• Lego minifigure taxonomy

    May 2, 2013  |  Network Visualization

    Lego minifigure taxonomy

    There are over 4,000 Lego minifigure characters ranging from plumbers and judges to licensed ones such as Harry Potter and SpongeBob SquarePants. Christoph Bartneck from the University of Canterbury created a taxonomy to logically categorize all of the characters.

    If only the categories in the interactive expanded to show pictures or links to the actual minifigures. That would be killer. Hey, illustrators, looking for a side project? There you go.

  • Interactive: Common chord progressions in 1,300 songs

    March 21, 2013  |  Network Visualization

    Hooktheory

    If you listen to the radio long enough, you've probably noticed that many songs sound similar or remind of you of a song you've heard before. Hooktheory shows you just how similar some songs are via chord progressions in over 1,300 songs. The small group analyzed the data last year and presented some static charts, but this interactive version takes it a step further.

    Simply start by selecting a chord in the network diagram. Songs that use that chord appear on the right. Then select another chord in the network diagram to find songs that use the chord progression from the original to the new. Keep selecting chords to filter further.

    So in the end, there are two main things you can do: (1) Find songs that use the same chord progression and (2) see the most likely chord given the current selection.

    My musical knowledge from middle school jazz band is long gone, but it's fun to explore, and you'll likely find relationships to songs that you didn't expect. [Thanks, Dave]

  • Word tree for any URL or Twitter username

    March 12, 2013  |  Network Visualization

    Word tree

    In 2007, Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Viégas created the word tree, a search tool for unstructured text. You enter the text, pick a word or phrase, and you can see how other words and phrases branch from the root. Data visualization developer Jason Davies rephrased the visualization in JavaScript, and you can enter a URL or a Twitter username (or enter your own text like with the original). There's also a nice sidebar that makes it easier to browse through the text.

    So for example, the above is a word tree for The Cat in the Hat, and you can see what branches from Thing One and Thing Two. The phrase "and Thing Two" often follows "Thing One" as do exclamation points. The reverse feature comes in handy for text like Steve Jobs' commencement speech.

  • Six Degrees of Francis Bacon, a 17th century social network

    March 7, 2013  |  Network Visualization

    Degrees of Francis Bacon

    These days it's relatively easy to figure out connections between people via email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. However, it's harder to decipher relationships between people in the 17th century. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon and Georgetown University aim to figure that out in the Six Degrees of Francis Bacon.

    Historians and literary critics have long studied the way that early modern people associated with each other and participated in various kinds of formal and informal groups. Yet their scholarship, published in countless books and articles, is scattered and unsynthesized. By data-mining existing scholarship that describes relationships between early modern persons, documents, and institutions, we have created a unified, systematized representation of the way people in early modern England were connected.

  • The many relationships of Zeus

    February 12, 2013  |  Network Visualization

    Zues affairs

    Viviana Ferro, Ilaria Pagin, and Elisa Zamarian had a look at all of Zeus's relationships according to many authors over the years. Each person on the inside of a circle represents a lover, and the colored branches connect to children. Start with Zeus, the largest black dot near the middle, and then work your way out.

  • Wine industry network in the US

    January 2, 2013  |  Network Visualization

    Wine network

    A group of researchers at Michigan State University, led by Phil Howard, explored the network of wine in the United States.

    No other section of the supermarket offers as many choices as the wine aisle. A typical retailer is likely to have hundreds of unique wines on its shelves. Just three firms, however, account for more than half of the wine sales in the United States. What impact does this industry concentration have on consumer choices? To answer this question we conducted an inventory of wine offerings at 20 retailers in Michigan. We recorded more than 3,600 unique varieties of wine, and traced their relationships with more than 1,000 different firms.

    So there's a ton of variety, but like the beer and soda industry, sales are dominated by a handful of firms. Want to play with the data yourself? That's available here.

  • Animated growth of an organization

    December 18, 2012  |  Network Visualization

    A company grows, it shrinks, people come and go. Justin Matejka, a research scientist at Autodesk, visualized the changes for where he works.

    The OrgOrgChart (Organic Organization Chart) project looks at the evolution of a company's structure over time. A snapshot of the Autodesk organizational hierarchy was taken each day between May 2007 and June 2011, a span of 1498 days.

    Each day the entire hierarchy of the company is constructed as a tree with each employee represented by a circle, and a line connecting each employee with his or her manager. Larger circles represent managers with more employees working under them. The tree is then laid out using a force-directed layout algorithm.

    Each second in the animation is about one week of activity, and acquisitions are most obvious when big clumps of people join the company. The long-term changes are a little harder to see, because the branches in the network fade into the background. Recomputing the layout each week might be good for the next round.

    [Thanks, Justin]

  • An introduction to diagrams

    December 14, 2012  |  Network Visualization

    As a teaser for a larger project on diagrams, Jane Nisselson describes how they exist in the real world.

    Diagrams are everywhere — from the established conventions of highway signs to the newly emerging visualizations appearing on social networking websites. Most people have a personal experience of diagrams whether drawing directions or figuring out how to operate a new computer. Yet very few people are familiar with how we read or construct diagrams.

    This short film introduces the language of diagrams and their role in visual thinking and communication. As only a film can do, it reveals the vocabulary "in the wild" and in the context of making and using diagrams.

    I'm looking forward to the rest if this is any indication of what's to come.

  • An ideal bookshelf

    December 13, 2012  |  Network Visualization

    The Ideal Bookshelf

    Thessaly La Force, with illustrator Jane Mount, recently published My Ideal Bookshelf, which is a look into the books that some people of interest, including Judd Apatow, Chuck Klosterman, and Tony Hawk, would like to have on their ideal bookshelf. La Force's boyfriend took a more data-centric look at the collections.

    In the network above, each node is a person who listed their ideal books, and connections represent people who named the same books. Those in the center of the network had more book similarities than those on the edges. For example, James Franco named a ton of books and as you might expect has a bunch of connections. [via @shiffman]

  • Relationships and kills in Game of Thrones replayed

    December 10, 2012  |  Network Visualization

    Game of Thrones

    This one's for you Game of Thrones fans and aficionados. Jerome Cukier visualized groups of people, from Lannisters to Starks, and kills throughout the books. Each circle represents a character and is sized by number of appearances. Color represents status, and connecting lines are killer-killee relationships (aw, so sweet). The best part is that this all plays out over time.

  • Infinite Jukebox plays your favorite songs forever

    November 19, 2012  |  Network Visualization

    Infinite jukebox

    You know those songs that you love so much that you cry because they're over? Well, cry no more with the Inifinite Jukebox by Paul Lamere. Inspired by Infinite Gangnam Style, the Infinite Jukebox lets you upload a song, and it'll figure out how to cut the beats and piece them back together for a version of that song that goes forever.

    With The Infinite Jukebox, you can create a never-ending and ever changing version of any song. The app works by sending your uploaded track over to The Echo Nest, where it is decomposed into individual beats. Each beat is then analyzed and matched to other similar sounding beats in the song. This information is used to create a detailed song graph of paths though similar sounding beats. As the song is played, when the next beat has similar sounding beats there’s a chance that we will branch to a completely different part of the song. Since the branching is to a very similar sounding beat in the song, you (in theory) won’t notice the jump. This process of branching to similar sounding beats can continue forever, giving you an infinitely long version of the song.

  • Shifting states over the decades, between Democrat and Republican

    October 16, 2012  |  Network Visualization

    How states have shifted

    Mike Bostock and Shan Carter visualized how states have shifted parties over the years, going back to 1952.

    Recent elections have placed a heavy emphasis on "swing states" — Ohio, Florida, and a handful of other states most-easily swayed from one party to the other. Yet in the past, many more states shifted between the Democratic and Republican parties. A look at how the states stack up in the current FiveThirtyEight forecast and how they have shifted over past elections.

    Each row represents an election, and the horizontal axis reflects the size of a lead for a party. So as you scroll down, you can see how much (or little) a state has changed across elections.

    Instead of taking the obvious exploratory route, where you select your state and scroll to the bottom, Bostock and Carter took a story-driven approach. Points of interest are on the left. Click on a button and the relevant states for that insight are highlighted. (Although you can still mouse over states to see their paths and keep states highlighted by with a continuous scroll.) This is a good one worth exploring for a while.

    See also Adrien Friggeri's interactive from earlier this year that shows Senate agreement.

  • How viral photos spread on Facebook

    October 12, 2012  |  Network Visualization

    Spreading on Facebook

    Number of likes and shares for a Facebook post are just simple aggregates that give you an idea of how popular that post was, but they don't tell you anything about how that post got so popular. For Facebook Stories, Stamen Design explored how a single post can spread through the network, via three viral photos shared by George Takei.

    Each visualization is made up of a series of branches, starting from George. As each branch grows, re-shares split off onto their own arcs. Sometimes, these re-shares spawn a new generation of re-shares, and sometimes they explode in short-lived bursts of activity. The two different colors show gender, and each successive generation becomes lighter as time goes by. And the curves are just for snazz.

    So you see a beautiful burst in the beginning, as the photo is shared by people who follow Takei, and then the photo spreads within smaller groups of friends. The above is from the animation that shows how a graphic for famous failures spread.

  • Patent war

    October 8, 2012  |  Network Visualization

    Patent war

    As you've probably heard, Apple and Samsung have been in a bit of a kerfuffle over the past few months. We own that patent for that thing. No, we have this patent for that. The state of technology patents is all over the place. The New York Times takes a closer look. Also, don't miss the video and side-by-side comparisons.

  • Every Lost episode visualized and recreated

    October 3, 2012  |  Network Visualization

    Lostalgic

    Santiago Ortiz visualized every episode of the show in the interactive Lostalgic. It's a set a four views that shows character occurrences and relationships and the lines they said during various parts of each episode.

    The first view, shown above, is a bar chart vertically arranged by time, where each row represents an act. A profile picture is shown whenever the corresponding character says something. The next two views, the network graph and co-occurrence matrix show interactions between characters, and finally, if you want to relive it all over again, you can choose the reenactment, and the animation will cycle through the characters and scripts.

    I only watched a handful of episodes right before the last one, but realized my efforts to watch all six seasons would be useless, even if I watched 24/7 before the finale. I got to the part where they found a dead person in a tree. So I'm only appreciating this from the technical side. I suspect fans of the show will love it. [Thanks, Santiago]

  • Character social networks in movies

    August 17, 2012  |  Network Visualization

    Movie Galaxies

    We've seen a lot of network charts for Twitter, Facebook, and real people. Screw that. I want to see social networks for movie characters. That's where Movie Galaxies comes in.

    Movies are important artefacts, bringing together vision and zeitgeist of our society. Embodying dreams, trends and other perspectives, they are a cultural vanishing point for millions of people in the world, that is worth to be explored. Just think about how your personal life and worldwide network with their single sub-clusters and side-stories are structurally represented in motion pictures. You might be surprised. We have a hunch that the "holy grail" of good movies is far more about social network structures than budget, cast and theme.

    With movie scripts as the data source, Movie Galaxies quickly shows main characters, the extent to which they interact, and hints at a movie's timeline. For example, in the first Lord of the Rings movie, the central plot was tied to a lot of characters, whereas in Forrest Gump, everything was tied to one character.

    There are metrics, such as density and clustering, associated with each network, which could be made less technical sounding, but it's fun to browse and search your favorite movies. I clicked around for a good half hour.

  • Network of political contributions

    July 31, 2012  |  Network Visualization

    Political Moneyball

    The Wall Street Journal visualized major political contributions, according to the Federal Election Commission, in a piece they call Political Moneyball.

    Based on the money sent between the players (and other characteristics like party and home state), our presentation pulls players toward similar players and pushes apart those that have nothing in common. The players who are most interconnected (like industry PACs who try to make alliances with everyone) end up close to the center. Those who are less connected (like a donor who only gives money to Ron Paul) are pushed away from the center.

    Analysis was powered by CartoDB, and the network by Tulip.

    The challenge with these network graphs that have lots of nodes and edges is narrowing down what's useful. With yesterday's Internet map it's easy to relate, because you just search for the sites of interest, and the large ones such as Facebook and Twitter provide context.

    However, with Political Moneyball it's tougher, because there are so many entities you've never heard of. My suggestion: Start with the examples section (such as who the National Rifle Association supports) in the sidebar, and go from there. It'll be much easier to get into it.

  • Map of the Internet

    July 30, 2012  |  Network Visualization

    The Internet Map

    Ruslan Enikeev created a searchable Internet map of links and bubbles, showing over 350,000 sites and two million links from 196 countries. Similar sites are closer together.
    Continue Reading

  • Browse the web of Wikipedia with Wikiweb iPad app

    July 16, 2012  |  Network Visualization

    While we're on the subject of the web that is Wikipedia, four-man, Baltimore-based development shop Friends of the Web made Wikiweb, an iPad app to research and casually browse Wikipedia. As you search for a topic, an interactive network that shows connected articles appears on the left alongside the current article on the right.

    Wikweb: Now even easier to find yourself lost in Joe Pesci trivia.

  • Graphing every idea in history

    July 16, 2012  |  Network Visualization

    Graphing every idea in history

    Brendan Griffen created a giant network of people, using every profile on Wikipedia that had an "influenced by" or "influences" field. Each node represents a person and is sized by the number of links going in and is colored by genre.

    It really is fascinating (to me at least) to start at one node and bounce along the connections to a distantly related someone else. People in philosophy influencing fantasy writers who influence comedians. It shows one thing above all: the evolution of ideas is a non-linear process. We too, are somewhere in this web, albeit at a smaller scale. We too, are the sum of many.

    Be sure to check out the easier to read and browse zoomable version. Also available in print.

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