• X-Men Universe Relationship Map

    July 1, 2009  |  Network Visualization

    xmen universe

    Contrary to what a lot people might think they know from the movies, the X-Men universe stretches out quite a ways with lots of characters and lots of relationships. This super detailed relationship map for all X-Men characters from UncannyXmen shows just that.

    Connections are color-coded to show the type of relationship between a pair of characters. For example, green is a one-sided infatuation, pink is a flirtation by both parties, and a dashed line signifies one of the characters is from an alternative reality. Wolverine sure gets around.

    [via VizWorld]

  • Visual Representation of Tabular Information – How to Fix the Uncommunicative Table

    April 21, 2009  |  Network Visualization

    This is a guest post by Martin Krzywinski who develops Circos, a GPL-licensed (free) visualization tool that can help you show relationships in data. This article is based on a longer writeup which you can find here.

    Suppose that you are reading an article and the text refers you to a table on the next page. Before you turn the page, what are your expectations of the table? Chances are, you would like it to communicate trends and patterns. Chances are, too, that it will fail and simply deliver numerical minutiae. You are left hunting around the numbers for a while, only to return to the text in hopes that the table's data trends will be communicated elsewhere.
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  • Campaign Contributions to the 110th Congress

    April 10, 2009  |  Network Visualization

    This network graph shows common contributions between representatives in Congress:

    A relationship exists between two elements in the visual if they share a relationship with at least one member of the other group. For instance, both Bernie Sanders and Sam Brownback received campaign contributions from the the National Association of Realtors.

    Line thickness represents number of shared relationships; and color represents Democrat to Democrat, Republican to Republican, and cross-party connections. There's a zoomable version, but like a lot of network stuff it still feels cluttered. I'm sure some node interaction goodness would do this some good.

    [Thanks, @mrflip]

  • Phrase Net Shows the Secret Life of Words

    April 1, 2009  |  Network Visualization

    Many Eyes, the social data analysis site, released another visualization tool - Phrase Nets:

    When you read a book it can feel as if you’re encountering a series of hidden networks–characters who talk to each other, ideas that relate to each other. Our new visualization, the Phrase Net, is designed to bring some of these networks to light.

    Upload a body of text and choose connecting words like and or the and the Phrase Net provides a network of words that shows these connections.
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  • Ranking and Mapping Scientific Knowledge – eigenfactor

    February 6, 2009  |  Network Visualization

    The Eigenfactor Project and Moritz Stefaner collaborate in these interactive visualizations "based on Eigenfactor Metrics and hierarchical clustering to explore emerging patterns in citation networks." Yeah... or in other words, this series of four visualizations - radial diagram, stacked, clustering, and network map - explore journal article citations.
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  • Data Visualization Sketches for Google Search Results

    January 27, 2009  |  Network Visualization

    chrome_1

    Grid/plane, a studio centered in Portland Orgeon, collaborated with Instrument, to visualize media buzz across various social media outlets. The client? Google.

    Working in tandem with Google Analytics, the Flash-based, interactive tools allow users to explore relationships and see the effects of blogs, as well as mainstream and social media over time.

    While this particular project wasn't really focused on Google search results, can you imagine how cool it would be if it were? One day we will get visualization in lieu of listed results. Trust me. We will also have power laces, self-drying jackets, and flying Deloreans. I've seen it with my own eyes.
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  • Researchers Map Chaos Inside Cancer Cell

    December 29, 2008  |  Network Visualization

    cancer-cell

    The thing about cancer cells is that they suck. Their DNA is all screwy. They've got chunks of DNA ripped out and reinserted into different places, which is just plain bad news for the cells in our body that play nice. You know, kind of like life. Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston have compared the DNA of a certain type of breast cancer cell to a normal cell and mapped the differences (and similarities) with the above visualization.

    The graphic summarizes their results. Round the outer ring are shown the 23 chromosomes of the human genome. The lines in blue, in the third ring, show internal rearrangements, in which a stretch of DNA has been moved from one site to another within the same chromosome. The red lines, in the bull's eye, designate switches of DNA from one chromosome to another.

    Some design would benefit the graphic so that your eyes don't bounce around when you look at the technicolor genome but it's interesting nevertheless.

    Check out the Flare Visualization Toolkit or Circos if you're interested in implementing a similar visualization with the above network technique.

    [Thanks, Robert]

  • Visualizing YouTube, Blogs, Twitter, Flickr, People…

    October 14, 2008  |  Network Visualization

    From the guys who brought you 6pli and other like-minded network visualization tools, Bestiario takes 6pli to the next level. 6pli lets users explore their del.icio.us bookmarks. This work, in collaboration with Harvard Berkaman, also lets users explore their del.icio.us bookmarks - as well as YouTube videos, Flickr photos, Twitter tweets, and content from Wikipedia, blogs, and other places. Items are clustered by content type and meta information. Yes, it's a whole lot of stuff in one place.

    The main idea is to take a few steps away from the list and scroll paradigm - sort of like DoodleBuzz, but from a more analytical standpoint. Does it make all those personal streams easier to browse and explore than something like FriendFeed? You be the judge.

    [Thanks, Jose]

  • maeve Installation Shows Relationships Between Projects

    September 22, 2008  |  Network Visualization

    The Interface Design Team at the University of Potsdam revealed maeve last week. It's an installation that lets users place physical project cards on an interactive surface and see the relationships between those projects. Move cards over the surface and the network relationships (e.g. inspired by, social relation) follow. The more cards that you throw on, the more relationships that form.

    Here's the demo video:

    Pretty. I would love to have one of these as my coffee table (sort of like the Microsoft one).

    [Thanks, Moritz]

  • Interactive Graph Visualization System – Skyrails

    September 8, 2008  |  Network Visualization

    Skyrails is an interactive graph visualization system that looks a lot like a video game. Explore relationships, visit nodes, and immerse yourself in the data. As I watch the demo video on YouTube, I feel like I'm seeing another world.

    You've got the standard ball and stick view. Whether it's useful for analysis or deeper understanding of relationships between whatever is up for debate, but one thing's for sure – it looks cool. Plus the code is open source.

    [Thanks, Atilla]

  • Visualize Genomes and Genomic Data – Circos

    August 5, 2008  |  Network Visualization

    Circos is a project by Martin Krzywinski that lets you upload genomic data and visualize it as a network like the one above.

    It is easy to plot, format and layer your data with Circos. A large variety of plot and feature parameters are customizable, helping you make the image that best communicates your data. You supply your data to Circos as flat files (e.g. GFF format), tell Circos what you want plotted using the configuration file, and then create the image.

    While Circos is developed in the interest of visualizing genomic data, it is general enough that you can use it with other types of data that show relationships. The New York Times debate graphic is the first thing that comes to mind. Anyone want to give Circos a spin? Post a link to your image in the comments.

    [Thanks, Max]

  • Facebook Lexicon – Trends for Writings on the Wall

    April 17, 2008  |  Network Visualization

    Facebook recently released Lexicon which is like a Google Trends or Technorati for wall posts. Type in a word or a group of words, and you can see the buzz for those terms in a time series plot. Daniel sent me this excellent example. Type in party tonight, hangover and you'll get the above graph. Notice the Saturday spikes for party tonight and the Sunday spikes for hangover? Here's another one for finals:

    Facebook Lexicon

    It's interesting to see what people are talking about, and being Facebook walls, there's this realness to the charts (or maybe that's just me).

    Go ahead. Give Lexicon a try. What interesting queries can you find?

    P.S. You have to be logged in to use it.

    [Thanks, Daniel]

  • What Interests Do Your Facebook Friends Have in Common?

    March 31, 2008  |  Network Visualization

    Nexus, by Ivan Kozik, lets you explore your Facebook social network and find out what your friends have in common. Nexus kind of caught me off guard, because it actually does a decent job of showing you commonalities. I was expecting something like Friend Wheel or Friends Density, which are Facebook bling more than anything else.
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  • 17 Ways to Visualize the Twitter Universe

    I just created a new Twitter account, and it got me to thinking about all the data visualization I've seen for Twitter tweets. I felt like I'd seen a lot, and it turns out there are quite a few. Here they are grouped into four categories - network diagrams, maps, analytics, and abstract.

    Network Diagrams

    Twitter is a social network with friends (and strangers) linking up with each other and sharing tweets aplenty. These network diagrams attempt to show the relationships that exist among users.

    Twitter Browser

    Twitter Browser

    Twitter Social Network Analysis

    The ebiquity group did some cluster analysis and managed to group tweets by topic.

    Twitter Social Network Analysis

    Twitter Vrienden

    Twitter Vrienden

    Twitter in Red

    I'm not completely sure how to read this one. I looks like it starts from a single user and then shoots out into the network.

    Twitter in Red

    Twitter Network

    Twitter Network

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  • Names Mentioned in Debates by Major Presidential Candidates

    December 20, 2007  |  Network Visualization

    naming-names

    Jonathan Corum and Farhana Hossain created a network visualization that shows readers who has spoken about who in presidential debates. Scroll over each candidate name to isolate the connections; important/interesting points are highlighted. Candidates are colored blue and red for their respective political parties.

    There are three main things that this thing shows -- who has spoken about who (lines), who has been talking the most (circle segments), and finally, attention by party (red and blue). In usual fashion, The New York Times churns out another beautiful graphic. Not only is the visualization attractive, but unlike so many network diagrams before it, this graphic is also useful and informative.

  • Difficulty Visualizing Social Networks

    July 3, 2007  |  Network Visualization

    high-school-friendship

    We need to interact with others. We crave connections with friends and strangers. Something inside makes us need to converse with others so that we don't go crazy. As I work from home, I've begun to understand this a bit more, and I've found myself checking Facebook and Twittering perhaps just a little too much. I think that it's these connections is what has made social networks so popular.

    How can we visualize these ever so important connections. An obvious option is with, well, lines.

    Pretty, yes. Useful? Umm, hmm, not really. The number nodes grows to greater than 20, and it becomes this cloud/blob-type thing. What meaning can we take away from visualization like this other than, there's a lot of nodes and links, and they're all interconnected (other than a few outsiders)?

    Okay, so here's another option -- instead of using lines to show connections between nodes, we can use clustering. Nodes that are similar, appear closer together.

    Clustering Social Networks

    We can see some patterns now with the clustering and coloring, but when the network groes to thousands, it's easy to see how things can get kinda gross. I think the natural next step here is to sample, provide an overview, and if the user wants to go deeper, sample some more.

    The big question: how do we know what to sample? What weight can we give each sample? How can we get a sample that properly represents the entire network (or a small, specific part of it)?

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