• Physics of oil spills explained

    June 14, 2010  |  Infographics

    physics of oil spills

    What exactly is going on with all the oil spewing into the Gulf, biologically speaking? MSNBC explains in a series of graphics:

    The Deepwater Horizon oil spill has released millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, making it the most devastating oil spill in U.S. history. It is clear that the spilled oil will have a large impact on the Gulf coast for years to come, but what happens to the oil in the first hours, days and weeks as it interacts with the surrounding elements?

    There are many physical and chemical processes, collectively known as weathering, that change the oil's properties and behavior after it is spilled into the ocean.

    It begins with the oil particles spreading, and over months and years, particles eventually sink to the ocean floor and micro-organisms feed on hydrocarbons in the spilled oil. After that, I like to think everyone refuses to buy anything BP-related and the company goes bye-bye.

    [Thanks, Jonah]

  • History of the United States in a circle

    June 13, 2010  |  Infographics

    presidential costs

    Presidential Costs by Rachel Mercer offers a look at the history of the United States:

    The outer circle illustrates presidential periods, the governing party, and whether or not the President died in office. The first inner circle shows the "eras" in history that those time periods covered. The third inner circle shows key foreign conflicts and wars. The fourth inner circle (purple) shows key legislative acts (or series of bills) that were issued. Finally, the bubbles in the middle indicate the average national debt, as indicated every 8 years.

    I like the look, but the average debt numbers do seem kind of iffy. I could be wrong though.

  • Landscape chartspotting

    June 11, 2010  |  Mapping

    charts in landscape

    We saw math principles in nature. Now how about charts? Andy Woodruff does some sniffing around in Google Maps to find charts in rural landscapes. Above, you've got your polar area charts in Bolivia. It looks like an agricultural area. I have no idea how that kind of layout would be more efficient than squares though. Then again, I'm no farmer. Other chart types include pies, bars, and treemaps. Can you find anymore?

  • Twitter parade in your honor

    June 11, 2010  |  Data Art

    This is completely useless in the good sort of way. Twitter parade, by KDDI, takes your followers and throws a parade for you. You can also enter a keyword instead of a username. As the people march, their recent tweets are displayed.

    Thanks for the giant statue with the top half of my head, guys. Truly, the honor is all mine.

    [via datavisualization]

  • Stanley Cup winners and losers

    June 10, 2010  |  Network Visualization

    Stanley Cup winners and losers

    Speaking of sports most Americans know nothing about, Robby Macdonell visualizes NHL Stanley Cup competitors in his experiment with HTML5. The interactive shows winners and losers since 1927. Teams are shown up top and years are on the bottom. Mouse over stuff, and connecting lines show past appearances if you are looking at a team, or the winner and loser of a year, if you are looking at the bottom.

    See Robby's post for the full skinny on how he did it.

    Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks in their recent win. You've done Obama proud.

    [via the forums]

  • Interactive World Cup schedule

    June 10, 2010  |  Network Visualization

    Interactive World Cup schedule

    I was born in and live in the United States, so to me football is a bunch of big guys in full armor trying to tackle each other. To the rest of the world though, all eyes are on the World Cup, starting June 11. So this is for you, international readers (and maybe one or two Americans). Marca has an interactive World Cup schedule so you can make sure not to miss any important matches. Mouse over a date, a team, a group/stage, or cities/stadiums to focus on the matches you want.

    [Thanks, Judi]

  • Context to underwater depths

    June 10, 2010  |  Infographics

    The Deepwater Horizon well is nearly a mile deep in water. It extends 3.5 miles. It's hard to imagine these depths of the ocean though since most of us have never gone further than twenty feet below. The New York Times' Bill Marsh provides some context. The Titanic rests 2.4 miles down, while in 1960, a U.S. Navy submersible descended to the deepest known ocean floor, about 7 miles into the darkness. [Thanks, Peter]

  • Strata of common and not so common colors

    June 9, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization

    The Color Strata from Weathersealed

    In another look at the data from xkcd's color experiment, Stephen Von Worley looks at the common and not so common colors of the rainbow:

    The Color Strata includes the 200 most common color names (excluding black-white-grayish tones), organized by hue horizontally and relative usage vertically, stacked by overall popularity, shaded representatively, and labeled where possible. Besides filtering spam, ignoring cruft, normalizing grey to gray, and correcting the most egregious misspellings (here’s looking at you, fuchsia), the results are otherwise unadulterated.

    The results correspond nicely with Martin and Dolores Labs' color wheels from a couple of years ago.

    [Thanks, Stephen]

  • Find your booty with Bing treasure maps

    June 9, 2010  |  Mapping

    Find your booty with Bing treasure maps

    Maps on the major sites like Yahoo, Google, and Bing have a similar look. You've got your yellow roads, orange freeways, and green parks. Bing Destination Maps takes a different approach. Select your region of interest, and choose the style that you want. You have four choices: European, American, sketchy, and treasure map (above).
    Continue Reading

  • Where the tourists really flock

    June 8, 2010  |  Mapping

    Tourist PIctures in San Francisco

    A couple of weeks ago you saw Eric Fischer's maps of Flickr photos in major cities. The inclination was to think of the maps as a representation of tourist hot spots. The more pictures taken in an area, the more people go there to visit. That's not necessarily the case though. Tourists might flock to an area and might completely neglect another, while locals might avoid the touristy areas.

    In Fischer's second run of maps, he makes an educated guess about the splits between tourists and locals:

    Blue points on the map are pictures taken by locals (people who have taken pictures in this city dated over a range of a month or more).

    Red points are pictures taken by tourists (people who seem to be a local of a different city and who took pictures in this city for less than a month).

    Yellow points are pictures where it can't be determined whether or not the photographer was a tourist (because they haven't taken pictures anywhere for over a month). They are probably tourists but might just not post many pictures at all.

    See the full set on Flickr. It's even better than the first. [via | thanks, Joe]

  • Review: Data Flow 2, Visualizing Information in Graphic Design

    June 8, 2010  |  Data Art, Reviews

    Review: Data Flow 2

    Note: The review copy I received is in French. Unfortunately, I only understand English. So this review is actually my impression of Data Flow: Design Graphique et Visualisation D'Informations as a picture book with titles, which in a way it kind of is anyways.

    Last year, the first Data Flow was published, featuring the data graphics of some fine designers. You can read my review of it here. Basically, if you liked the first Data Flow and could use some more inspiration, you'll probably like this second edition. The two are really similar in layout and in the way the graphics are split up. The title is exactly the same, save the 2.
    Continue Reading

  • Europe’s web of debt

    June 8, 2010  |  Network Visualization

    Europe's web of debt

    While the US has its own problems with debt somewhere in the range of $13 trillion, European countries have got some issues too. It seems like everyone owes something these days.

    [Thanks, Tom]

  • San Francisco crime mapped as elevation

    June 7, 2010  |  Mapping

    San Francisco crime mapped as elevation

    Doug McCune maps San Francisco crime in 2009 as if it were elevation. Peaks and valleys emerge with the rolling terrains of crime. The above is the map for prostitution:

    My favorite map is the one for prostitution (maybe “favorite” is the wrong choice of words there). Nearly all the arrests for prostitution in San Francisco occur along what I’m calling the “Mission Mountain Ridge”, which runs up Mission St between 24th and 16th. I love the way the mountain range casts a shadow over much of the city. There’s also a second peak in the Tenderloin (which I’m dubbing Mt. Loin).

    I love how realistic the 3-dimensional models look. They could almost pass for clay figures. Doug notes that the series of maps are more an art piece than they are information visualization, but these would be a great complement to your standard choropleth.

  • Protovis 3.2 released – more examples and layouts

    June 7, 2010  |  Software, Statistical Visualization

    parralel coordinates

    The most recent version of Protovis, the open-source visualization library that uses JavaScript and SVG, was just released not too long ago - this time with more layout and examples. This is especially helpful since Protovis was "designed to be learned by example." Among the new stuff is the ever popular streamgraphs, along with the force-directed layout. With only 10 to 20 lines of code, you'll have your viz, so lots of bang for the buck.

    There are, however, still some limitations with dreaded Internet Explorer (mainly with interaction), but they're getting there, I think.

    Find plenty of other examples on the Protovis site. Robert Kosara has also started a series of Protovis tutorials on how to use the library if you want some guidance on where to start.

  • Track the 2010 MTV Movie Awards

    June 6, 2010  |  Infographics

    mtv-bars

    Excited about the 2010 MTV Movie Awards? Yeah, me neither. But if you want to keep an eye on things while you watch or do something else (you know, in case there's a Kanye moment), MTV and Stamen provide a tweet tracker for the event. Similar to the VMA tracker last year, movies and celebrities are highlighted based on tweets about them per minute. The look, feel, and views are different, however.
    Continue Reading

  • How little musicians earn online

    June 4, 2010  |  Infographics

    You've heard about the struggling musician. It's a tough business. How tough is it though? David McCandless of Information is Beautiful, looks at how much musicians make from major online outlets. Bubbles are sized by how many sales or plays a song must get before someone makes US monthly minimum wage.
    Continue Reading

  • Poverty in late 19th century London

    June 4, 2010  |  Mapping

    booth-lg

    Alice Rawsthorn for The New York Times reports on Charles Booth's London poverty maps, from the late 1800s, currently on display at the Museum of London. During a time when people saw rich and poor living separately, Booth's map showed the contrary:

    Mr. Booth had set out to discover how many people were living in poverty, to determine why and what could be done to help them. As well as proving that there was much more poverty in London than the official statistics suggested, his research revealed the nuances of an increasingly complex city with different degrees of hardship, where the rich often lived alongside the poor.

    Of course, no visualization-related piece is complete without a little bit of data overload melodrama and a hat tip to Processing:

    As the data crisis worsens, finding new ways to make sense of this tsunami of information and to illustrate it clearly becomes ever more urgent. One solution is data visualization, a new visual language now being developed by information designers. Using sophisticated programming languages, like Processing, they are distilling colossal quantities of baffling data into seductive digital animations — or visualizations — many of which then change in real time to reflect what is actually happening.

    Ah, that hit the spot.

    [via]

  • BP oil spill if it were where you live

    June 3, 2010  |  Mapping

    If it Was My Home is a simple but effective concept. Enter your location, and the oil spill is overlayed on top. It's gotten to the point where the area the spill covers is greater than the area of some states. Scared? You should be.

  • Data Life of the Future

    June 3, 2010  |  Visualization

    It's fun to imagine the future. Every few months, someone takes a stab with a concept video or a proof of concept prototype, providing a glimpse into human-computer interaction and data visualization in a decade or two. What will it really look like? It's anyone's guess. But if people's imaginations are any indication, the future will be filled of data displays and 3-dimensional holographic objects projected into physical space.
    Continue Reading

  • Uber detailed London map satire

    June 2, 2010  |  Mapping

    Stephen Walter's The Island looks like an ordinary map of London from afar. Just a bunch of scribbles, actually. But zoom in and you get something more.

    The Island satirises the London-centric view of the English capital and its commuter towns as independent from the rest of the country. The artist, a Londoner with a love of his native city, offers up a huge range of local and personal information in words and symbols. Walter speaks in the dialect of today, focusing on what he deems interesting or mundane.

    Zoom in once. Outlines and locations appear.
    Continue Reading

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