• Airport billboard encourages wonderment

    December 13, 2013  |  Visualization

    Airports conjure thoughts of security, bag checks, and cramped spaces, and flights are hardly something to look forward to. British Airways wants to bring the magic back with these real-time billboards. As a British Airway flight passes overhead, a child appears and points up to the plane in awe, along with text that says where the plane is from. [Thanks, Jonathan]

  • State gun laws since Newtown

    December 12, 2013  |  Infographics

    Gun laws by NYT

    The New York Times explored state gun bills since Newtown.

    In the 12 months since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., almost every state has enacted at least one new gun law. Nearly two-thirds of the new laws ease restrictions and expand the rights of gun owners. Most of those bills were approved in states controlled by Republicans. Those who support stricter regulations won some victories — mostly in states where the legislature and governorship are controlled by Democrats — to increase restrictions on gun use and ownership.

    Each chart shows the timeline of a bill and rounds of legislation. A law is signed when the line reaches the top, where green represents looser gun restrictions and orange represents tighter.

  • Uncertain cartographies

    December 11, 2013  |  Mapping

    Uncertain cartography

    Most people know the layout of their neighborhoods and some are good with the roads in their town. Zoom out farther though — to your city, state, and country — and the landscape grows fuzzy in your imagination. Cartographer Chris McDowall redrew his uncertainty of his native New Zealand with interesting, fuzzy results.

    The maps on this page are an attempt to translate my head landscapes into cartographic artefacts. I am trying to recreate of what I see when I close my eyes. They are rough approximations—the stuff in my head is far stranger and more difficult to pin down—but they feel honest. I share them because I find them beautiful and evocative.

  • Rocky movie breakdown

    December 9, 2013  |  Infographics

    Rocky morphology

    Fathom Information Design watched all six Rocky movies, classified segments into dialogue, training, montages, pre-fight, fight, and credits, and then visualized it. Rocky Morphology is the result.

    It's interesting to see the battle between dialogue, montage and fighting throughout each film. Dialogue beats out training and fighting in the first two Rocky films, but fighting and montage occupy the most time in Rocky III and Rocky IV. Rocky V favors dialogue over fighting — undisputedly slowing its pace next to the previous films. In the final round, Rocky sticks with dialogue over fighting but — "it ain't over 'till it's over" — Rocky delivers one last montage and fight scene to close out the series and complete the Rocky Morphology.

    Needs more montage. Maybe we'll get it in Grudge Match, because as we all know, that has instant classic written all over it.

  • 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.

  • Artist temperaments

    December 6, 2013  |  Infographics

    Artist temperaments

    Just for kicks, Jimmy Chen plotted artists on a subjective arrogance-vs-genius scale. Above is the one for singers.

  • 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.

  • What Antarctica looks like underneath the ice

    December 4, 2013  |  Mapping

    Based largely on satellite data and the results of an airborne data collection mission compiled by the British Antarctic Survey, Bedmap2 by NASA Goddard is a construction of what Antarctica looks like underneath the giant sheet of ice. This iteration of the map used 25 million more observations than the original Bedmap1, which was released in 2001, and provides a more granular view.

    [via Wired]

  • Climate change described visually

    December 4, 2013  |  Mapping

    A video from the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme explains global warming and projected changes in the near future. I wanted them to provide more contrast to the data they showed over the globe, but the story itself is an interesting one.

  • MiseryMap of current flight delays and cancelations

    December 3, 2013  |  Mapping

    FlightAware MiseryMap

    FlightAware is a live flight tracker that lets you look up a flight to see where a plane is (and also provides a for-fee API). Their new MiseryMap focuses on delays and cancellations, a sore spot for all fliers and especially relevant given the holiday season and wintery weather. Donuts on the map represent on-time flights in green and delayed and canceled ones in red.

    They also show weather underneath, which is important context and a leading cause of misery. However, I wish there was a legend to tell me what those rainbow spectrum clouds mean.

  • Top reddits of all time

    November 28, 2013  |  Statistical Visualization

    Reddits

    For the downtime post-turkey. James Trimble stuck the top 200 reddits of all time into a treemap. Let the time suck begin.

  • Your life in jellybeans

    November 27, 2013  |  Data Art

    Using the effective jellybean method, Ze Frank describes the finite time we have. Each bean represents a day in the life of an average person.

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

  • Where the public radio is

    November 26, 2013  |  Mapping

    Public radio map

    Andrew Filer mapped the reach of public radio stations in the United Stations, based on data from Wikipedia and the station search from the Federal Communications Commission. Each circle represents a station and its coverage, and colors represent media outlets. For example, Capital Public Radio in Northern California is available across several stations in Sacramento, Modesto, Tahoe City, and others.

    So now you know where to go the next time you grow tired of the usual Billboard top 20.

  • Super ZIP codes

    November 25, 2013  |  Mapping

    Super ZIP codes

    The Washington Post looked at Super ZIP codes, a classification based on household income and education levels. It's a featured story, but it leads off with an interactive map so that you can see the ZIPs you're interested in.

    The ranks, ranging from 0 to 99, represent the average of each Zip's percentile rankings for median household income and for the share of adults with college degrees. Super Zips rank 95 or higher. This approach is adapted from one used by author Charles Murray.

    The map at top shows the nation's 650 Super Zips. Among them, the typical household income is $120,272, and 68 percent of adults hold college degrees. That compares with $53,962 and 27 percent for the remaining 23,925 Zips shown. Only Zips with at least 500 adults are displayed.

    I wonder what you get when you look at just education alone. Does it look the same? And, as usually is the case with these sorts of studies, how does cost of living play a role?

  • Spectrogram shows dialup modem handshake sounds

    November 21, 2013  |  Statistical Visualization

    Presented mostly for my fond memories as a grade schooler, with a fresh 2400 bps modem in the 486, who recently discovered something called a BBS. Those were the good old days. My dad got me a 50-foot phone line to run from the computer to the phone jack in the back corner of another room.

  • Global forest change

    November 20, 2013  |  Mapping

    Global forest change

    Hansen, Potapov, Moore, Hancher et al. produced high-resolution maps of global forestry to estimate change between 2000 and 2012.

    Quantification of global forest change has been lacking despite the recognized importance of forest ecosystem services. In this study, Earth observation satellite data were used to map global forest loss (2.3 million square kilometers) and gain (0.8 million square kilometers) from 2000 to 2012 at a spatial resolution of 30 meters. The tropics were the only climate domain to exhibit a trend, with forest loss increasing by 2101 square kilometers per year. Brazil’s well-documented reduction in deforestation was offset by increasing forest loss in Indonesia, Malaysia, Paraguay, Bolivia, Zambia, Angola, and elsewhere. Intensive forestry practiced within subtropical forests resulted in the highest rates of forest change globally. Boreal forest loss due largely to fire and forestry was second to that in the tropics in absolute and proportional terms. These results depict a globally consistent and locally relevant record of forest change.

    Be sure to select the various data products and zoom in on example locations via the dropdown menus on the right of the map.

  • Bourbon family tree

    November 15, 2013  |  Infographics

    Bourbon family tree

    Colin Spoelman for GQ illustrated an educated guess of the bourbon family tree.

    This chart shows the major distilleries operating in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana, grouped horizontally by corporate owner, then subdivided by distillery. Each tree shows the type of whiskey made, and the various expressions of each style of whiskey or mash bill, in the case of bourbons. For instance, Basil Hayden's is a longer-aged version of Old Grand-Dad, and both are made at the Jim Beam Distillery.

    This is important.

  • Why traffic waves and congestion happen

    November 14, 2013  |  Infographics

    Why-traffic-waves-happen

    You're on the freeway, traffic is moving along, and for no apparent reason everyone slows down. And eventually, for no apparent reason, traffic starts back up again. What the what? Lewis Lehe and Matthew Green explain why these waves occur with a couple of interactives.

    The simplest explanation for why traffic waves happen is that drivers have relatively slow reaction times: if the car in front of you suddenly slows down, it’ll likely take you a second or so to hit the brakes. The slower your reaction time, the harder you have to brake to compensate and keep a safe distance. The same goes for the car behind you, which has to brake even harder than you did in order to slow down faster. And so on down the road, in a domino-like effect.

    Hit the brakes in the simulation, and you'll see what happens. Naturally this is a simplified version of traffic conditions and assumes some things about how people drive and react, but you'll get the idea.

    It might remind you of this real world experiment a few years ago.

  • Running traces

    November 11, 2013  |  Mapping

    Copenhagen

    The Endomondo app lets you keep track of your workouts, namely running and cycling, so it records your location, and then estimates your speed, calories burned, and elevation changes. And workouts are set to public by default. Nikita Barsukov used the public traces to make some quick and dirty maps of workouts in major European cities. Above is Copenhagen.

    I'm curious about how these compare to car traffic or social media usage. Are they opposites or are they roughly the same, corresponding to number of people who live in an area? And, of course, I want to know what this looks like for American cities.

  • The safest time to drive

    November 8, 2013  |  Infographics

    Safest day to drive

    As we've seen, there are more fatal car crashes during the weekend and summer months, which is some time between May and September in the United States. The Guardian took a different approach to look at road fatalities in Australia.

    The bottom section is your standard bar charts that show an average, but on top are mini-simulations that represent the averages. Small cars move in the background and squares appear on top to at different volumes. I originally thought the cars actually collided with each square, but it looks like they're independent of each other. Nevertheless, an interesting approach.

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