• Navigate Articles, Photos, and Video from Around the Globe

    December 9, 2008  |  Mapping

    The Washington Post recently put up TimeSpace: World, which is an interactive map that shows articles, video, photos, and commentary as they happen around the world (through the Washington Post's eyes). Similar to Trulia Snapshot, by Stamen Design, news items are arranged with a force-directed graph and can be filtered by time with a timeline at the bottom. Adjust time range to find news stories from a given time of day. You get a breakdown of number of images, articles, etc. Photos seem to dominate. Here is the embedded version (which seems a little buggy):

    One thing that I really liked about Trulia Snapshot, which isn't included as a part of TimeSpace: World is a play button. It'd be like watching the news unfold over time - or even better, make TimeSpace self-updating. Maybe in the next iteration.

    [Thanks, Steven]

  • Explore and Analyze Geographic Data with UUorld

    December 8, 2008  |  Mapping

    united-states

    UUorld (pronounced "world") is a 4-dimensional mapping tool that lets you explore geographic data - the fourth dimension being time. The interface will remind you a bit of Google Earth with the map, pan, zoom, etc, however, UUorld isn't trying to replace Google Earth. In fact, it'll probably be better if you use it with Google Earth. Think of it as another tool to add to your box of mapping toys.

    UUorld's focus is on finding trends over space and time. Load your own data or import data from UUorld's data portal, and then play it out over time. Spatial boundaries undulate up and down as land masses look a bit like skyscrapers. Color and boundary lines are customizable. When you're satisfied with the results, record it as video or export as KML, and then import into Google Earth or whatever else you want.

    How effective is this method of visualization though? There's the usual argument of area perception, but does color-coding and vertical dimension make up for that? Discuss amongst yourselves.

  • Guess What State Searches for ‘Poo’ the Most – StateStats

    December 5, 2008  |  Mapping, Statistics

    StateStats is like Google Insights but on a state level. Type in a search term and get Google search levels with correlations to certain "metrics" like obesity or support for Obama. Any Web application that uses correlation tends to make me feel a bit iffy, but it's just for fun, so I guess it's okay.

    Being the immature man-child that I am, the first thing I type in the search field is poo. I thought it was hilarious interesting that Louisiana's relative search rate was so much higher than all the other states. Apparently, obesity correlates moderately.

    I'm sure all of you will search for more sophisticated terms.

    [Thanks, @Chimp711]

  • Typographic Illustration for Jay-Z’s ‘Brooklyn Go Hard’

    December 4, 2008  |  Data Art

    Evan Roth from the Graffiti Research Lab, uses typographic illustration in Jay-Z's music video for Brooklyn Go Hard. As the song plays out, we see sketches of Jay-Z drawn using Brooklyn (sort of what we saw from Jeff at Neoformix). It's quite the work of art:

    You can download the source code for the video from Evan's site, which is pretty cool too.

    [via Animal | Thanks, Max]

  • Visualization Projects from Database City – Visualizar’08

    December 2, 2008  |  Data Art, Mapping

    This is a guest post by Greg J. Smith, a Toronto-based designer and researcher. Greg writes about design, visualization and digital culture on his personal blog Serial Consign.

    A few weeks ago the second edition of the Visualizar workshop wrapped up at Medialab-Prado in Madrid. In curating the event this year, organizer José Luis de Vicente selected urban informatics as the focus of research and visualization development. Partially inspired by Cascade on Wheels (a project created at the workshop last year), the Visualizar mandate was in line with contemporary thinking about the city where the street is viewed as a platform and urban space is considered a DIY enterprise. Visualizar'08 brought together a range of programmers, designers, architects, illustrators and scholars to participate in a seminar on contemporary thinking about the city and then bunker down to "rapid prototype" seven visualization projects over a two-week period.
    Continue Reading

  • Neighborhood Boundaries with Flickr Shapefiles

    November 28, 2008  |  Data Sources, Mapping

    Neighborhood Boundaries by Tom Taylor uses Flickr Shapefiles and Yahoo! Geoplanet "to show you where the world thinks its neighbors are." Yahoo! provides access to the Where on Earth (WOE) database, which attempts to describe locations as a hierarchy. For example - a town belongs to a city, a city to a county, a county to a state. The Flickr API stores shape files identified by the WOE ID. Here's the punchline. The shapefiles are built using only the latitude and longitude from geotagged photos on Flickr. There's no GIS involved here.

    Why this matters, I can't really say. I think it's mostly to show how much data is stored in geotagged Flickr photos. I'm no GIS expert though. Anyone care to comment on the significance?

    [Thanks, @couch]

  • Explore Your Feeds in a Cloud of Posts – RSS Voyage

    November 26, 2008  |  Data Art

    I'm not exactly sure what I'm seeing here, but Voyage, by Andy Biggs, is an abstract RSS reader that places posts in a 3D cloud. As you click on items, you can drill down further to later posts. You can also use the up and down keys on the keyboard or the scroll wheel on your mouse. (The latter isn't working for me right now.) For example, press up and you'll see earlier posts from your subscribed feeds. The horizontal placement doesn't seem to have any significance.

    It's probably best to take Voyager for what it is. After all it was just meant to be an experiment in 3D Flash. It's pretty to look at and fun to play with, but not so much about practicality.

    [via can't remember]

  • Visual Guide to the Financial Crisis

    November 25, 2008  |  Infographics

    If you're like most people, you don't really know what's going on with the economy. You know there's something to do with loans and payments and what not, but not much else. Mint (the financial management app) and Wallstats (the guy who does the Death and Taxes poster) put together a "visual guide to the financial crisis" - or a flow chart, rather - to clear up some of those cloudy details. It goes back to 2003 after the dot-com crash up to the recent government bailout.

    [Thanks, Max]

  • Facebook Friend Activity Seen Around the World

    November 24, 2008  |  Mapping

    Palantir, by Jack Lindamood, Kevin Der, and Dan Weatherford of Facebook, visualizes friend activity on Facebook. The three "hacked" together Palantir at Facebook's recent Hackathon, but I'd never guess that it was put together in just one night by looking at it. There are a few different views. One shows activity in the form of towers sprouting up from the ground and another visualizes interactions between Facebook friends with floating arcs and things that look like orbiting comets. The former reminds me of a visualization some Google folks did a while back but with search terms. I can't find a link to it now though (a little help, please?).

    Anyways, the pictures aren't really enough to understand what I'm talking about. Watch the video for more.

    [via TechCrunch | Thanks, John]

  • US Oil Doesn’t Come From Where You Think it Does

    November 21, 2008  |  Data Sources, Mapping

    Where do you think the US imports the most oil from? Most of us would probably say somewhere in the Middle East, but Jon Udell does some number crunching and shows that misconception is false. Canada supplies us with the most oil (according to the US Department of Energy).

    This realization however, isn't the post's punchline. It's how easy it was for Jon to figure this stuff out. With some help from Dabble DB (an app that lets you easily use a database without too much technical fuss), Jon was able to parse the data and map it by region with a few swift clicks.

    We’re really close to the point where non-specialists will be able to find data online, ask questions of it, produce answers that bear on public policy issues, and share those answers online for review and discussion. A few more turns of the crank, and we’ll be there. And not a moment too soon.

    We're gettin' there.

    [Thanks, Tim]

  • Using Data Visualization to Forecast Financial Markets

    November 20, 2008  |  Economics, Statistical Visualization

    This is a guest post by Simit Patel of InformedTrades, which offers free advice on trading stocks.

    While many investors use economic and fundamental factors to identify investment opportunities -- i.e. whether a company has good management and is in a growth industry, or how it will be affected by macroeconomic conditions -- ultimately the price of an asset comes down to two things: supply and demand. The demand for buying vs the demand of selling. By visualizing the movement of price assets, we can gain an understanding of the psychology of the market as a whole, and thus what direction the price will go.
    Continue Reading

  • Cotton Picking Correlates to President Picking

    November 19, 2008  |  Mapping

    The U.S. election is over. The post-election analyses begin. The above map shows presidential voting at the county level. The more red a county is, the stronger the support for John McCain and similar for Barack Obama and blue. Below is cotton production in 1860. Each dot represent 2,000 bales. That's some strong correlation. In fact, here is the election map with the cotton overlay:

    This of course is a case of strong correlation - not causation. That is to say, if you get your county to grow more cotton, it doesn't mean that you're increasing the probability that voters will sway towards Democrat. As Strange Maps points out, it is in fact a correlation to African-American population (of which 91% voted for Obama). There has been some migration during the post-slavery area, but families have largely settled in the areas their families before them grew up in.

    [via Strange Maps | Thanks, Albyn]

  • Mmm, Chocolate Pie… Chart

    November 18, 2008  |  Data Art

    In the spirit of turning pie charts into food, Mary and Matt kick it up a notch with some design and 5.5 ounces of chocolate. It's a chocolate pie chart of 70% milk chocolate, 20% dark, and 10% white. Get yours today for just 20 bucks. It looks delicious.

    [via swissmiss]

  • Word Portraits of Famous People – Einstein and Ginger the Cockapoo

    November 18, 2008  |  Data Art

    Jeff Clark of Neoformix has been doing some cool stuff with words lately. Above is a word portrait of Albert Einstein looking very chipper. Einstein's entire face is composed of the word "genius" at varying shades and sizes. Inspired by Gui Borchet, briefly explains the process done in uh, Processing:

    The Word Portraits that I have been creating lately use an algorithm that analyzes a starting image and finds rectangular patches of a reasonably consistent color. These are then filled in the generated image with words or letters painted with the average color in the rectangle.

    The algorithm can of course be generalized to not just words and can be used with non-human images as well. Ginger the Cockapoo serves as the case study in which Jeff reconstructs an image of the dog with rectangles, the letter O, leaf-like shapes, and filled circles.

    Take a look through Jeff's other postings for more word portraits of Barack Obama and George Boole - inventor of a logical calculus of truth values.

  • Minority Report Physical Interface in Real Life – Oblong g-speak

    November 17, 2008  |  Visualization

    Remember the awesome interface in Minority Report? You know, the one where Tom Cruise is sifting through files and information as if he were directing a symphony? Oblong, whose co-founder served as science adviser on the Steven Spielberg movie, created something a lot like it. It's called g-speak.

    Oblong Industries is the developer of the g-speak spatial operating environment.

    The SOE's combination of gestural i/o, recombinant networking, and real-world pixels brings the first major step in computer interface since 1984; starting today, g-speak will fundamentally change the way people use machines at work, in the living room, in conference rooms, in vehicles. The g-speak platform is a complete application development and execution environment that redresses the dire constriction of human intent imposed by traditional GUIs. Its idiom of spatial immediacy and information responsive to real-world geometry enables a necessary new kind of work: data-intensive, embodied, real-time, predicated on universal human expertise.

    Here's the impressive demo reel:

    Now here's the Minority Report clip for comparison's sake:

    Of course g-speak is still in development and has a lot of work ahead before it's useful to explore "massive datasets" but it's a good first step nevertheless. Plus, it just looks fun to play with. I wonder what it'd do if I gave it an obscene gesture.

    [via Data Mining and Engadget]

  • Open Thread: I Don’t Care About the Data…

    November 14, 2008  |  Discussion, Visualization

    Martin briefly discusses a presentation at a recent visualization workshop. The speaker blurts, "I don't care about the data, I am just interested in the method." This begs the question

    Can you design worthwhile visualization without worthwhile data?

    I can see why the speaker said what he did, but you know what, if you don't care about the data then I probably won't either, and most likely, I won't care about your visualization. What do you think? Can useful visualization techniques come out of using whatever datasets?

    I asked the same question on Twitter a couple of days ago. Here are a few of the responses:

    @EagerEyes: No.

    @skylark64: you can, but shouldn't... Then again, maybe it is worthwhile to someone.

    @couch: No.

    @vrypan: But that's the question in the first place! "what's my data worth?" If you know the answer, tools have little importance.

    I think I know where this conversation is headed.

  • Alternative to Cartograms Using Transparency

    November 13, 2008  |  Mapping

    Alpha map

    The thing about cartograms is that it's hard to make out what you're seeing. You lose most sense of geography and size comparison is near impossible. They're more of a pretty picture than an analytical tool. Axis Maps proposes an alternative to cartograms, and the example of course uses presidential election data.

    Instead of morphing counties so that they are sized by area, Axis uses transparency or more accurately, alpha levels. Uh, wait, is that more accurate? Oh I dunno. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. Anyways, as a result, counties with higher populations glow brightly and those with smaller populations fade into the darkness that is oblivion. I like it. More importantly though - what do you think?

    [via Cartogrammar]

  • Google Uses Search Terms to Predict Flu Activity

    November 12, 2008  |  Statistical Visualization

    annual_cdc_comparison

    In Google Flu Trends, Google uses related searches to predict flu activity in your area "up to two weeks faster than traditional flu surveillance systems." The above graph shows query-based flu estimates compared against flu data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

    We have found a close relationship between how many people search for flu-related topics and how many people actually have flu symptoms. Of course, not every person who searches for "flu" is actually sick, but a pattern emerges when all the flu-related search queries from each state and region are added together. We compared our query counts with data from a surveillance system managed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and discovered that some search queries tend to be popular exactly when flu season is happening. By counting how often we see these search queries, we can estimate how much flu is circulating in various regions of the United States.

    [Thanks, Iman]

  • 672 Obama Headlines – Both Browsable and Readable

    November 12, 2008  |  Software, Visualization

    Vertigo put together a great collection of 672 Obama headlines using Silverlight's deep zoom capabilities. The cool thing here isn't so much the number of headlines or the mosaic of pictures. It's how you can interact with the newspapers' front pages. It's not just a mosaic of thumbnails. You can pan and zoom really smoothly with a roll of the scroll wheel and mouse drag and a click. Zoom all the way in to read the actual articles without it taking forever for high-resolution images to load.

    Take a look see at Blaise Aguera y Arcas' TED talk for where this technology is headed:

    [via Data Mining]

  • Exploration of Our Presidents’ First 100 Days in Office

    November 11, 2008  |  Infographics

    GOOD Magazine and Atley Kasky collaborate to explore U.S. Presidents' first 100 days in office.

    I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people," Franklin D. Roosevelt told supporters in 1932 while accepting the presidential nomination. When he took office the following year, he spent his first 100 days enacting a dizzying number of reforms designed to stabilize an economically depressed nation. Since then, a president's first 100 days have been an indicator of what he is able to accomplish. In January 2009, the clock starts again.

    For each President, going back to FDR, a line represents his first 100 days in office. Each circle corresponds to a significant event. The profiles underneath the timelines start with a notable quote from the President's inauguration speech (except Truman and Johnson, who were sworn in after the death of Roosevelt and Kennedy, respectively) followed by events marked with cute, little icons that show what type of event it was. The % of popular vote, days in office, and political inheritance are there too.

    Yeah, it's a crud load of information (presented quite nicely). I hope you have a big monitor.

    [Thanks, @hungryclone]

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