open data is great, but it's useless if you don't know what to do with it. Sunlight Labs, a group focused on using technology to support open government, recently released ClearMaps. It's an Actionscript framework for interactive cartographic visualization.

    In addition to giving designers and developers more control over presentation the project aims to address some of the common technical challenges faced when building interactive, data driven maps for the web. ClearMaps is designed as a lightweight, flexible set of tools for building complex data visualizations. It is a framework not a plug-and-play component (though it could be a starting point for those wishing to make reusable tools).

    It's still in the early stages, but developers will want to check this out I am sure.

    [Thanks, Kevin]

  • Build Online Visualization for Free with Tableau Public

    Tableau Software, popular for making data more accessible, mainly in the business sector, just opened up with Tableau Public. The application is similar in spirit to other online data applications like Many Eyes and Swivel. It lets you share data and visualizations online. However, Tableau Public doesn't have a central portal or a place to browse data. Rather it's focused on letting you explore data and stitch modules together on your desktop and then embed your findings on a website or blog.
    Continue Reading

  • Build Statistical Graphics Online With ggplot2

    Statisticians are generally behind the times when it comes to online applications. There are a lot out-dated Java applets and really rough attempts at getting R, a statistical computing environment, in some useful form through a browser. So imagine my surprise when I tried this tool by Jeroen Ooms, a visiting scholar at UCLA Statistics.

    It actually works pretty well, and for a prototype, it isn't half bad.
    Continue Reading

  • Microsoft Live Labs Pivot: Interact With Massive Amounts of Data

    December 10, 2009  |  Software, Visualization

    What if you could see all the individual bits of information scattered across the Web in one view and then interact with it in a meaningful way? This is what Microsoft Live Labs' new Pivot experiment tries to do.

    Pivot makes it easier to interact with massive amounts of data in ways that are powerful, informative, and fun. We tried to step back and design an interaction model that accommodates the complexity and scale of information rather than the traditional structure of the Web.

    The goal is to let users make connections between pages, data points, photos, etc that go beyond links, with what the developers call collections. The below video is a demonstration and explanation:

    Pivot's ability to display lots of thumbnails and then reorganize and zoom in on them is the tool's foundation. The transition between each view involves a flutter of thumbnails, which sort of provides a link between data arrangements. The browsing behavior looks a lot like that of Photosynth, a Live Labs project that lets you browse giant bundles of photos.

    Jeffrey Heer et. al. wrote a paper on these transitions a while back. I can't really say whether it works or not. I suspect it's more about a fun factor once you get into higher volumes of data than it is about making connections. That's not to say it's not important, of course. After all, most of the Web is about entertainment in some form or another.

    All in all, it's an interesting concept, and it will be fun to see where the Live Labs team takes the project.

    Pivot is currently by invitation only, but I have a handful of invites (10 to be exact) for you guys. Download Pivot from here, and then use this activation code: 3C5D 19BD B7DA 3186. Come back here and let us know what you think in the comments.

    [Thanks, Jeff]

  • Nebul.us Shows You Your Activity on the Web

    December 8, 2009  |  Online Applications, Self-surveillance

    Nebul.us is an online application, currently in private beta, that aggregates and visualizes your online activity. Enter your information for Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, etc and install a plugin in Firefox to record your browsing behavior. Get something that looks like the above, sort of a donut-polar area chart hybrid. Nebul.us calls it a cloud.
    Continue Reading

  • Make Thematic Maps With Cartographer.js

    November 5, 2009  |  Mapping, Software

    Like it or not, Google Maps mashups continue to be a Web favorite. It's just so easy to use. Stick a few lines of javascript in your web page, and voila, you've got an interactive map. That's for point-wise data though. It gets a little trickier beyond "you are here" pointers. Cartographic.js, in its first release, aims to make thematic mapping with the Google Maps API easier.
    Continue Reading

  • Data Interface Iterations: Designing webtrendmap.com’s Stacks

    September 30, 2009  |  Online Applications

    545-stacks

    This is a guest post by Craig Mod, who collaborated with Information Architects, to develop Web Trend Map. The site, which is largely inspired by iA's previous work, lets you curate links with sources you trust. This post describes the multiple iterations and decisions made during the design process.

    Design and development of webtrendmap.com v1.0 took three months. During this period the interaction design and interface underwent countless subtle permutations. What we ended up with is almost totally unlike what we started with. There was a lot of painful iteration. A lot of gut wrenching backtracking.

    Let's drill down and take a look at how we iterated on one key webtrendmap.com visual element: the Stack. Continue Reading

  • Collect Data About Yourself with Twitter – your.flowingdata is Live

    July 15, 2009  |  Online Applications, Projects

    your.flowingdata (YFD), a Twitter application that lets you collect data about yourself, is now LIVE!

    I feel like I've been working on this project forever, but it's finally at a place where I think it's ready for human consumption. And unlike the previous version, what you track is completely up to you.
    Continue Reading

  • Review: RoamBi, Seeing Your Data on the iPhone

    June 29, 2009  |  Reviews, Software

    RoamBiThis is a guest review by Peter Robinet of Bubble Foundry, a web design company that specializes in building websites for Web startups.

    What It Is

    RoamBi is a free data visualization application for the iPhone by MeLLmo. You download datasets to the app and it creates visualizations so you can drill down into the data. The app is pitched as a mobile business tool for viewing sales reports and the like, but the sample visualizations included with the app suggest another possibility: RoamBi could easily be a killer app for statistics-minded sports fans, such as sabermetrics devotees!
    Continue Reading

  • Review: Beginning Python Visualization

    June 19, 2009  |  Reviews, Software

    Python is a powerful programming language that's good for a lot of things. I mainly use it for data scraping, parsing, munging, etc, and more recently, for the Web, and I've left visualization up to other languages.

    But why not use Python for visualization too? That way you can have everything in one language and all the gears can fit together a little easier. Beginning Python Visualization (BPV) by Shai Vaingast is a guide to help you do this.

    While you might need a little bit of programming experience to fully make use of this book, Vaingast provides plenty of examples and explanations for you to easily learn how to use Python's visualization options.
    Continue Reading

  • Google Fusion Tables Helps You Visualize and Manage Your Data

    June 11, 2009  |  Online Applications

    As the newest release from Google Labs, Fusion Tables is a tool that aims to make your data more accessible.

    Today we're introducing Google Fusion Tables on Labs, an experimental system for data management in the cloud. It draws on the expertise of folks within Google Research who have been studying collaboration, data integration, and user requirements from a variety of domains. Fusion Tables is not a traditional database system focusing on complicated SQL queries and transaction processing. Instead, the focus is on fusing data management and collaboration: merging multiple data sources, discussion of the data, querying, visualization, and Web publishing.

    Google Spreadsheets + phpMyAdmin

    Fusion Tables will feel familiar to those of you who use Google Spreadsheets, but the use is somewhat different.

    Where Spreadsheets is meant to mimic much of the feel of MIcrosoft Excel, Fusion Tables is somewhere in the middle between Excel and database (or at least it hopes to be eventually). You can filter data as well as merge your datasets with others, for example, by country.

    Maybe the best way to describe Fusion Tables is a cross between Google Docs and phpMyAdmin, which is a user interface into a MySQL database.

    Visualization Options

    Probably of most interest are the visualization options. They're what you're used to seeing with line, pie, and bars, all looking very Google-y. The new ones to check out: motion chart and intensity map (above). There's also a regular point mapping option. Again, we've seen these visualizations before, but Fusion Tables is trying to make it easier to use them.

    What do you think of Google's new offering? GIve it a whirl with their sample tables, and come back here and let us know what you think in the comments below.

    [Thanks Andrew, NoodleGei, Oleks, and everyone else...]

  • Javascript InfoVis Toolkit – New Version Released

    June 5, 2009  |  Software, Visualization

    As we've seen, javascript is growing into a viable solution for visualization on the Web. John Resig ported Processing to javascript about a year ago and we saw some projects in javascript to show off speed in Google Chrome.

    Most recently, Nicolas Garcia Belmonte released version 1.1 of his InfoVis Toolkit, which provides a basic set of tools for creating interactive visualizations on the Web. Continue Reading

  • Open Source Data Visualization Framework – Axiis

    May 22, 2009  |  Software, Statistical Visualization

    axiis

    Axiis, an open source data visualization framework in Flex, was released a few days ago under an MIT license. I haven't done much in Flex, but from what I hear, it's relatively easy to pick up. You get a lot of bang out of a few lines of code. Axiis makes things even easier, and provides visualization outside the built in Flex graph packages. Continue Reading

  • Indieprojector Makes it Easy to Map Your Geographical Data

    May 21, 2009  |  Mapping, Online Applications

    Axis Maps recently released indieprojector, a new component to indiemapper, their in-development mapping project to "bring traditional cartography into the 21st century." Indieprojector lets you import KML and shapefiles and easily reproject your data into a selection of popular map projections. No longer do you have to live within the bounds of a map that makes Greenland look the same size as Africa. Continue Reading

  • Google Adds Search to Public Data

    April 28, 2009  |  Data Sources, Online Applications

    Google announced today that they have made a small subset of public datasets searchable. Search for unemployment rate and you'll see a thumbnail at the top of the results. Click on it, and you get a the very Google-y chart like the one above, so instead of searching for unemployment rates for multiple years, you can get it all at once.
    Continue Reading

  • A Couple New Looks for Google News

    April 27, 2009  |  Online Applications, Visualization

    The ever popular newsmap (above), a tree map view of Google News, got a facelift a few days weeks ago. Markos Wekamp, the creator, has changed to a rectangularized tree map layout to display headlines more completely, search as you type, and deep linking. Markos also brings the brightness down a notch from that of the original, which I like. It's easier on the eyes.

    Earlier last week, Google released its own alternative news view with News Timeline. The interface lets you search the news, blogs, etc and results are displayed in a timeline format. Show by day, month, year, and decade.

    The jury is still out on whether the timeline is an improvement over regular search listings. What do you think? How about versus the New York Times article skimmer?

    [via infosthetics & Google News Blog & Newsmap Blog]

  • Social Weather Mapping From Google Chrome Experiment

    March 19, 2009  |  Mapping, Software

    In the promotion of its speedy javascript, Google announces the Chrome Experiment. As part of the Experiment, design group Use All Five give us Small Talk, which is a social weather map that uses tweets that contain terms like rainy and sunny. Circles are sized by number of tweets, and tweets are colored by dominant weather tweet, so what you get right now is very blue on the east and sort of orange in the west. Oh how I long for the sun.

    The cool thing about this (and the other projects from Chrome Experiment) is that it's implemented in javascript.

    Pan and zoom...

    Click on the bubbles...

    Yes, javascript just keeps getting faster and more impressive. It's no longer just a way to show dynamic status messages and popups. It's much more than that. Javascript is becoming a viable visualization solution.

    [Thanks, Levi]

  • News at a Glance with New York Times Article Skimmer

    February 26, 2009  |  Online Applications

    The New York Times homepage has a lot of news to report. While well-organized and well-designed, the Times recognizes that there's still room for improvement as seen in their article skimmer prototype:

    Here at The Times, we often hear a common story of usage from our customers: Reading the Sunday Times, spreading out the paper on a table while eating brunch. For many of our customers, this ritual is fundamental to their enjoyment of the weekend, and its absence would be jolting.

    With this in mind, we present an as-yet-unnamed article skimmer. Think of it as an attempt to provide the Sunday Times experience anytime. Of course, there are parts we can’t replicate: the satisfying crinkle of the paper; the circular stain of your coffee; the smell of newsprint.

    Article headlines and snippets are arranged by grid and divided by news categories. Jump to a specific category with the sidebar on the right or browse up and down with the arrow keys on your keyboard. I personally think it makes skimming easier. What do you think?

    [via NYT First Look via Waxy]

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