• How to Make an Interactive Area Graph with Flare

    December 9, 2009  |  Statistical Visualization, Tutorials

    flare graph

    You've seen the NameExplorer from the Baby Name Wizard by Martin Wattenberg. It's an interactive area chart that lets you explore the popularity of names over time. Search by clicking on names or typing in a name in the prompt. It's simple. It's sexy. Everybody loves it.

    This is a step-by-step guide on how to make a similar visualization in Actionscript/Flash with your own data and how to customize the design for whatever you need. We're after last week's graphic on consumer spending (above).
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  • Nebul.us Shows You Your Activity on the Web

    December 8, 2009  |  Online Applications, Self-surveillance

    Nebul.us is an online application, currently in private beta, that aggregates and visualizes your online activity. Enter your information for Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, etc and install a plugin in Firefox to record your browsing behavior. Get something that looks like the above, sort of a donut-polar area chart hybrid. Nebul.us calls it a cloud.
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  • 8 Great Gifts for Your Data Geek

    December 7, 2009  |  Visualization

    The gift-giving season is here, and you're probably wondering what to get everybody. You can only give so many neck ties, and you gave gift cards to Best Buy last year. So here's some help. Here are some gifts that will rock the socks off any data geek.

    FlowingPrints - Obviously an excellent choice. I'm a little biased, yes, but still great :). Use the code gimme50off to get 50% when you buy two prints or more. Deal ends this Friday.

    The Visual Miscellaneum - This book covers a wide variety of topics with lots of pretty infographics. Read my glowing review.

    Data Flow: Visualizing Information in Graphic Design - More design-focused than the above with many many examples from various visualization people and designers. Read my review here.

    The Visual Display of Quantitative Information - It's Edward Tufte's first book. Always a crowd-pleaser.

    Beautiful Data: The Stories Behind Elegant Data Solutions - Exactly what the title says. It's a collection of essays from experts in the data arena, except for the first chapter. That was written by some lamebrain.

    Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists - Maybe your data geek is just getting into visualization. Processing is a great place to start, and this book provides plenty of guidance.

    WallStats - The most recent 2010 infographic poster for where you tax dollars go. Get 50% off two or more posters when you use the code flowingdata.

    Ambient Devices - Get all data all the time with these devices. The orb is my favorite.

    Got any more data gift ideas? Let us know in the comments.

    Visit datavisualization.ch for more ideas on how you can surprise your data fiend this season.

  • The Geography of AIDS Around the World

    December 7, 2009  |  Mapping

    It was World AIDS Day last week and UNAIDS published the latest estimates on the number of people around the world who are living with HIV. Xaquin G.V. provides four cartograms (i.e. value-aread maps) to show the numbers. In the final result (above) each square represents 10,000 people with HIV, and regions are color-coded by percentage of people with the virus.
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  • Problem Comparison: Tiger Woods vs. Jay-Z

    December 5, 2009  |  Miscellaneous

    This, by Mike Arauz, is just too funny not to post. Sorry, Tiger.

    [Buzzfeed via WeLoveDataVis]

  • Comment to win free copies of The Visual Miscellaneum: Winners announced!

    December 4, 2009  |  Contests

    As we all know, David McCandless of Information is Beautiful, launched his new book The Visual Miscellaneum. You can read my review here.

    David was kind enough to provide a handful of copies to all of you. How to enter? Just leave a comment at the bottom of this post, and then come back on Monday to see if you're a winner. If leaving a comment isn't your thing, because it's just too crazy hard, you can buy it here. It's well worth it, and would also make an excellent gift.

    Good luck!
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  • Should You Get the H1N1 Vaccine?

    December 4, 2009  |  Infographics

    David McCandless, author of The Visual MIscellaneum, delves into the usefulness of the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine. There was quite a bit of research involved, as there's a crud load of material about H1N1 (naturally).

    My wife's an ER doc, and she says it's not that big of a deal, seeing as way more people die from the flu, but here's full graphic. You can decide for yourself.

  • Stat Charts Get a New York Times Redesign

    December 3, 2009  |  Statistical Visualization

    Statistical graphics are often... kind of bland. But that's fine, because they're usually for analysis, and the wireframe does just fine. The time eventually comes though when you need to present your analytical visualization in a paper or some slides, and you're no longer the primary reader.

    In their NYT op-ed on health care calculations, Andrew Gelman, Nate Silver, and Daniel Lee had some graphics of their own that needed some NYT flavor and design treatment.
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  • Past 25 Years of Consumer Spending

    December 2, 2009  |  Projects

    consumer spending

    How has consumer spending changed over the past 25 years? Do we spend more on some things and spend less on other than we did in the early 80s? In this interactive, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can explore just that.
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  • Best of FlowingData: November 2009

    December 1, 2009  |  Best of FlowingData

    November was another good month. We passed the 25k-subscriber mark for the first time, which to be honest, kind of freaks me out when I think about it, but at the same time it's of course really cool.

    Thanks all for spreading the word, and continuing to tweet, email, and bookmark. A big thanks to those who leave comments on FlowingData too. Your contribution makes this place that much better.

    In case you missed them, here are the top posts from November based on a combination of pageviews, comments, and links.
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  • A New Way to Search Images With Google Image Swirl

    November 30, 2009  |  Network Visualization

    There's this branch in computer science and statistics for vision research. Normally, if you ever hear about it in the news it's in the context of spotting terrorists in security tapes or facial recognition checkpoints (you know, like what they have in movies in front of giant steel doors). That is of course not the only application.

    Google (and many others) has been playing around with this stuff for a while. Most recently, they released Google Image Swirl in their labs section, which utilizes computer vision to find similar images.

    Above is my search for happy cat. The initial search result is what you're used to. It's a matrix of thumbnails. Click on one of them, and you'll get similar images clustered as a network graph.

    Google Image Swirl: the new way to find if someone is plagiarizing your work.

    [via information aesthetics]

  • Can You Guess What These Maps Show?

    November 27, 2009  |  Mapping

    I'm no doubt still under massive food coma at this time, but in case you've regained consciousness or don't live in the US, check out this collection of maps from The Morning News. Can you guess what each is supposed to show? If you can guess even one of them correctly, I'll be impressed.

    [Thanks, William]

  • Black Friday Starts Now. 3 Prints for 1!

    November 27, 2009  |  Announcements

    Straight to the point. It's Black Friday. Here's the deal. Get 1 print for the price of 3. No wait, switch that. Get 3 prints for the price of 1 when you buy the series.

    Use this code to take advantage: bfridayfps20

    This deal ends on Sunday. Get some prints for yourself or as a gift to your data geek friend or dog today.

    Remember: your order will help more prints go to local education.

    What is FlowingPrints?

    For those new to FlowingData, FlowingPrints is a pet project of mine to put data, well, in print. For this first series, I collaborated with two designers to create three original views of education in America - through data. Check 'em out now. They'll make your walls ridiculously smart.

  • What’s Cooking on Thanksgiving, Mapped and Ranked

    November 26, 2009  |  Mapping

    Food-wise, Thanksgiving is different across the country. In some places you're going to get a lot of chitterlings and collard greens, while in others, turkey and mashed potatoes. Personally, I'm a big fan of the 10-course Chinese feast, but to each his own.

    The New York Times (Matthew Ericson and Amanda Cox), map what's cooking in your neck of the woods based on searches on Allrecipes. The top search, concentrated in the southeast, was sweet potato casserole. I have no idea what that is, but it must be delicious.
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  • Fox News Makes the Best Pie Chart. Ever.

    November 26, 2009  |  Mistaken Data, Ugly Charts

    Fox News pie chart

    What? I don't see anything wrong with it.
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  • 9 Ways to Visualize Proportions – A Guide

    November 25, 2009  |  Design

    With all the visualization options out there, it can be hard to figure out what graph or chart suits your data best. This is a guide to make your decision easier for one particular type of data: proportions.

    Maybe you want to show poll results or the types of crime over time, or maybe you're interested in a single percentage. Here's how you can show it.
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  • Battle of the Coverage Maps: Verizon vs. AT&T

    November 24, 2009  |  Mapping

    Verizon has been running these ads lately that compare their 3G coverage to that of AT&T's. In the ads a Verizon customer walks along on a speedy phone, and a US map pops up that's covered in red. Later, an AT&T customer looks frustrated with a sparsely-covered AT&T coverage map. You've probably seen them by now, but if not, here are the Verizon ones.
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  • The Cost of Getting Sick

    November 23, 2009  |  Statistical Visualization

    GE and Ben Fry (now the director of SEED visualization), show the cost of getting sick, from the individual's and insurer's perspective. The data: 500k records from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey from GE's proprietary database. The visualization: a polar area pie chart.
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  • Buzzwords in Academic Papers (Comic)

    November 20, 2009  |  Statistical Visualization

    phd111609s

    This comic was really amusing, although it might be because I'm a big nerd entertained by all things from PHD Comics...

    It's my blog, and I can laugh if I want to.

    Have a nice weekend, everyone.

    [Thanks, Stephen]

  • Thank You, FlowingData Sponsors

    November 20, 2009  |  Sponsors

    Thank you to the FlowingData sponsors for keeping the servers alive. Without them, this blog would not be possible, and I wouldn't be able to do what I do.

    Check out what they have to offer. They make your data useful:

    Xcelsius Present — Transform spreadsheets into professional, interactive presentations.

    NetCharts — Build business dashboards that turn data into actionable information with dynamic charts and graphs.

    InstantAtlas — Enables information analysts to create interactive maps to improve data visualization and enhance communication.

    Tableau Software — Data exploration and visual analytics for understanding databases and spreadsheets that makes data analysis easy and fun.

    Email me at nathan [at] flowingdata [dot] com if you'd like to sponsor FlowingData, and I'll get back to you with the details.

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