GOOD Magazine, in collaboration with Graham Roberts, maps the most famous journeys in history - some fiction, some non-fiction. Wanderlust includes trips like Around the World in 80 Days and Journey to the Center of the Earth to the voyages of Marco Polo and Charles Lindbergh's transatlantic flight. However, it's not just a map with journey lines on it; Wanderlust is a history lesson. Select a trip for a summary and explore highlights of the journey.
I'm not sure how old this Disney org chart is, but I'm guessing very. Ink and paint? What are those? In any case, it's amusing. Why are nurse, army coordinator, police, and morgue on there? The animation business is clearly more complex than I thought.
These wooden graphs by Joshua Callaghan show uh, something on the left and military spending on the right. While I wouldn't call them any type of spectacular representation of data, I do like the idea of placing data into a physical space. We always get our graphs on a computer screen or on paper at best, which can take the human out of the data. It's easy to forget that a single data point can represent an entire human life (or death). Keep that in mind the next time you analyze a dataset.
[via designboom | Thanks, GuÃ°mundur]
A while back I asked what you wanted to see more of on FlowingData. Thanks to the 447 of you who responded.
I was actually kind of surprised that there were so many votes for statistical visualization. I thought there would be more of a balance between design, art viz, and stat viz. I was, however, happy to see that the second most voted-on choice was "All of the Above." I must be doing something right! So by popular demand, here's some statistical visualization.
Pie Chart Alternatives
Since the above pie chart is making some of you cringe in agony (although I can't imagine why), let's take a look a few alternatives for the pie chart using the same poll results.
How about a horizontal bar chart? The results are sorted and you can easily see the difference in voting counts.
Stacked Bar Chart
The above bar chart is missing a little something though. It doesn't explicitly show that each bar is really a part of a whole - in this case, all the people who voted. How about a stacked bar chart then? It shows the groupings and is a little easier to read than the pie chart in the sense that it's linear differences as opposed to radial.
Let's not forget our friends the bubbles. Carrying the same "problems" as a pie chart, the bubbles on the left are essentially a table with some flavor.
Personally, I still like the pie. Which one do you think is best? Or is there something else that might have been better than the above? How about a mosaic plot? Donut graph? A plain table?
Timelines, much like calendars, can be used to show changes over time in a straightforward way. When you have a bunch of events that occurred at certain times, mark them on a timeline, and you quickly get a sense of what's going on. Take the timeline of 10 largest data breaches for example. You see breaches get more dense as time goes by.
Wrap this idea into web application form, and you get Dippity. There have been similar timeline applications, but Dippity does it a bit better with a primary focus on telling stories with timelines and a good interface. Zoom in, zoom out, drag, and get alternative views as flipbook, list, and map.
Ever since I posted my visualization that shows the spread of Walmart, I've gotten a lot of emails asking how I did it, if I've considered applying it to other datasets, or if I could help with a customized version of the Walmart visualization. I've gotten similar inquiries about the gas price graphic. This makes me wonder -- is there a market for premium visualization online?
Existing Premium Visualization
I know there's definitely a market for data-specific visualization - viz made specifically for a certain type of data - otherwise design groups like Bestiario and Stamen wouldn't be around. But what about visualization that developers (or non-developers) can integrate into websites and applications with their own data?
For example, FusionCharts lets developers integrate the more traditional visualizations like bar charts and basic maps into their websites. Everything runs in Flash and has a little bit of animation and some interaction. According to the site's homepage, 30,000+ developers use FusionCharts. Licenses run from $69 for individuals to $1,999 for enterprise.
Daniel develops Constellation Roamer. It's a network graph interface that lets you explore connectedness. The Roamer has been out for about four months now and according to Daniel, has sold about 10 individual licenses at $550 each. This is interesting because the leads come from search engines without any advertising or publicity. While the sales are modest, he's also gotten a lot of freelance work for customized versions of the Roamer to keep him plenty busy.
Similarly, Moritz developed Relation Browser a couple years ago and says he gets an inquiry about once a week even though, like Daniel, doesn't advertise. Relation Browser is a network graph visualization that lets you explore relationships. The example below shows relationships between countries, but can also be applied to something like a social network. Moritz releases his code for free, but requires commercial vendors to purchase a license for 400 Euros (about $600) each.
Free Visualization Tools
So there's definitely some kind of demand for a more refined online visualization; however, there's been a growing number of free visualization tools available to developers. Do these take away the need for paid online visualization tools?
Google Visualization API
Most well known is perhaps Google's visualization API that they released in March, including the motion chart shown below. The API also includes a basic graphing utility along with a hodge podge of some other, uh, not so useful tools.
Many Eyes promotes social data analysis and is best known for its interactive visualizations. Last year, they brought embeddable visualization, mostly for bloggers to share with others. However, the drawback is that you can't push frequently-updated data into the Many Eyes application. The only way to get an updated visualization is to edit an existing dataset or upload a new one manually.
Room for Both Free and Premium
It seems that there's room for both. While the free tools from Google and Many Eyes are useful in their own right, premium visualization can provide a higher level of customization (for complex data streams and aesthetics) and integration into a site or an application.
I asked the same question on Twitter a few days ago and got some interesting responses from my Twitter friends:
@Omomyid: hmmmmm, how would you make it extensible though? The thing about cool infographics is that they are purpose built right?
@chris23: prolly a possible analyst service to provide visualizations/tools for market interests.
@der_mo: yes, totally. I keep selling the relation browser (http://der-mo.net/relationB...) although it is a couple of years old...
@hungryclone: maybe to companies w/ no dedicated employees that know how to make them?
What do you think? Is there a marketplace for visualization on the web or do the free APIs make it a moot point?
Who else has been enjoying the Olympics as much as I have? I think I might have developed an unhealthy obsession to the games these past few days with the 800 kajillion hours of NBC coverage.
I'm sure you've seen Wordle by now, which puts an artistic spin on the traditional tag cloud. An application by Jonathan Feinberg, Wordle lets you put any text or RSS/atom feed in as input and get a cloud of words sized by frequency and arranged every which way. Above is a Wordle cloud of the current FlowingData feed.
Many Eyes recently added Feinberg's visualization to their slew of other visualization tools.
Wordle marks a departure from the more analytical visualizations on Many Eyes. Why bring a self-described â€œtoyâ€ to a site for social data analysis? People have reported finding value beyond entertainment in creating these word clouds. Teachers have used Wordles in classrooms as conversation catalysts; others have created them to express their identities, and scholars have used them to visualize the output of statistical explorations of texts.
No doubt Many Eyes, with Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda ViÃ©gas (who know a thing or two about design) at the helm, recognizes that data visualization isn't always about analytics and exactness. Sometimes visualization is just about getting people to think.
The Shirt Project, by Rich Watts and Louise Ma, takes the infographics out of the newspaper and puts them onto brightly colored tshirts. What a great idea. They put out a new shirt every couple of months and topics range from the New York steam explosion to a bit of pop culture celebrating the birthdays of Michael Jackson, Prince, and Madonna. Subscribe to tshirts the same way you subscribe to newspapers. For the low price of $20, you can be both stylish and educational.
The BBC has a gorgeous documentary series that started yesterday -- Britain from Above. They take a look at Britain from the skies using satellite technology and GPS data. Watch patterns emerge as taxis, ships, and planes travel back and forth and information and data pass through Britain's national telephone network. The imagery is beautiful. I love visualization that brings data to life.
The high-resolution videos don't seem to be working right now, but here's just a small sample:
Gas prices have been pretty crazy lately. I'm not used to paying over $45 for a tank of gas in my fuel-efficient Honda Civic. I mean, come on, what the heck?
So naturally, we want to know, "What do the data look like for gasoline prices?" The Energy Information Administration has this data available for download. They have historic gas prices for certain states (not all, unfortunately) as well as for U.S. regions. Check out the animation showing the rise and fall... and rise.. and fall and rise of U.S. gas prices from 1993 up until now. Things started going crazy in 2006.
Remember SimCity 2000? That was a great game. That was probably the last computer game I played for any significant length of time, and if my Macbook Pro were able to read 5-inch floppies, I'd totally pop it in and build myself a city called Yau Town.
Put the look of SimCity 2000 together with Google Maps, and you get OnionMap. Most of the site is in Korean, but from what I gather it aims to be something of a tourist guide with a little bit of social network mixed in. That part of OnionMap is a little fuzzy, but it was worth the five minutes for the maps.
Lee Byron, Amanda Cox and Matthew Ericson of the New York Times graphics department map Olympic medals starting from the first one hosted by the International Olympic Committee in 1896 up to the most recent one in Athens. It looks like someone has an affinity for the colliding ball effect. Not that that's bad or anything.
Bubbles for each country are arranged geographically (or by rank) and sized by the number of medals that country won. Each continent has its own color. Shift the timeline to look at a different year, and click on a bubble to get a medal breakdown. The one thing that's mysteriously missing is a play button to watch the map morph over time. I'm sure there's a good reason why, but it seems like a natural next step. Although, I guess I can just hold down the arrow keys.
In any case, good stuff.
Is it just me, or is anyone else seeing home court advantage playing a role in medal count?
Circos is a project by Martin Krzywinski that lets you upload genomic data and visualize it as a network like the one above.
It is easy to plot, format and layer your data with Circos. A large variety of plot and feature parameters are customizable, helping you make the image that best communicates your data. You supply your data to Circos as flat files (e.g. GFF format), tell Circos what you want plotted using the configuration file, and then create the image.
While Circos is developed in the interest of visualizing genomic data, it is general enough that you can use it with other types of data that show relationships. The New York Times debate graphic is the first thing that comes to mind. Anyone want to give Circos a spin? Post a link to your image in the comments.
A new version of Flare, the data visualization toolkit for Actionscript (which means it runs in Flash), was just released yesterday with a number of major improvements from the previous version. The toolkit was created and is maintained by the UC Berkeley Visualization Lab and was one of the first bits of Actionscript that I got my hands on. The effort-to-output ratio was pretty satisfying, so if you want to learn Acitonscript for data visualization, check out Flare. The tutorial is a good place to start.
Here are some sample applications created with Flare:
Are you ready for another deconstruct/reconstruct exercise? I just posted a time series plot in the FlowingData forums that shows suicide rates and unemployment rates in Japan. Here are questions worth considering:
- What is the graph trying to show? Does it succeed?
- Is this the appropriate type of plot of this type of data?
- What would make the data more clear?
At a glance, the graph almost looks fine, but on a slightly deeper than superficial look, there are some clear problems.
Barcodes. We all know what they look like. They're the black stripes that vary in thickness with numbers that indicate something or another, but what is that something? Every product has a unique barcode number and when you pass it through an international key database, you get information about the product and the country of origin. Daniel Becker uses this data to create art in Barcode Plantage.
Once a bar code is keyed or scanned in, the program sends a request to the database, which returns a master file data. This master file data is then analysed to define positions, curves and colours of Bezier curves of the tree structure.
The number of these curves will vary correspondence to the number of figures in the code. Simultaneously, the user will hear a melody, which is based on the figures of the bar code.
Because every barcode is unique so is the resulting tree. Pretty.
I've always liked twittervision. I'm not sure what it is, but it's strangely mesmerizing, getting a tiny peak into others' lives. This weekend, I recreated twittervision with a little bit of style for good measure. Say hello to Twitter World.
Twitter World shows updates from the Twitter public timeline, and makes use of the twittervision API for location. Until I get whitelisted for the Twitter API, I'm polling Twitter and twittervision every six minutes to keep things fresh. Hopefully neither putters out.
Like my visualization showing the spread of Walmart, I used Modest Maps (+ OpenStreetMap) to map things out, and I used TweenFilterLite to animate. I had all the gears in place and everything working nicely a couple of hours in - but that was with a flat XML file. The hard part was feeding the thing live data and then making sure everything was synchronized. That took, um, too much time.
In any case, not bad for a weekend project.
PS. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter :)
Last week I asked if you could improve a mediocre bar chart showing party majorities by county. There was a resounding yes as many of you deconstructed and then reconstructed your own graphs. For reference, here's the original chart:
Here are the key flaws to the original that you all caught:
- The x-axis tick marks were in really weird places;
- The y-axis label was misleading because the data were number of counties;
- Red and blue would make more sense for Democrats and Republicans;
- Counts for counties don't match the years, because they are reversed;
- We see a different story when we bring in data for undecided "other" and "declined to declare."
What was the graph trying to show? It was trying to show party registration in California over the past five presidential elections. Did it succeed? No. It failed miserably; however, you did much better. Here are all the reworks.
Brijesh made a stacked chart for Democrats and Republicans:
Tyler made a horizontal stacked bar chart with a useful majority line down the middle:
Blair provided some R code:
David used a tornado chart, which turned out well:
Amos went with a stacked line chart:
Kevin sent this one in:
John put together a few versions - this being one of about five:
Jorge went with simplicity:
Stack created a time series for the Dems and Reps:
Jake put up a fan favorite:
Nate, the graphic designer, embedded a stacked line chart inside the California boundaries:
This is the one I made at the workshop:
Personally, I like Jake and David's the best, but who gets the golden star for best graph? I'll let you be the judge.