• Network visualization game to understand how a disease spreads

    July 31, 2014  |  Network Visualization

    Vax game

    Vax, a game by Ellsworth Campbell and Isaac Bromley, explores how a disease spreads through a network, starting with just one infected person. It's a simple concept that works well.

    When you start the game, you have a network of uninfected people. The more connected a person is, the more chances that person can infect others upon his or her own infection. Your goal is to strategically administer a limited supply of vaccinations and to quarantine people to prevent as many infections as you can.

    Fun and educational. Woo.

  • Clubs that connect World Cup national teams

    June 22, 2014  |  Network Visualization

    Clubs that connect the World Cup by NYT

    Gregor Aisch for the New York Times explored how the soccer clubs that play all year connect the national teams in this year's World Cup.

    The best national teams come together every four years, but the global tournament is mostly a remix of the professional leagues that are in season most of the time. Three out of every four World Cup players play in Europe, and the top clubs like Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester United have players from one end of the globe to the other.

    My browser buckled a few times as I scrolled, but even without smooth transitions, it's an interesting dive into player connections.

  • Careers after the college degree

    May 28, 2014  |  Network Visualization

    What to do with your degree

    Ben Schmidt, an assistant professor of history at Northeastern University, was curious about careers after college degrees, so he used a quick Sankey diagram to look at data from the American Community Survey. College degrees are on the left, and professions are on the right. The thicker a line that connects a degree and a profession, the more people tend to go a certain route.

    For example, if you click on "General Education" you see a lot of people become elementary and middle school teachers. The diagram works the other way around too, so that you can select a profession to see what people in that area tend to major in.

    As Schmidt says in his description, it was just quick sketch, so the interaction is rough around the edges, but the data here is kind of interesting to look at, especially with all the graduating kids right now.

  • Lawmaking through the House and Senate visualized

    April 28, 2014  |  Network Visualization

    Legislative Explorer

    Researchers at the University of Washington's Center for American Politics and Public Policy built the Legislative Explorer to show the lawmaking process in action. The visualization allows you to watch over 250,000 bills and resolutions introduced from 1973 to present.

    The left half represents the U.S. Senate, with senators sorted by party (blue=Democrat) and a proxy for ideology (top=liberal). The House is displayed on the right. Moving in from the borders, the standing committees of the Senate and House are represented, followed by the Senate and House floors. A bill approved by both chambers then moves upward to the President’s desk and into law, while an adopted resolutions (that does not require the president's signature) moves downward.

    Each dot represents a bill, so you can see them move through the levels. Use the drop-down menus at the top to focus on a Congress, a person, party, topic, and several other categorizations. Or use the search to focus on specific bills. Finally, when you do press play, be sure to keep an eye on the counters on the bottom.

  • NBA passing dynamics

    March 20, 2014  |  Network Visualization

    NBA passing

    With player tracking installed in all of the NBA arenas, the sports analytics folks can essentially replay entire games through data and dissect the many facets of play. Andrew Bergmann looked at the passing averages between starters on each team.

    The thickness of the gray lines on the accompanying chart represents the average number of passes per game between two players.

    A very clear picture emerges on which teams distribute the ball more evenly between players, such as the Nets, Bulls and Cavaliers. On the flip side, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin dominate passing for the Clippers, and likewise for Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio of the Timberwolves.

    These connections are non-directional, so it hides a little bit, but you still get a good sense of who the offense runs through based on the sum-width of connections from an individual. You can also easily see team ball distribution, which is the point of the graphic.

    Next step: match ups. I bet that's where the money's at. We've seen a lot of analyses and graphics that show the activity of a single team, but ultimately, you want to know how your team plays against others in your division and playoff contenders. Ideal gameplay against subpar teams? Not so important.

  • Find new beers to drink

    March 5, 2014  |  Network Visualization

    Beer similarities

    Based on reviews from BeerAdvocate, Beer Viz, a visualization class project, asks you to choose a general style of beer and a beer that you like. Then it shows you beers that are similar, based on appearance, taste, aroma, and overall score. It's like a visual version of the beer recommendation system we saw last year.

  • Donald Duck family tree

    January 15, 2014  |  Network Visualization

    Donald Duck family tree

    The Donald Duck family tree is huge. Who knew? Above is only a sample. See the full version here.

  • Lexical distance between European languages

    January 14, 2014  |  Network Visualization

    Lexical distance

    Using data from linguistics research by Kostiantyn Tyshchenko, Teresa Elms clustered European languages in this network graph. If you look closely, you might wonder why English is considered a Germanic language. Elms explains:

    So why is English still considered a Germanic language? Two reasons. First, the most frequently used 80% of English words come from Germanic sources, not Latinate sources. Those famous Anglo-Saxon monosyllables live on! Second, the syntax of English, although much simplified from its Old English origins, remains recognizably Germanic. The Norman conquest added French vocabulary to the language, and through pidginization it arguably stripped out some Germanic grammar, but it did not ADD French grammar.

  • Timeline shows a century of rock history

    January 6, 2014  |  Network Visualization

    History of rock

    Jessica Edmondson visualized the history of rock music, from foundations in the pre-1900s to a boom in the 1960s and finally to what we have now. Nodes represent music styles, and edges represent musical connections. There are a lot of them and as a whole it's a screen of spaghetti, but it's animated, which is key. It starts at the beginning and develops over time, so you know where to go and what to look at. Music samples for each genre is also a nice touch. [Thanks, Jessica]

  • Network of subreddits

    December 17, 2013  |  Network Visualization

    Reddit viz

    There are over 5,000 subreddits with plenty of overlap and similarities. Randy Olson graphed them based on link activity and users and put them in an interactive. The overall view isn't that useful (other than easily spotting the My Little Pony-themed outlier cluster in the top right), but if you use reddit and are familiar with the territory, it can be fun to browse.

  • Growth in civic tech

    December 6, 2013  |  Network Visualization

    Trends in Civic Tech

    Fathom Information Design, in collaboration with the Knight Foundation and Quid, visualized the growth of civic tech based on an analysis of terms used to describe civic tech organizations and investments in them. The interactive accompanies a report, which describes the full findings.

    A new report released today by Knight titled "The Emergence of Civic Tech: Investments in a Growing Field" aims to advance the movement by providing a starting place for understanding activity and investment in the sector. The report identifies more than $430 million of private and philanthropic investment directed to 102 civic tech organizations from January 2011 to May 2013. In total, the analysis identifies 209 civic tech organizations that cluster around pockets of activity such as tools that improve government data utility, community organizing platforms and online neighborhood forums.

    Really like the transitions as you move through organizational breakdowns.

  • Online habitats

    December 5, 2013  |  Network Visualization

    Ekisto

    Ekisto, by visual artist Alex Dragulescu, is an experiment in visualizing online communities that provides an interesting city effect. So far there are views for StackOverflow, Github, and Friendfeed.

    A graph layout algorithm arranges users in 2D space based on their similarity. Cosine similarity is computed based on the users' network (Friendfeed), collaborate, watch, fork and follow relationships (Github), or based on the tags of posts contributed by users (StackOverflow). The height of each user represents the normalized value of the user's Pagerank (Github, Friendfeed) or their reputation points (StackOverflow).

    Also available in print.

  • Evolution of western dance music

    October 24, 2013  |  Network Visualization

    Dance music

    A quick animated look on the evolution of western dance music, a mixture and blend of various styles and cultures over time.

    To make it easier to trace the threads of music history, we’ve created an interactive map detailing the evolution of western dance music over the last 100 years. The map shows the time and place where each of the music styles were born and which blend of genres influenced the next.

    There's a cartogram in the background and lines connect countries and styles. It reminds me of those dance step charts with the feet on them.

  • 10 seconds of extreme trading

    October 4, 2013  |  Network Visualization

    The video below shows ten seconds of trading on Blackberry on October 2, when they reported a bigger loss than they thought. It might also be a super advanced level of Space Invaders.

  • British relationships throughout history

    August 26, 2013  |  Network Visualization

    Degrees of Britain

    In Kindred Britain, Nicholas Jenkins, Elijah Meeks and Scott Murray provide a visual exploration of how thousands of well-known British people are connected through blood and marriage.
    Continue Reading

  • Network of shared flavors

    August 23, 2013  |  Network Visualization

    Flavor network

    Jan Willem Tulp, for this month's Scientific American food issue, recreated the flavor network described by Yong-Yeol Ahn, et al.

    Julia Child famously said that fat carries flavor, but perhaps instead we should give thanks to 4-methylpentanoic acid. Unique combinations of such chemical compounds give foods their characteristic flavors. Science-minded chefs have gone so far as to suggest that seemingly incongruous ingredients—chocolate and blue cheese, for example—will taste great together as long as they have enough flavor compounds in common. Scientists recently put this hypothesis to the test by creating a flavor map, a variant of which we have reproduced here.

    The original by Yong-Yeol Ahn et al was a more traditional network graph. Foods with more similar flavor compounds were closer together. In contrast, Tulp categorizes points in vertical columns by their food group and are placed based on number of shared compounds with other foods.

    It's spaghetti at first, but give it some mental time and filter with the interaction. Start from the top at roasted beef and work your way down.

  • Global migration and debt

    July 9, 2013  |  Network Visualization

    GED Viz

    Global Economic Dynamics, by the Bertelsmann Foundation in collaboration with 9elements, Raureif, and Boris Müller, provides an explorer that shows country relationships through migration and debt. Inspired by a New York Times graphic from a few years ago, which was a static look at debt, the GED interactive allows you to select among 46 countries and browse data from 2000 through 2010.

    Each outer bar represents a country, and each connecting line either indicates migration between two countries or bank claims, depending on which you choose to look at. You can also select several country indicators, which are represented with bubbles. (The image above shows GDP.) Although, that part of the visualization is tough to read with multiple indicators and countries.

    The strength of the visualization is in the connections and the ability to browse the data by year. The transitions are smooth so that it's easy to follow along through time. The same goes for when you select and deselect countries.

  • A people-centric view of your Gmail inbox

    July 5, 2013  |  Network Visualization

    Immersion by the MIT Media Lab is a view into your inbox that shows who you interact with via email over the years.

    Immersion is an invitation to dive into the history of your email life in a platform that offers you the safety of knowing that you can always delete your data.

    Just like a cubist painting, Immersion presents users with a number of different perspectives of their email data. It provides a tool for self-reflection at a time where the zeitgeist is one of self-promotion. It provides an artistic representation that exists only in the presence of the visitor. It helps explore privacy by showing users data that they have already shared with others. Finally, it presents users wanting to be more strategic with their professional interactions, with a map to plan more effectively who they connect with.

    The base view is a network diagram where each node represents someone you've exchanged email with. The more emails between you and that person, the bigger the node, and people who tend to email each other (I'm guessing a count of CCs and group emails) are placed closer to each other. There's also some clustering going on, which does a nice job of putting people in groups, such as family and work, and a time slider lets you see these relationships over time.

    We've seen views of our inbox before and they usually just show simple time series charts and people who you email most. Immersion does a bit more and is a nice way to reflect. Even though I stopped using Gmail as my main address a couple of years ago, the college, pre-grad school, and early grad school years were obvious.

  • Sniffing out Paul Revere with basic social network analysis

    June 13, 2013  |  Network Visualization

    Paul Revere Network

    It's just metadata. What can you do with that? Kieran Healy, a sociology professor at Duke University, shows what you can do, with just some basic social network analysis. Using metadata from Paul Revere's Ride on the groups that people belonged to, Healy sniffs out Paul Revere as a main target. Bonus points for writing the summary from the point of a view of an 18th century analyst.

    What a nice picture! The analytical engine has arranged everyone neatly, picking out clusters of individuals and also showing both peripheral individuals and—more intriguingly—people who seem to bridge various groups in ways that might perhaps be relevant to national security. Look at that person right in the middle there. Zoom in if you wish. He seems to bridge several groups in an unusual (though perhaps not unique) way. His name is Paul Revere.

    You can grab the R code and dataset on github, too, if you want to follow along.

  • An exploration of recurring jokes on Arrested Development

    May 15, 2013  |  Network Visualization

    Arrested development jokes

    Watch Arrested Development enough and you start to realize there are a lot of recurring jokes in various episodes and seasons. In an interactive by Beutler Ink and Red Edge, Recurring Developments shows what episodes jokes, such as the awkwardness between George Michael and Maeby, happen. And like the visualization this is based on, you can also go the other way around and look at the recurring themes in each episode.

    The interaction is fairly straightforward. Jokes are on the left and a listing of episodes is on the right. Click a joke and orange lines extend to corresponding episodes. Click an episode and lines extend to corresponding jokes.

    Excuse me while I go on an Arrested Development binge on Netflix.

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