• Open source mapping lab

    September 30, 2014  |  Mapping

    Tangram from Mapzen

    Mapzen focuses on building open source mapping components for developers.
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  • Flooding risk cartogram

    September 29, 2014  |  Mapping

    Flooding risk

    As you may or may not know, climate change could bring with it other effects besides our average days getting warmer. Flooding is one of these other things. Based on data from research by Climate Central, Gregor Aisch, David Leonhardt and Kevin Quealy for the New York Times mapped flood risk by country with a cartogram.

    Globally, eight of the 10 large countries most at risk are in Asia. The Netherlands would be the most exposed, with more than 40 percent of its country at risk, but it also has the world's most advanced levee system, which means in practice its risk is much lower.

    Some countries in Asia may choose to emulate the Dutch system in coming decades, but some of the Asian nations are not wealthy and would struggle to do so.

    Each rectangle represents a country, and the size represents how many people are expected to experience regular flooding by the year 2100. Color indicates the estimated percentage of a country's population to feel the effects. So as expected, you see a lot of big rectangles and dark colors in the Asian countries.

    See also Stamen Design's flood maps, also in collaboration with Climate Central, from a couple of years ago.

  • Drones programmed for light painting in the sky

    September 26, 2014  |  Data Art

    Teapot

    What do you get when you put LEDs on a system of drones and then program them to fly in formation? Spaxels from the Ars Electronic Futurelab.
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  • No Ceilings highlights progress towards gender equality

    September 25, 2014  |  Infographics

    No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project, an initiative from the Clinton Foundation, aims to highlight progress towards global gender equality using data.

    To understand where we need to go, we need to know what we've achieved. The No Ceilings project will work with leading technology partners to create a comprehensive and accessible global review that will bring together and widely distribute the best data on the status of women and girls and their contributions to prosperity and security. Advocates, academics and leaders will be able to see the gains we've made, as well as the gaps that remain, and access and share this information across platforms in order to design reforms and drive real change.

    The video above by Fathom Information Design is one piece of the launch, touching on education, salary, and mortality.

  • Quartet point cloud

    September 24, 2014  |  Data Art

    Quartet point cloud

    This is beautiful to watch. Graham Roberts, Daniel J. Wakin, and others from the New York Times, along with OpenShades, sat down with the Kronos Quartet to collect point cloud data. The visualization of the data shows the musicians at work.

    One day earlier this year at a studio in downtown Manhattan, the members — David Harrington and John Sherba, violinists; Hank Dutt, violist; and Sunny Yang, cellist — were game for an experiment: to create a video that would serve as a new way to explain the special mystery of how a quartet communicates. ‚Äč They found themselves surrounded by a battery of laptops, video cameras and microphones as well as sensors that turned their movements into data that eventually rendered the players kind of as "dot clouds" who would appear and disappear according to their individual participation in the music.

    Brings back memories of Radiohead's House of Cards music video from 2008.

  • Hand-drawn, detailed city maps

    September 23, 2014  |  Mapping

    Hand-drawn San Francisco map

    Maps can be about a lot of things, from strictly geography and location down to the individuals who reside in an area. Illustrator Jenni Sparks embeds herself in a city, takes copious notes, and draws detailed maps about what she learns. Her style lends to the community side of the spectrum.
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  • How search works

    September 23, 2014  |  Infographics

    How Search Works

    Google explained the process of a web search with a scrolling infographic. Might be old news for some, but the layout and flow work nicely, guiding you through each step. [Thanks, @amyleerobinson]

  • Household incomes rise

    September 19, 2014  |  Statistical Visualization

    Income difference since 2009

    Since the recession, it's taken a while for household incomes to come back to where they were in 2009. In most parts of the country, incomes are still lower, however, it appears they are making their way back to 2009 levels. With the Census Bureau's recent release of data from their American Community Survey, the Washington Post charted the annual difference from 2009 to 2013.

    Each line represents a metropolitan area's difference in household income of a current year, compared to that of 2009. So the closer to or higher above the thin black baseline the better.

  • PhD gender gaps around the world

    September 18, 2014  |  Statistical Visualization

    How Nations Fare in PhDs by Sex

    Periscopic, for Scientific American, visualized the number of PhDs awarded in various countries. You might expect men to be in high percentages and women to be in low, but it's not always in that direction.

    In the U.S., women are going to college and majoring in science and engineering fields in increasing numbers, yet here and around the world they remain underrepresented in the workforce. Comparative figures are hard to come by, but a disparity shows up in the number of Ph.D.s awarded to women and men. The chart here, assembled from data collected by the National Science Foundation, traces the gender gap at the doctoral level for 56 nations. The situation in individual countries varies widely, but as the numbers make clear, there are interesting exceptions to the global trend.

    Each view shows a vertical dotted line to indicate where PhDs awarded are an even split between men and women. To the left of that dotted line shows where men earn more PhDs than women, and on the right, where women earn more than men.

  • Search for word usage in movies and television over time

    September 17, 2014  |  Statistical Visualization

    Data usage

    Movies and television shows often reflect cultural trends of the time they are made in. Even movies that take place during the past or future can say something about the present through metadata or production style. Benjamin Schmidt, an assistant professor of history at Northeastern University, provides a tool that lets you see trends in movie and television dialogue.
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  • Powers of Ten, Derek Jeter style

    September 16, 2014  |  Infographics

    Powers of Jeter

    You've likely seen the classic Powers of Ten video from 1977. It starts on an individual and continues to zoom out farther to a view of galaxies. The video provides a sense of scale that makes really big (and really small) numbers more relatable. We're just not very good at picturing scales beyond a certain range.

    So when you hear that retired baseball player Derek Jeter took an estimated 342,000 swings during his professional career, you get that it's a lot, but only kind of. The New York Times went all Powers of Ten on the Jeter swing count to help you see better.

    The piece starts with a single swinging Jeter, and as you scroll down you get the average swings per at-bat, then practice swings per game. Keep going, and you get the career total.

    See all the Jeters.

  • Pantone beer cans

    September 16, 2014  |  Data Art

    Graphic designer Txaber created beer can labeling to match the typical color of each beverage to its Pantone color.

    Patone beer cans

    I probably wouldn't buy beer with this labeling though. Usually you look for more complexity in your beverage, and these colored cans say flat and single-noted beer to me. Fun though. And maybe useful for beer beginners. [via Boing Boing]

  • Probabilities of failing birth control methods

    September 15, 2014  |  Statistical Visualization

    Birth control effectiveness

    In high school health class, where I learned about contraceptives and the dangers of pre-marital sex, my teacher spouted rates to scare. He would say something like condoms are 98 percent effective but never explained what that meant. Do they break 2 percent of the time? Do couples get pregnant 2 percent of the time? STDs?

    These charts from Gregor Aisch and Bill Marsh might help. They show the probability of an unplanned pregnancy, categorized by contraceptive and over a span of ten years. The top solid lines represent probabilities with "typical use" and the dashed lines on the bottom represent probabilities with "perfect use."

    Maybe it's time for better instructions on how to use these things.

    Update: The calculation of long-term probabilities is likely on the pessimistic side and makes too many assumptions about the data and population. Andrew Whitby critiques.

  • Extinctions and animal species at risk

    September 12, 2014  |  Infographics

    A Disappearing Planet

    Data journalist Anna Flagg for ProPublica reported on animal species at higher risk of extinction.

    Animal species are going extinct anywhere from 100 to 1,000 times the rates that would be expected under natural conditions. According to Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction and other recent studies, the increase results from a variety of human-caused effects including climate change, habitat destruction, and species displacement. Today's extinction rates rival those during the mass extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

    The data has an interesting organization. Think back to sixth-grade science and remember that animals are grouped in a hierarchy of order, family, genus, and species. This hierarchy is represented with horizontal bars on the bottom, vertical line pointers, vertical bars, and elements within each bar, respectively.

    Once you get down to the genus level (vertical bars), the interactive gets kind of tough to use unless you search for a specific species. I want some filters or some breakout sections to highlight spots to look at. However, as a tool for those closer to the challenge, this seems like it could be quite useful.

  • Generative book covers

    September 10, 2014  |  Data Art

    Generative book covers

    The New York Public Library is developing an eBook-borrowing system, which includes an app that helps you keep track of books, process, and such. One of the challenges is displaying the covers of available books when many of the works don't actually have a cover, so NYPL Labs turned to generative covers that could be made on the fly. Mauricio Giraldo Arteaga, in charged of design, explains the process.

    The code for iOS and Processing is available on GitHub.

  • Beat Blox

    September 10, 2014  |  Data Art

    Beat Blox is a student project by Per Holmquist from Beckmans College of Design. Blocks are placed on a turntable, and beats sound accordingly. Super playful.

    [via CAN]

  • Dinosaurs versus airplane

    September 9, 2014  |  Infographics

    Dinosaurs versus airplane

    Scientists found the fossils of a giant dinosaur that they estimate was 26 meters long and 60 tons heavy. How much is that really? BBC News provided a simple chart to put size into perspective. They compared dinosaur sizes to a moose, African Elephant, and a Boeing 737-900.

    Impressive. Although not as impressive as Mega Shark. [Thanks, Jim]

  • Old maps overlaid on Google Maps

    September 8, 2014  |  Mapping

    Old maps overlaid on Google Maps

    The British Library georeferencing project places old maps, as far back as the 16th century, on top of Google Maps for browsing and as a mode of comparison.

    The British Library began a project to crowdsource the georeferencing of its scanned historic mapping in 2011 by partnering with Klokan Technologies to customise its online georeferencing tool. There have been five public releases of maps since 2012, all of which met with tremendous success. In total over 8,000 maps have been "placed" by participants and subsequently checked for accuracy and approved.

    Has someone else done this? I feel like I've seen something like this project before, but the closest thing I can think of is Historypin, which overlaid images on top of Google Streetview.

  • Style over function for redesigned choking posters

    September 5, 2014  |  Infographics

    Escape from Choking in New York by Phil Ashworth

    In many parts of the country, the departments of health require that eating establishments put up posters that instruct you what to do in case someone is choking. The posters are government-issued, but some people are putting up redesigned posters that fit in with restaurant decor. The Sideshow Podcast covers the trend and some of the ridiculous posters to come out of it.
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  • Cosmic map shows Milky Way at the edge of a supercluster

    September 4, 2014  |  Mapping

    Nature highlights the research of R. Brent Tully et al, which defines a supercluster called Laniakea. A supercluster is like a network of galaxies, and according to this work, the Milky Way is at the edge of this one.

    From the abstract:

    Here we report a map of structure made using a catalogue of peculiar velocities. We find locations where peculiar velocity flows diverge, as water does at watershed divides, and we trace the surface of divergent points that surrounds us. Within the volume enclosed by this surface, the motions of galaxies are inward after removal of the mean cosmic expansion and long range flows. We define a supercluster to be the volume within such a surface, and so we are defining the extent of our home supercluster, which we call Laniakea.

    See the full paper here [pdf].

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