• # March Madness fan map

March 26, 2013 to Mapping by Nathan Yau

Along the same lines as their NFL fan maps, Facebook had a closer look at March Madness fandom, based on likes for team pages. In the map below, each county is colored by the conference liked the most.

• # Every known drone attack in Pakistan

March 25, 2013 to Visualization by Nathan Yau

It's hard to know the impact of drone attacks as outsiders looking in, because the United States government doesn't disclose the information. Using data maintained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which is estimates based on reports from the ground, Pitch Interactive sheds some light on every known drone attack in Pakistan.

Since 2004, the US has been practicing in a new kind of clandestine military operation. The justification for using drones to take out enemy targets is appealing because it removes the risk of losing American military, it's much cheaper than deploying soldiers, it's politically much easier to maneuver (i.e. flying a drone within Pakistan vs. sending troops) and it keeps the world in the dark about what is actually happening. It takes the conflict out of sight, out of mind. The success rate is extremely low and the cost on civilian lives and the general well-being of the population is very high. This project helps to bring light on the topic of drones. Not to speak for or against, but to inform and to allow you to see for yourself whether you can support drone usage or not.

Again, these are estimates, so the numbers might be higher or lower, but the point is that these attacks exist, and civilians and children are often involved.

• # A visualization of pi for high school math students

March 22, 2013 to Data Art by Nathan Yau

On Kickstarter: A project that uses a visualization of pi to connect Brooklyn high school students to their community.

They've already made a histogram of emotions in their school's hallway and a stacked area chart mural at a nearby senior center. Next up is a wall currently covered in graffiti.

In Math class, students will construct the golden spiral based on the Fibonacci Sequence and begin to explore the relationship between the golden ratio and Pi. The number Pi will be represented in a color-coded graph within the golden spiral. In this, the numbers will be seen as color blocks that vary in size proportionately within the shrinking space of the spiral, allowing us to visualize the shape of Pi and it's negative space.

Backed.

• # Internet Census

March 22, 2013 to Statistical Visualization by Nathan Yau

Upon discovering hundreds of thousands open embedded devices on the Internet, an anonymous researcher conducted a Census of the Internet, mapping 460 million IP addresses around the world.

While playing around with the Nmap Scripting Engine (NSE) we discovered an amazing number of open embedded devices on the Internet. Many of them are based on Linux and allow login to standard BusyBox with empty or default credentials. We used these devices to build a distributed port scanner to scan all IPv4 addresses. These scans include service probes for the most common ports, ICMP ping, reverse DNS and SYN scans. We analyzed some of the data to get an estimation of the IP address usage.

It's a pretty thorough analysis, but the conclusion interested me most:

The why is also simple: I did not want to ask myself for the rest of my life how much fun it could have been or if the infrastructure I imagined in my head would have worked as expected. I saw the chance to really work on an Internet scale, command hundred thousands of devices with a click of my mouse, portscan and map the whole Internet in a way nobody had done before, basically have fun with computers and the Internet in a way very few people ever will. I decided it would be worth my time.

It makes me feel...uneasy. [Thanks, Roger]

• # Interactive: Common chord progressions in 1,300 songs

March 21, 2013 to Network Visualization by Nathan Yau

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]

• # A new brand of cartographer

March 20, 2013 to Mapping by Nathan Yau

Emily Underwood on new cartographers and the growing field:

Geographers have traditionally studied how the natural environment contributes to human society and vice versa, whereas cartographers have focused more explicitly on the art and science of mapmaking. Over the past couple of decades, a new field has emerged: geographical information systems (GIS), blending the study and expression of geographic information. Cartography and geography have overlapped and spawned innumerable subspecialties and applications. Modern geographers and cartographers are involved in diverse projects: tracking fleets of vehicles or products, helping customers locate a Dunkin' Donuts, modeling environmental scenarios such as oil spills, and studying the spread of disease.

You could substitute visualization and statistics for cartography throughout, and it'd almost all still be valid. The reoccurring theme is that although academic programs can be fine resources, most of your success has to do with what you can learn on your own, as data-related fields are changing fast.

• # How to be Interesting by Jessica Hagy

March 19, 2013 to Infographics by Nathan Yau

Jessica Hagy, the one who made Venn diagrams on index cards popular, has a new book out today: How to be Interesting.

You want to leave a mark, not a blemish. Be a hero, not a spectator. You want to be interesting. (Who doesn’t?) But sometimes it takes a nudge, a wake-up call, an intervention!—and a little help. This is where Jessica Hagy comes in. A writer and illustrator of great economy, charm, and insight, she’s created How to Be Interesting, a uniquely inspirational how-to that combines fresh and pithy lessons with deceptively simple diagrams and charts.

The book started from this, which could probably also stand in as a guide on how to enjoy life.

• # An exploration of how Oscar winners express gratitude

March 18, 2013 to Visualization by Nathan Yau

Each year, Oscar speeches seem to follow a similar format, with familiar names and groups sputtered in 30 seconds. For her master's project, Thank the Academy, digital media student Rebecca Rolfe explored these patterns.

• # App shows what the Internet looks like

March 15, 2013 to Mapping by Nathan Yau

In a collaboration between PEER 1 Hosting, Steamclock Software, and Jeff Johnston, the Map of the Internet app provides a picture of what the physical Internet looks like.

• # Choosing the right seat

March 13, 2013 to Infographics by Nathan Yau

It can be tricky picking the right seat at a dinner party. So much depends on how many people there are and what shape the table is. Luckily, Alex Cornell provides a guide on where to sit and when to arrive to get the best seat of the night. The 4-person circle is your best bet.

This is the ideal setup. You are safe sitting in any seat. Regardless how interesting everyone is, you pretty much can’t go wrong. Note: as the diameter of the table increases, so too does the importance that you sit adjacent to someone you like.

Sorry for always sitting at the lonely end seat in the 7-person rectangle. [via kottke]

March 12, 2013 to Network Visualization by Nathan Yau

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.

• # The world as one city

March 8, 2013 to Data Art by Nathan Yau

When we build models of the world, we often think of it broken down into pieces, such as cities, counties, and countries. In their newly funded project The City of 7 Billion, architects Joyce Hsiang and Bimal Mendis aim to model the world as one city, to study the impact of population growth on the environment and natural resources on a larger scale.

Every corner of the planet, they argue, is "urban" in some sense, touched by farming that feeds cities, pollution that comes out of them, industrialization that has made urban centers what they are today. So why not think of the world as a single urban entity?

Hsiang and Mendis don't yet know exactly what this will look like (that is the question, Mendis says). But they are planning to seed their geo-spatial model with worldwide data on population growth, economic and social indicators, topography, ecology and more. Ultimately, they hope, other researchers will be able to use the open-source platform for research on development patterns or air quality; the public will be able to use it to grasp the implications of building in a flood plain or implementing an energy policy; and architects will be able to use it to view the world as if it were a single project site.

Along with a slew of other challenges I am sure, one of the big ones is finding comparable data at high granularity. Large cities tend to track (and hopefully release) data about what's going, but once you step out of the major areas, data grows scarce.

They started with population, which was transformed into the physical installation above.

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

March 7, 2013 to Network Visualization by Nathan Yau

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.

• # Average commute times mapped

March 6, 2013 to Mapping by Nathan Yau

The United States Census Bureau just released county-level commute estimates for 2011, based on the American Community Survey (that thing so many people seem to be against).

About 8.1 percent of U.S. workers have commutes of 60 minutes or longer, 4.3 percent work from home, and nearly 600,000 full-time workers had "megacommutes" of at least 90 minutes and 50 miles. The average one-way daily commute for workers across the country is 25.5 minutes, and one in four commuters leave their county to work.

The Bureau graphic isn't very good [PDF], but WNYC plugged the data into a map, which is a lot more informative.

There's also a link to download the data on the bottom left of the WNYC map in CSV format, in case you want to try your hand at making a choropleth map. Or you can grab some flow data from the Census Bureau.

• # Bettings lines for becoming the next pope

Who's going to be the next pope? I know all of you are sitting on the edge of your seats. Luckily, an analytical research manager who goes by the name AJ hacked together a pope tracker.

Despite not being Catholic, the papal election fascinates me. Not sure if it’s the old rituals, the world-wide interest, or simply the fact that the Catholic Church has left a huge mark on history.

There’s no way I know enough about the inner workings of the Catholic Church to have any idea on who the next Pope may be.

Since domain knowledge is out, the next best option?

He's scraping odds of possible candidates becoming pope from a betting site, and the above shows the numbers over time. The odds were bumpy at first, but there seems to be some convergence, and as of this writing, Cardinal Peter Turkson from Ghana is the heavy favorite. [via Revolutions]

• # SimCity 2013 is coming tomorrow

March 4, 2013 to Mapping by Nathan Yau

I'm not into video games, and my experience has been near zero since high school, but I'm excited about SimCity 2013 coming out tomorrow. I think my excitement comes from one part nostalgia and one part GlassBox — the game engine that drives the simulations of the city you build and its citizens:

All the glowing reviews probably have something to do with interest, too. But that memory of installing SimCity 2000 from two floppy disks in my 486 totally brings back happy thoughts.

Apparently, the game makers were inspired by Google Maps and information graphics to display the data generated during gameplay. I hope Maxis releases some of that data. It could be fun to compare SimCity demographics to the real world. Then again, who's going to have time to look at the data, when we'll be too busy building arcologies?

• # Stately: A simple map font

February 28, 2013 to Mapping by Nathan Yau

Add another way to make state-level choropleth maps. Stately, a project by Intridea, allows you to approach state mapping in the browser like you would a font.

Stately is a symbol font that makes it easy to create a map of the United States using only HTML and CSS. Each state can be styled independently with CSS for making simple visualizations. And since it's a font, it scales bigger and smaller while staying sharp as a tack.

The process is fairly straightforward: Link to the Stately stylesheet, add some HTML markup (an unordered list of states) to your page, and then use CSS to color each state. Boom, you've got yourself a map.

• # Languages of New York, via Twitter

February 27, 2013 to Mapping by Nathan Yau

In a follow-up to their map on most used languages in London, James Cheshire and Ed Manley, along with John Barratt, mapped the most commonly used languages in New York, based on the ones used on Twitter.

English (in grey above) is by far the most popular with Spanish (in blue above) taking the top spot amongst the other language groups. Portuguese and Japanese take third and fourth respectively. Midtown Manhattan and JFK International Airport have, perhaps unsurprisingly, the most linguistically diverse tweets whilst specific languages shine through in places such as Brighton Beach (Russian), the Bronx (Spanish) and towards Newark (Portuguese). You can also spot international clusters on Liberty Island and Ellis Island and if you look carefully the tracks of ferry boats between them.

• # Pope face composite

February 26, 2013 to Data Art by Nathan Yau

With Pope Benedict XVI's resignation, 116 cardinals from various regions have to come a consensus on who will be next. Amanda Cox and Graham Roberts for The New York Times wondered what a composite of all the cardinals might look like, which looks exactly how you might expect the average to look.

• # Map of Craigslist Missed Connections

February 22, 2013 to Mapping by Nathan Yau

On Craigslist there's a section in the personals for "missed connections" which lets people post missed chances at love with the (slim) hopes that the person he or she saw sees the random post on Craiglist. They usually start off like, "I saw you in that place, and you were..." Dorothy Gambrell mapped the most frequent location for each state.

In California, there's apparently a lot of eyeballing at 24 Hour Fitness, and in New York it's the subway, which shouldn't be surprising. I like how bars are most mentioned in North Dakota and Wisconsin, which matches up with the bars versus grocery stores map from a couple of years ago.

Unless otherwise noted, graphics and words by me are licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC. Contact original authors for everything else.