• Another view of Inception, with the kicks this time

    August 7, 2010  |  Infographics

    Inception Infographic

    Here's another timeline of Inception from deviantArt user, dehas. This one has the kicks in it. Start on the bottom left, and follow the character lines counter-clockwise. Lines end as characters die off in each level.
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  • Back to the Future trilogy timelines

    August 6, 2010  |  Infographics

    Back to the Future timeline

    You know I can never resist a good Back to the Future reference. Also from graphic designer Sean Mort, the trilogy timelines are displayed in parallel. Important events from each year are marked, starting at the original flick up top and moving down to the lesser, but still great, Western finale.

  • Need a new logo? Use this flowchart to decide

    August 6, 2010  |  Misc. Visualization

    Flowchart on if you need a new logo

    This flowchart from Watermark Design helps you decide if you need a new logo. Oddly enough all paths lead to Watermark's logo design services. That is unless you think designers have no concept of reality and scream when someone tells you art is important to business, and you happen to be an international spy. Hm, interesting. [via]

  • New York Times on how they design their graphics

    August 5, 2010  |  Visualization

    New York Times graphics team

    Leading up to their book, Turning Pages: Editorial Design for Print Media, publisher Gestalten has a chat with Steve Duenes and Archie Tse — of famed New York Times graphics department — about what goes on behind the scenes.
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  • Browse street-side with Microsoft Street Slide

    August 4, 2010  |  Mapping

    streetslide by microsoft research

    When street view came out on all the the popular online map applications, we thought it was awesome. We were able to see photos of the actual buildings and people walking on the street. It's especially handy when you're looking for something in a brand new area. Street Slide from Microsoft Research is the next iteration of that.
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  • Inception dream levels explained in flowchart

    August 4, 2010  |  Infographics

    Inception flowchart infographic movie poster

    You knew this was coming. I'd call spoiler alert for those who haven't seen Inception yet, but honestly, this flowchart from graphic designer Sean Mort will just confuse you anyways. If, however, you've been fortunate enough to see the mind roller coaster of a film already, Mort's chart makes perfect sense and might clarify any confusion. Levels and dreamers are labeled accordingly. I think the line for Cobb to Limbo should start at Level 4 though.

    [via datavis]

    Update: Sean provides a revised version after seeing the movie for the third time.

  • What online marketers know about you

    August 3, 2010  |  Network Visualization

    What marketers known - network visualization

    Andrew Garcia Philips and Sarah Slobin (plus five data gatherers) of The Wall Street Journal report on the prevalence of trackers and cookies on the fifty most popular U.S. websites:

    Marketers are spying on Internet users — observing and remembering people's clicks, and building and selling detailed dossiers of their activities and interests. The Wall Street Journal's What They Know series documents the new, cutting-edge uses of this Internet-tracking technology. The Journal analyzed the tracking files installed on people's computers by the 50 most popular U.S. websites, plus WSJ.com.

    Websites (top half) and tracking companies (bottom half) are placed in the circular network diagram. Roll over a website, and lines flare out to the tracking companies that collect data about you on that site. Similarly, roll over a tracking company to see what sites they sit on. Lines are color-coded to indicate first-party tracker files and third-party ones.
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  • The Reach of Firefox data poster

    Exploring the Reach of Firefox

    Once every blue moon I like to freelance as a short break from school work, and a few months back I got an email from…
  • Inside the Glenn Beck/Goldline scheme

    August 2, 2010  |  Infographics

    Infographic on Glenn Beck and Goldline

    Jess Bachman and Barry Ritholtz take a look at the Glenn Beck/Goldline scheme in standard flowchart fashion. In a nutshell: Goldline sponsors the Glenn Beck radio show; Glenn Beck supports them and tells listeners and viewers to buy from them; and now Congress recently opened an investigation on Goldline (and other shady gold dealers). Something is amiss.

  • Redesign of the Federal IT Dashboard

    August 2, 2010  |  Design, Statistical Visualization

    About a year after the launch of the Federal IT Dashboard, business intelligence consultancy Juice Analytics focuses on five areas — message, flow, charts, context, and design fundamentals — where the dashboard could use some improvement.

    The first tip on message:

    The information designer is responsible for presenting the data in a way that the message is delivered in a clear and understandable way. If the data is left to speak for itself, users can be left confused or frustrated. And in all likelihood they won't to [sp] see the full value of the data. That's particularly tough for this Federal IT Dashboard where a huge amount of effort has been put into gathering consistent data across agencies.

    Totally agree with this, but to avoid confusion, let's clarify. You should always let the data speak for itself. It's just that what the data says often seems like a foreign language to non-professionals. It's up to you, the information designer, to translate. The better you can translate, the better the information designer you are.

    See the rest of the redesign on Juice Analytics (who is hiring, by the way).

  • A graphical look at Burning Man

    July 30, 2010  |  Infographics

    Burning man information graphic

    This graphic on Burning Man is totally lost on me, but maybe you guys will appreciate it more. I first heard about the event on Malcom in Middle several years ago and that's about it. Well, that and my friend posted a picture on Facebook yesterday of him wearing fairy wings, which just confuses me more.

    I feel like I'm missing out on something though. I mean, who doesn't want to see a giant, burning wood man on the beach?

    The designer Flint Hahn notes:

    The history of Burning Man has always been a complex entity that has survived, nay, mutated over the years. And because of this, it has grown rapidly since its humble beginnings of a simple gathering on a beach.

    The infographic poster shows only a small portion of what Burning Man is. By no means do mere numbers even begin to show a complete picture, as that is a history of stories, experiences, and individual tales.

    Ok then.

    [Thanks, Turtle & Jesse]

  • How to win Rock-paper-scissors every time

    July 30, 2010  |  Infographics

    How to win Rock-paper-scissors every time (infographic)

    I admit it. When I first heard there are actual tournaments for Rock-paper-scissors, sanctioned by the World Rock Paper Scissors Society, I laughed. I mean seriously, $50k to the winner of a game that requires no skill whatsoever? Absurd. Boy was I wrong.

    Rock-paper-scissors isn't just a silly game kids play or a way to decide who has to be the designated driver at parties. This is serious stuff. It's psychological warfare. ChaCha Answers explains.

    Males have a tendency to throw rock on their first try, inexperienced RPS players will subconsciously deliver the item that won previously, and paper is thrown least often, so use it as a surprise. And remember, when in doubt, throw the Spock. Your opponent will never know what hit him. You'll be disqualified, but at least you'll go out fighting.

  • Two-minute journey through the history of cinema

    July 29, 2010  |  Data Art

    Motion graphic on the history of film

    35mm, a short film by Sarah Biermann, Torsten Strer, Felix Meyer, and Pascal Monaco, strips 35 movies to their simplest form and cleverly strings them together in a set of motion graphics. From Singin' in the Rain, Titanic, and Jaws to Fight Club, Star Wars, and Terminator.

    Can you figure out all the movies portrayed? Test your movie wits in the video below. I only recognized two the first time around. I suck.
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  • Ugly chart used to confuse readers

    July 29, 2010  |  Ugly Charts

    Confusing health care flowchart

    Charles Blow on this unnecessarily complex chart used to show the network of Obamacare:

    Maybe it's the former graphics/art director in me, but I get really offended when people use charts to confuse rather than to clarify.

    Take a look at this monstrosity released today by the Joint Economic Committee minority, which is led by Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) and Representative Kevin Brady (R-Texas).

    To paraphrase one of my favorite quotes: they’re using this chart like a drunken man uses lampposts – for support rather than for illumination.

    Really, Joint Economic Committee? Look - I'm not going to pretend I know all the intricacies of the US health care system, but this is clearly chart abuse.

    Looking at this horribly designed piece of propaganda makes me want to throw up. I'm throwing up right now. Dang it. Someone owes me a new keyboard.

  • Brief history of data visualization

    July 28, 2010  |  Visualization

    first geographic map

    Shawn Allen of Stamen Design provides a brief history of data visualization, starting with William Playfair's charts in the late 1700s and William Smith's map sketch of Britain, up to the more recent works from The New York Times, Martin Wattenberg, and Ben Fry.

    This leads into a description of what data is, from a practical point of view, as the writeup is actually an introduction for Allen's visualisation course at the School of Visual Arts. Totally looks like a course I wish I could've taken in grad school.

  • Afghanistan war logs revealed and mapped

    July 27, 2010  |  Data Sources, Mapping

    Afghanistan incidents from war logs

    This past Sunday, well-known whistle-blower site Wikileaks released over 91,000 secret US military reports, covering the war in Afghanistan. Each report contains the time, geographic location, and details of an event the US military thought was important enough to put on paper.
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  • Where all the BP oil could end up

    July 27, 2010  |  Mapping

    Where the oil could go

    Now that the oil flow has finally stopped, for now, the attention has shifted to the effects all that oil will have on wildlife and the ecosystem. Chris Wilson for Slate reports on where all of that BP oil could end up during the next 130 days, based on modeling data from the National Center for Atmospheric Research. These models are based on how water flows in different areas of the Gulf.

    Three scenarios are presented. All end up with oil leaving the Gulf.

    Of course, these are all approximations, and the models can't possibly account for all the factors that play into oil drift (e.g. biological degradation of the oil), but it's an educated guess, so take it at that. Wherever all the oil ends up, one thing is for sure. There's still a lot of cleanup left to do.

  • Military budget contextualized with CGI tanks

    July 27, 2010  |  Data Art

    Cost of war through tanks

    It's no secret. The US military gets a lot of funding for manpower, weapons, equipment, security, so and so forth. Do you know how much money they'll have received come end of this year? I could tell you how many billions of dollars they get, or go the other way, and contextualize it by telling you what you could buy with that money - like the number of mosquito nets or pounds of food for the homeless.

    Moustache, a design and direction studio, goes with the context option in their short CGI video Softwar. Thousands of tanks are piled on top of each other to show just how much the military budget can buy.
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  • Sorting algorithms visualized

    July 26, 2010  |  Misc. Visualization

    quicksort algorithm visualized

    This will be lost on many of you, but to the programmers this will make perfect sense. Basically, when programming, there are a lot of times when you have a long list of numbers or words that you'll want sorted greatest to least or alphabetically. The way this is done will vary by what algorithm you use. Aldo Cortesi visualizes these sorting algorithms, showing just how each one works.

    If you're confused but still interested, here's a simple example.

    Let's say you have a list of numbers from one to five listed as such: 4, 20, 6, 12, 100. We want to organize these systematically least to greatest. The easiest way would be to setup five "spots" and then go through each number, starting at the beginning, and decide if the number is bigger or smaller than the number we already looked at. That's not the most efficient way to do it though, and when you have millions of numbers to sort, instead of just five, then efficiency matters.

    [Thanks, Marlena]

  • Exploration of our aging world

    July 26, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization

    Our aging world interactive visualization

    From Ben Fry's newly established Fathom Information Design, is a visualization for GE on our aging world:

    According to the United Nations, the elderly population of the world is growing at its fastest rate ever. By 2050, there will be more than 2 billion people aged 60 or over. The age of a country's population can reveal insights about that country's history, and can provide a glimpse towards the economic and healthcare trends that will challenge their societies in the future.

    The piece is a simple but elegant interactive that lets you compare age distributions between countries, over time. Select one country on the top, and select another on the bottom. For each country, you get a pair of stacked bars (for men and women). Age moves left to right, so the left-most bars represent the youngest, and the right most represent the oldest.

    Use the slider on the bottom to navigate through time, and the distributions shift further right (i.e. people live longer) in a wave-like motion, as the population of each respective country increases.

    Finally, watch a composite of all eight selected countries in the bottom right.

    The one thing missing for me is the percentages for each age/gender group as you roll over each bar. But I'm just being picky. Really good stuff. The interactive leaves it up to you to see what's going on in the data.

    How does your country compare to others?

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