It's funny how data is finding it's way into everyday objects. There was jewelry a few months ago and coins last month. Now we've got this experiment with Christmas ornaments from Really Interesting Group (RIG). The snowman's head is sized by the number of followers on Twitter; the (rain) bars represent miles traveled per month on Dopplr; the red shows listening habits on last.fm; and finally, the blue one shows apertures you've used over the year for photos uploaded to Flickr. Continue Reading
This experiment (below) by graduate student Pedro Miguel Cruz shows the decline of Maritime empires during the 19th and 20th centuries .
I donâ€™t wanna call this small experiment of information visualization neither information art. Either way sounds too pretentious - as the visuals are not very sophisticated or elegant, and the way that the information is treated doesnâ€™t enable the extraction of advanced knowledge. Although, it works very well as a ludic narrative. I ultimately found it very joyful.
So sit back and enjoy. It's fun to watch.
Let's for a second consider an alternative to view this data more analytically for some more insight and what not. I'm thinking an area graph ala Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenberg's History Flow for Wikipedia dynamics could be interesting. What do you think?
Jer Thorp, an artist and educator from Vancouver, Canada, visualizes when people "wake up" on Twitter, or when they say good morning, rather. Here it is in its 3-d globe glory. It's called GoodMorning!. Notice the wave.
Okay, wait, I know you're already furiously leaving or thinking about a comment on how absolutely useless and non-concrete this is - and Jer is the first to admit that - but there is obviously something to learn here.
However, it's late, and I'm tired, so I'll leave that up to you. But off the top of my head, I'm thinking a more relevant subject like disease or need of help and color coding that's more meaningful. Your turn.
The 2009 MTV Video Music Awards are on right now (and I'm sure all of you are watching). Check out the live VMA Twitter tracker by Stamen and Radian6. It's kind of fun to watch, even if you aren't tuned into MTV. Celebrity profile pictures are dynamically sized by how much people are talking about them on Twitter. Apparently Kanye is performing right now... or he did something stupid.
Ben Fry, well-known for Processing and plenty of other data goodness, announced his most recent piece, On the Origin of Species: The Preservation of Favoured Traces, made possible by The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online.
The visualization explores the evolution of Charles Darwin's theory of, uh, evolution. It began as a less-defined 150,000-word text in the first edition and grew and developed to a 190,000-word theory in the sixth edition.
Watch where the updates in the text occur over time. Chunks are removed, chunks are added, and words are changed. Blocks are color-coded by edition. Roll over blocks to see the text underneath.
As usual, excellent work, Mr. Fry.
Happy labor day!
I Google myself every now and then. Everyone does. I don't know why people act like it's all weird to do it. We're all interested in what's out there on the Internet about us or someone with the same name as us. Some of it is right. A lot of it is wrong. Personas, from MIT's Metropath(ologies) exhibit, scours the Web and attempts to characterize how the Internet sees you.
In a world where fortunes are sought through data-mining vast information repositories, the computer is our indispensable but far from infallible assistant. Personas demonstrates the computer's uncanny insights and its inadvertent errors, such as the mischaracterizations caused by the inability to separate data from multiple owners of the same name. It is meant for the viewer to reflect on our current and future world, where digital histories are as important if not more important than oral histories, and computational methods of condensing our digital traces are opaque and socially ignorant.
The piece is about the incorrectness of your Internet profile just as much as what's right.
As many have pointed out, the end result is kind of anti-climatic, but it's fun to watch the process at work, which makes heavy use of natural language processing algorithm latent Dirichlet allocation [pdf] from Blei, et. al.
How does the Internet see you?
Map/Territory, by designer Timo Arnall, is a concept video of what it might be like to interact with a map embedded in real life - not just on a phone or on a computer screen. Imagine a world where a flick of the wrist draws up all the information you need in real time and space. Check out the 30-second clip below:
I really love stuff like this. Stuff like Map/Territory, Bruce Branit's holographic world, Microsoft's vision for 2019, or even the Starship Enterprise is simply beautiful. It's fun to imagine what the future might be like.
Nevermind the how part. Technically speaking, I have no idea how Map/Territory would ever come to fruition, and I'm pretty sure Timo doesn't either, but who cares? While technical know-how is absolutely useful and completely necessary, sometimes you need imagination and creativity to push the boundaries of what's possible.
[via O'Reilly Radar]
It's not quantitative at all, and a lot of you probably won't even consider this visualization. It is pretty though, and I could see how this idea might be applied to data.
[via I Believe in Advertising | Thanks, Ken]
We've all seen the new Star Trek by now. If you haven't, you should. There are amazing visuals throughout, especially on the bridge, where those aboard can just about interact with everything that can be touched. Albeit it's purely fictional and non-functional, but it's good to dream.
Pixel City is a procedurally-generated city by Shamus Young. For the non-coders out there, this essentially means that based on a certain set of rules, this 3-D city is generated dynamically each time the program runs. Here, the video that shows the Young's process will make it more clear:
Check out the very detailed 10-part explanation for more on how Pixel City was built. Hopefully more comes out of it than just a screensaver. If it does become a screensaver though, I'd gladly use it.
Information Architects, a design firm with offices in Japan and Zurich, release their annual web trends map. This is the fourth one in the series. Popular domains on the Web are mapped to the Tokyo Metro and organized by how they are most related to the cities. Heights represent success in traffic and branding. Subway lines are colored by area of interest. For example, take the orange line to find the creatives. Notice that there are several colors passing through Apple.
Here's the high-res zoomable version. Go full-screen for the full effect.
While the map would mean a lot more to me if I lived in Tokyo, the designers obviously have taken great care to cover the details, and that's something I can appreciate.
[via TechCrunch | Thanks, Pavan and Max]
Aaron Koblin and Daniel Massey team up to give us Bicycle Built for Two Thousand, an Amazon Mechanical Turk rendition of Bicycle Built for Two. They used custom software written in Processing to record 2,088 voices. Put together all those random voices, and you get this:
For 6 cents, turkers were asked to imitate a sound bite and were not told why they were doing so. What they were actually singing was a note from "Daisy Bell," originally written by Harry Dacre in 1892, or otherwise known as the first song sung by a computer in 1962. The full song is interesting, but it's even more amusing listening to the individual (dorky) voices singing the separate notes. Ehhhhh... wahhhh... eeeeeee... haha.
Data Flow: Visualizing Information in Graphic Design isn't an Edward Tufte book. It's not an instruction manual nor is it a guide to analytical and statistical graphics. Rather, Data Flow is a showcase of visualization and infographics with a hard focus on aesthetics and form.
Stamen Design, whose work you've most definitely seen, comes out with their most recent collaboration with Flickr, the photo and video sharing service. It's called Flickr Clock. It lets you browse Flickr videos contributed to the Flickr Clock Group Pool. Videos are arranged as slices by time uploaded (or is it time contributed to the group?) and sized by their original upload resolutions. Click on a slice, and the video opens up like above.
Underneath is a time browser for a zoomed out view with chunks by the hour. Click, drag, and browse or just sit back and let autoplay do the work for you if you're too lazy to move your mouse. The wider the chunks are, the more videos that were uploaded during the hour.
Flickr Clock isn't my favorite Stamen work (that title still belongs to Cabspotting), but I like it. It's fun. What do you think about Flickr Clock?
In collaboration with generative artists Marius Watz, field, and others, along with Universal Everything and Wieden+Kennedy, Nokia has put together a beautiful art series involving communication as a promotion to their new E71 smartphone. The series include two interactive pieces and several videos.
One interactive piece takes video from your webcam, audio from your mic, and text that you type as input to create a generative art piece that you can send to friends and download as desktop wallpaper. Here's what mine looks like:
The gray blobbies are from me waving my arm around, the blue waves are from me whistling, and the text strands are from me typing "welcome to the jungle" in the input box. It's pretty fun to play with.
The second one is a small (and pretty elegant) application that you download onto your E71. Use the application to send a text message and along with that message comes a generated image that looks something like the first image in this post. It'll be different bits of art as you send different messages.
Then there are the videos - all interesting and beautiful on their own:
By the way, I have the Nokia E71. It's an awesome phone, in case you're looking for a Blackberry alternative. Awesome design and really good feel to it. The GPS has helped guide me many many times and the keypad makes typing easy, which is perfect for my little self-surveillance project.
Google's chief economist tells us statistician will be the sexy job of the next decade. Now Microsoft provides its vision for 2019 (video below):
The future for 2019 looks a lot like data visualization and some serious data processing, yeah? So you better get ready. Hop on to the band wagon before all the seats are taken. The future sure is lookin' good. Check out the extended version of the above video in the link below.
[via istartedsomething | Thanks, dx0ne]
Seed Magazine, a publication dedicated to cool things in science, give us The Universe in 2009:
In 2009, we are celebrating curiosity and creativity with a dynamic look at the very best ideas that give us reason for optimism. Rethink your assumptions and post better questions about the future.
The Universe in 09 is essentially a simple mosaic where each tile is an idea. There's something that resembles a bar graph up top. Each bar represents a category, and as you scroll over a category, the height of the bar represents the numbers of ideas in that category (I think). It's not meant to be analytical really. It's mostly for fun, and they did a pretty good job at accomplishing that goal. The interaction is pretty entertaining. Check it out for yourself.