• Overhaul of New York subway map

    Posted to Mapping

    The ever-popular New York subway map is getting some work done, and will reveal itself with its first major redesign in over a decade:

    The new subway map makes Manhattan even bigger, reduces Staten Island and continues to buck the trend of the angular maps once used here and still preferred in many other major cities. Detailed information on bus connections that was added in 1998 has been considerably shortened.

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  • Junk food equivalents of sugary drinks

    Posted to Statistics

    Men's Health takes a look at America's most sugary drinks and their junk food equivalents. A Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with whipped cream (venti size) from Starbucks has the same amount of sugar as 8½ scoops of Edy’s Slow Churned Rich and Creamy Coffee Ice Cream. Calorie-wise, the picture might look a little different. Still though, that's a lot of sugar.

    Be careful what you drink, boys and girls.

    [via Boing Boing]

  • Iraq and Afghanistan casualities, home and away

    Posted to Mapping  |  Tags:

    In a collaboration between CNN and Stamen Design, Home and Away offers a sobering view into casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, since 2001.

    On the left is a map that shows hometown locations, and on the right is a map of casualty locations. The two maps are linked such that you see where people are from and where they served. Linked filters on the bottom show distributions of age, location, and date. Select or search for an individual to see further details. Friends and family are also able to submit fond memories of fallen loved ones.

    Altogether, the interactive provides a connection between the data and the people behind it. See the full piece on CNN.

  • Current tracks and visualizes memes

    It's not easy keeping up with what's going on around the Web. Trending topic here. Another topic there. Zoe Fraade-Blanar, a graduate student at NYU ITP, hopes to lessen the pain with Current: A News Project.

    Through a combination of data from Google Hot Trends and cross-references via Google News, the last 24 hours of memes are charted over time. The focus is on providing a tool that allows journalists to report news that matters, without sacrificing the reader traffic that comes in for videos of cute puppy dogs.

    News relies on soft stories like horoscopes, celebrity gossip and restaurant reviews to subsidize the important but less sensational stories that keep democracy running. At base, any solution to News’ present problems must address the balance between the hard news we need and the soft news that drives advertising dollars. By visually anthropomorphizing the capricious nature of public attention Current can spotlight these missed opportunities in news coverage.

    It's still rough around the edges, and I'm not really digging the whole amoeba aesthetic, but I could see how this might be useful. Next steps: provide a way to focus on specific topics, incorporate Twitter trends, and smooth out the interaction.

    Try it out for yourself (available for Mac and PC), and toss your thoughts in the comments below.

    [via ReadWriteWeb]

  • Famous science fiction quotes in graph form

    Posted to Miscellaneous

    I'm having more fun putting random stuff into graphs than I care to admit, but it's my prerogative, and I can do what I want, so ha. In something of a Data Underload, special edition, I played with famous science fiction quotes for Sci Fi Wire. My favorite is obviously from Back to the Future, the greatest movie of all time. Check out the rest at Sci Fi.

  • Elastic Lists code open-sourced

    Moritz Stefaner, whose work we've seen a few times here on FD, just released his code for Elastic Lists (in Actionscript).

    For those unfamiliar, Elastic Lists builds on the idea of faceted browsing, which lets you sift through data with multiple filters. Think of when you search for an item on Amazon. In the initial results, filters for price, brand, and category rest in the sidebar. Similarly, Elastic Lists lets you browse data on multiple categories, but with more visual cues and animated transitions.
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  • Instant electric bike and data collector

    When you ride your bicycle around, I bet you always wish for two things. First: "I wish this was electric so that I didn't have to pedal so much." Second: "I wish I could use my bicycle as a data collection device." Well guess what. Your dreams have come true. The Copenhagen Wheel, conceived by the MIT SENSEable City Lab, will do just that. With everything rolled up into one hub, a quick and simple installation turns your plain old bicycle into an electric data collection device.
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  • World atlas of Flickr geotaggers is maptastic

    Posted to Mapping

    In a different look to the let's-map-geotagged-photos idea, photographer Eric Fischer maps picture locations of major cities in the world.

    The maps are ordered by the number of pictures taken in the central cluster of each one. This is a little unfair to aggressively polycentric cities like Tokyo and Los Angeles, which probably get lower placement than they really deserve because there are gaps where no one took any pictures. The central cluster of each map is not necessarily in the center of each image, because the image bounds are chosen to include as many geotagged locations as possible near the central cluster. All the maps are to the same scale, chosen to be just large enough for the central New York cluster to fit.

    Additionally, trace color indicates mode of transportation. Black is walking, red is bicycling, and blue is moving by motor vehicle. From what I gather, photos either come straight from Flickr or a teamed group of people. Unfortunately, that's all I can find though. Some more explanation would probably make these a lot more enjoyable. Nevertheless, they're nice to look at.
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  • Map of where toursists flock

    Posted to Mapping

    Bluemoon Interactive, a small codeshop, maps touristiness, based on uploads to Panoramio, a site where people share photos of their favorite places. Yellow indicates high touristiness, red is medium touristiness, and blue is low touristiness.

    Europe is much brighter than the rest of the world. The coasts of the US has got some brightness, along with Japan and some of the coasts of South America.

    The question is are we really seeing levels of tourism, or are we looking at who uses Panoramio? I'm inclined to say the latter, simply because all of Europe is so crazy bright.

    [via Information is Beautiful]

  • Most influential people on Twitter – Cosmic 140

    Information Architects just released their annual Web Trends Map, but it's not about the subway and URLs this time around. Instead, it focuses on the 140 most influential Twitter users - the Cosmic 140 - based on list volume. Here are your top five:

    1. Barack Obama (@BarackObama)
    2. Lady Gaga (@ladygaga)
    3. CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk)
    4. Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13)
    5. Pete Cashmore (@mashable)

    How about those American values?

    As you can guess from the name, the layout and design revolve around a solar system metaphor. Founders rest in the middle, influential tweeters rest on the outer orbits, and followers are shown with surrounding edges. The longer a person has been a Twitter user, the closer to the middle he, she, or the company appears. The more a person is listed, the larger the white circle, and the more followers, the larger the surrounding transparent circle. Finally, people are placed on the 360° by category (e.g. entertainment or politics).
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  • Data Underload #21: Exit Strategy

    Posted to Data Underload

    If my wife, the physician, has taught me anything, it's that everything that has to do with the human body has a medical term or classification for it - and I mean everything. The other day she came home and asked, "Have you ever heard of the Bristol Stool Chart?" I hadn't, so she described. It's classifications for dootie. I thought it was a joke, but there's a Wikipedia entry for it. Ergo, it must be true.

  • Why context is as important as the data itself

    Posted to Design, Statistics

    John Allen Paulos, a math professor at Temple University, explains, in the New York Times, the importance of the before and after of when you get that data blobby thing in your hands.

    The problem isn’t with statistical tests themselves but with what we do before and after we run them. First, we count if we can, but counting depends a great deal on previous assumptions about categorization. Consider, for example, the number of homeless people in Philadelphia, or the number of battered women in Atlanta, or the number of suicides in Denver. Is someone homeless if he’s unemployed and living with his brother’s family temporarily? Do we require that a women self-identify as battered to count her as such? If a person starts drinking day in and day out after a cancer diagnosis and dies from acute cirrhosis, did he kill himself?

    In a nutshell, statistics is a game of estimation. More often than not, the numbers in front of you aren't an exact count. They could easily change if you shift the criteria of what was counted. As a result, there's always some amount of uncertainty attached to your data, and it's the statistician, analyst, and data scientist's job to minimize that uncertainty.

    So the next time you see a list of rankings like "fattest city" or "dumbest town," don't take it for absolute truth. Instead, think of it as an educated guess. Similarly, when you analyze and visualize, remember the context of your data.

    Catch Paulos' full article here.

  • Fake filming locations of Paramount Studios

    Posted to Mapping

    This might shock you, but many movies are not filmed on location. Yeah. Sometimes they're filmed in completely different countries. Sorry, but it's time you knew. This map from Paramount Studios, produced in 1927, showed investors where movies could shoot, instead of going to the actual places. Does your movie take place in Venice, Italy? No problem, head down to southern California. How about the Mississippi River? Check out the Sacramento River.

    [via A Whole Lotta Nothing]

  • Tour of advanced visualization techniques

    Posted to Visualization

    Jeffrey Heer, Michael Bostock, and Vadim Ogievetsky provide a good overview of some of the more advanced data visualization techniques in ACM Queue:

    This article provides a brief tour through the "visualization zoo," showcasing techniques for visualizing and interacting with diverse data sets. In many situations, simple data graphics will not only suffice, they may also be preferable. Here we focus on a few of the more sophisticated and unusual techniques that deal with complex data sets. After all, you don't go to the zoo to see Chihuahuas and raccoons; you go to admire the majestic polar bear, the graceful zebra, and the terrifying Sumatran tiger.

    You've probably seen many of the techniques they present, such as stacked graphs, small multiples, and arc diagrams, but at the very least you'll get the names and some brief descriptions of what you're looking at, so you don't have to call it the circly-thing-with-curvy-lines graph again.

    Plus most of the examples were made with Protovis, an open-source toolkit for visualization, and you can grab the code to help you with your own visualization project.

    [Thanks, @a_lo]

  • Twitwee the Twitter cuckoo clock

    Posted to Data Art

    I love it when data, or in this case, tweets, finds itself in physical objects. There's no reason data needs to stay plastered on our computer screens. Embed in the physical world as much as possible, I say. Haroon Baig, a communication designer in Germany, uses a clock that he calls Twitwee to cuckoo every time a tweet comes in matching a given query.

    This would get annoying really fast as it is now, but with a more refined filter or event recognition, this could actually be pretty useful.

    See Twitwee in action below.
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  • FlowingData is brought to you by…

    Posted to Sponsors

    My many thanks to the FlowingData sponsors who help keep the gears turning and let me do what I do. Check 'em out. They do data right.

    Tableau Software - Combines data exploration and visual analytics in an easy-to-use data analysis tool you can quickly master. It makes data analysis easy and fun. Customers are working 5 to 20 times faster using Tableau.

    InstantAtlas - Enables information analysts and researchers to create highly-interactive online reporting solutions that combine statistics and map data to improve data visualization, enhance communication, and engage people in more informed decision making.

    Want to sponsor FlowingData? Email me for details.

  • Senate and House races are on

    Posted to Mapping

    I'm not proud of this, but I know very little about what's going on with these 2010 midterm elections. The New York Times just put up their election maps on the race though — for governor, House and Senate seats — so at least you have a way to get informed in a hurry.
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  • HTML5 visualization readiness

    Posted to Software

    Everyone's been bashing Flash lately and holding HTML5 up on a pedestal. This circular graph thing, for example, shows what a combination of HTML5 and CSS3 can do and what features are available in major browsers. That's great and all, but as you can see there are still a lot of holes.

    The most glaringly obvious hole is Internet Explorer - which supports practically nothing. This is nothing new. Anyone who's designed a site to work in all browsers knows this. But as much as you hate Internet Explorer, you're not going to block content for some 80 percent of visitors, right?

    On top of that, Flash provides richer interaction than HTML5 right now, and it's going to be like that for a while. A lot of the work from the New York Times is in Flash. Stamen Design uses Flash. A lot of great work has come out of Flash - not just cruddy MySpace pages.

    Now I'm not saying HTML5 isn't going to be useful. It will be and is in some areas. But in terms of visualization, Flash is still better.

  • Design of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Masterpiece

    Posted to Data Art

    In 1934, American architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed Fallingwater, a house built partly over a waterfall. A couple of years ago, Smithsonian Magazine listed Fallingwater as one of the 28 places to visit before you die. Cristobal Vila, who himself has a knack for pretty things, animates the imaginary design and construction of Wright's famous building.

    Watch it unfold in the animated video below. Warning: after watching, you will have a very strong urge to visit.
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  • Facebook users who don’t know they are sharing

    I'm pretty sure all this Facebook stuff will blow over soon enough. Most people have changed their privacy settings by now. The rest don't really care. Some people though simply have no clue that what they're sharing with their inner circle is out on display for anyone to see. Openbook uses the Facebook search API to show these users. Search for a term or phrase and see the status updates of public profiles.
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