• Notes from Interactive Infographics #interinfo #sxsw

    March 17, 2010  |  Infographics, News

    Yesterday was the Interactive Infographics panel at South by Southwest, and if Twitter is any indication of how it went, I'd say the panel had a captivated audience. I wouldn't expect anything less from the four panelists, Ben Fry (Processing), Shan Carter (NYT), Casey Caplowe (Good), and Eric Rodenbeck (Stamen)

    Unfortunately, I didn't get to attend, but luckily I was able to follow the play-by-play on Livefyre (sort of a cross between chat and forum) along with some excellent notes from @jpmarcum and @bryanconnor. Here are the important bits I was able to glean.

    The bulk of the time was spent showcasing the work from the four groups. I think you can find most of the projects through FlowingData. Just use the search form on the bottom right of this page. The good stuff came towards the end during the Q&A.
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  • Use your skills to help others

    March 17, 2010  |  Infographics

    Screen shot 2011-02-16 at 11.54.00 PM

    Designer Christopher Harrell talks about, with a dose of various embedded graphics, pointing your skills toward something good. Harrell's video was one of the winners in the What Matters to You scholarship competition for Vancouver Film School. It looks like home video, but that just adds to the charm.
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  • Statistical Atlas from the ninth Census in 1870

    March 16, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization

    In 1870, Francis Walker oversaw publication of the United States' first Statistical Atlas, based on data from the ninth Census. It was a big moment for statistics in the United States as the atlas provided a way to compare data on a national level using maps and statistical graphics.

    What continues to amaze me about these old illustrations is the detail - all done by hand. That's ridiculous. The kicker is that a lot of this stuff looks way better than a lot of what we see nowadays. Here are some selections from the 1870 atlas.
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  • Challenge: Let’s do something with these 3-D pyramids

    March 12, 2010  |  Ugly Charts

    pyramid

    Here's the idea. The government recommends a diet for healthy living (right pyramid), but at the same time there are billions of dollars of lopsided subsidies (left pyramid) whose distribution doesn't look anything like the former. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) used the above 3-d pyramids to present this information.

    Interesting point. Funky presentation. Discuss (remakes highly recommended).

    [via The Consumerist]

  • wefeelfine-cover

    Review: We Feel Fine (the book) by Kamvar and Harris

    We Feel Fine, by Sep Kamvar and Jonathan Harris, is a selection of some of the best entries from the database of 12 million emotions, along with some insights into the growing dataset.
  • What burger chain reigns supreme?

    March 10, 2010  |  Mapping

    alone

    In a follow up to his McDonald's map, Stephen Von Worley of Weather Sealed maps the dominating burger chains across the United States. McDonald's obviously has a stronghold in a lot of areas but not all of them. Most noticeable is Sonic Drive-in with over 900 restaurants in Texas alone. Personally, I'm rooting for Carl's Jr. and In-n-Out.

    [via We Love Datavis]

  • Canada: the country that pees together stays together

    March 9, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization

    flush_game

    EPCOR, the water utility company that runs the fountains up in Edmonton, Canada released this graph yesterday. It's water consumption during the Olympic gold medal hockey game, overlaying consumption of the previous day. How much do Canadians love their hockey? A lot.

    The first period ends. Time to pee. The second period ends. Time to pee. The third period ends. Time to pee. Consumption goes way down when Canada wins and during the medal ceremony.

    Finally, when it's all said and done, the rest of the country can relieve itself, figuratively and literally.

    [via contrarian | thanks, @statpumpkin]

  • Looking Inside a Bus Routing Algorithm

    March 9, 2010  |  Mapping

    In an effort to put transit data from the Toronto Transit Committee to better use, MyTTC provides a trip planner to help you find the best route from point A to point B. This video, compete with smart arses sitting on a couch, provides a peek into how the underlying algorithm works.

    [Thanks, Canna]

  • Edward Tufte will serve on Recovery Independent Advisory Panel

    March 8, 2010  |  Visualization

    Big news for all you Edward Tufte fanboys and girls. He will be joining the Recovery Independent Advisory Panel who will advise The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board. The Board's purpose is to track and explain how the $787 billion in stimulus funds is being put to use.

    I'm doing this because I like accountability and transparency, and I believe in public service. And it is the complete opposite of everything else I do. Maybe I'll learn something. The practical consequence is that I will probably go to Washington several days each month, in addition to whatever homework and phone meetings are necessary.

    Whether Tufte will have a direct impact on graphs like these, I'm not so sure, but it certainly won't hurt. I mean the man does know a thing or two about dispersing information.

    [Thanks, Yuri and @tbeauchamp]

  • How Genetics Works

    March 5, 2010  |  Misc. Visualization

    13068_full

    Simple yet effective. Any questions? [via 9gag | Thanks, Barry]

  • Where Bars Trump Grocery Stores

    March 2, 2010  |  Mapping

    Bars and groceries

    FloatingSheep, a fun geography blog, looks at the beer belly of America. One maps shows total number of bars, but the interesting map is the one above. Red dots represent locations where there are more bars than grocery stores, based on results from the Google Maps API. The Midwest takes their drinking seriously.

    Of course there are plenty of possible explanations for the distribution. Maybe people get all their food from superstores like Walmart in the red dot areas, so there are fewer gigantic stores than there are small local bars.

    Then again, the FloatingSheep guys did their homework and found, according to Census, that the number of drinking places in those red dots are really skewed compare to the average. So it's also possible that area of the country just likes to drink a lot.

    Anyone who lives in the area care to confirm? I expect your comment to be filled with typos and make very little sense. And maybe smell like garbage.

    [Thanks, Michael]

  • The State of the Internet

    March 1, 2010  |  Infographics

    From JESS3 is this video on the state of the internet. It's essentially a barrage of numbers, but it's fun nevertheless and it's got some interesting morsels in there.

  • Olympic musical – how fractions of second make all the difference

    February 28, 2010  |  Infographics

    audio

    Like everyone, I've been watching the Olympics, and it continues to amaze me how hundredths of a second can make up the difference between a gold medal and nothing at all. Amanda Cox of The New York Times visualizes and audiolizes(?) these tiny differences. She got creative with this one.

    Each row is an event and going from left to right, the first dot is the gold medal winner. The amount of space between the first dot and the dots that follow is how many seconds athletes finished after the winner.

    Visually, this only sort of works, but click on play to hear how these differences sound, and it puts everything in perspective.

    See the rest of NYT interactive Olympic coverage here. You know, just in case NBC coverage doesn't cut it for you.

  • News Topics as Social Network

    February 26, 2010  |  Network Visualization

    newsdots

    All news is connected in some way or another. News Dots from Slate shows just that.

    News Dots scans all articles from major publications—about 500 stories a day—and submits them to Calais, a service from Thompson Reuters that automatically "tags" content with all the important keywords: people, places, companies, topics, and so forth. Slate's tool registers any tag that appears at least twice in a story.

    Bubbles are sized by how much the corresponding topic is written about, and connections are made when topics are mentioned in the same article. Click on a topic to see the matching articles in the sidebar.

    How everything is placed I'm not exactly sure. I'm guessing distance represents some abstract measurement of relatedness. You guys have any better guesses?

  • Evolution of Olympic Pictograms

    February 26, 2010  |  Infographics

    pictograms

    Every Olympics since 1936 has had a series of pictograms (i.e. icons that look like restroom signs) that represents the events. Here are pictograms for the Vancouver games, and here they are for the Beijing Olympics. Some series are distinct while others clearly sucked it up. Designer Steven Heller discusses the evolution of these Olympic pictograms in this video for The New York Times. Which set do you like best?
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  • Challenge: make this graph easier to read

    February 25, 2010  |  Discussion, Statistical Visualization

    The Economist discusses the return of big government and includes this graph showing total government spending as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product. We see a dip in 2000 and a big jump this past year.

    The trouble is that the country labels are cluttered. If you read them left to right, you get mixed up initially. Keep your eyes left and move top to bottom, and you might be okay.

    The Challenge

    Can you think of a way to make this graph easier to read? Is there a better way to represent the time series?

    One catch: you have to work within the size limitation of 290 pixels wide and 300 pixels tall. It's an easy fix with unlimited space. But what can you do when space is scarce? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

    P.S. I was looking for the data this graph uses but got tired of using the OECD stat browser, so we'll just have to use our imagination for this one.

    [Thanks, Justin]

    Update: Here's GDP (sans spending) by country from 1995 to 2008 if anyone would like to take a wack [thanks, Kim].

  • An Exploration of Biological Records

    February 25, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization

    The Natural Science Museum of Barcelona has a growing database of 50,000 records of specimens collected over the past 150 years. Bestiario explores this data in their biodiversity treemap and geographical map.
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  • Man as Industrial Palace, Animated

    February 24, 2010  |  Misc. Visualization

    industrial_palace_poster

    In 1926, Fritz Kahn illustrated man as a working factory in his famous poster, Man as Industrial Palace. Tiny guys in each body system perform their own specific job. A camera man controls the eyes, groups of thinkers sit up top, and the guys at the bottom handle the dirty work.
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  • Sunlight Labs releases mapping framework, ClearMaps

    February 23, 2010  |  Mapping, Software

    clearmaps

    Open data is great, but it's useless if you don't know what to do with it. Sunlight Labs, a group focused on using technology to support open government, recently released ClearMaps. It's an Actionscript framework for interactive cartographic visualization.

    In addition to giving designers and developers more control over presentation the project aims to address some of the common technical challenges faced when building interactive, data driven maps for the web. ClearMaps is designed as a lightweight, flexible set of tools for building complex data visualizations. It is a framework not a plug-and-play component (though it could be a starting point for those wishing to make reusable tools).

    It's still in the early stages, but developers will want to check this out I am sure.

    [Thanks, Kevin]

  • OpenStreetMap Edits Towards Haiti Relief

    February 21, 2010  |  Mapping

    Haiti map

    ITO world, who you might remember from a year of OpenStreetMap edits, come back to the map visualization to show the efforts of an impromptu community and Crisis Mappers to produce the most complete and accurate map of Haiti following the earthquake.
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