• Visualizing the United States Power Grid

    April 28, 2009  |  Mapping

    NPR provides an in depth view of the U.S. electric grid, exploring the network, power sources, and where in the country power is coming from:

    The U.S. electric grid is a complex network of independently owned and operated power plants and transmission lines. Aging infrastructure, combined with a rise in domestic electricity consumption, has forced experts to critically examine the status and health of the nation's electrical systems.

    The above is a view of the grid; below is a view of nuclear and solar energy across the country.
    Continue Reading

  • Turning Statistics Into Knowledge – 3 Days Left to Sign Up

    April 27, 2009  |  News

    The US Census Bureau, World Bank, and OECD have organized a seminar to discuss innovations in visualization and blossoming Web technologies to disperse the stories in data. Innovative Approaches to Turn Statistics into Knowledge will be held July 15-16, 2009 in Washington, D.C.

    While dynamic graphics and communication tools are at the heart of the seminar, we also want to focus on a broader range of tools. The seminar will also include the use of videos, as explored by GapMinder and others, and participative approaches, as seen in some web 2.0 initiatives; and – although innovative tools are themselves of great interest, and worthy of being presented at the seminar – the focus of the seminar will be on innovative applications of tools, for example, so-called story-telling applications.

    With participants [pdf] from all over the world and major organizations, and no registration fee, the seminar looks promising. Hurry though, there are only three days left to sign up. The deadline is April 30.

  • A Couple New Looks for Google News

    April 27, 2009  |  Online Applications, Visualization

    The ever popular newsmap (above), a tree map view of Google News, got a facelift a few days weeks ago. Markos Wekamp, the creator, has changed to a rectangularized tree map layout to display headlines more completely, search as you type, and deep linking. Markos also brings the brightness down a notch from that of the original, which I like. It's easier on the eyes.

    Earlier last week, Google released its own alternative news view with News Timeline. The interface lets you search the news, blogs, etc and results are displayed in a timeline format. Show by day, month, year, and decade.

    The jury is still out on whether the timeline is an improvement over regular search listings. What do you think? How about versus the New York Times article skimmer?

    [via infosthetics & Google News Blog & Newsmap Blog]

  • Twitter’s Creative Director on Why He Left Google

    April 25, 2009  |  Quotes

    I'm thankful for the opportunity I had to work at Google. I learned more than I thought I would. I'll miss the free food. I'll miss the occasional massage. I'll miss the authors, politicians, and celebrities that come to speak or perform. I'll miss early chances to play with cool toys before they're released to the public. Most of all, I'll miss working with the incredibly smart and talented people I got to know there. But I won't miss a design philosophy that lives or dies strictly by the sword of data.

    — Douglas Bowman, Goodbye, Google, March 2009

    I feel like I've been hearing a lot of this type of stuff recently. Just yesterday, while watching NBA playoff commentary, someone stated that future Detroit Lions quarterback, Matthew Stafford, had something like a 1 in 4 chance of success in the NFL. Charles Barkeley replied that sometimes you gotta forget about stats and just go, or something to that effect. Oddly enough, I agree.

    [via TechCrunch]

    UPDATE: Kevin Fox, (formerly) senior user experience design lead at Google, responded to Bowman's post: "I don't think Google had to be a bad fit for you, but that you were put in to the wrong role." [Thanks, David]

  • How Long Will the World’s Natural Resources Last?

    April 24, 2009  |  Infographics

    natural-resources

    This graphic from New Scientist shows when certain natural resources will run out in the world if we continue at the current consumption rate. However, reader beware, this graphic feels more like eye candy than real data. I'm no ecologist, but something about these numbers doesn't seem quite right. Completely out of gold in the entire world in 45 years? No more indium (for LCDs) in 13 years? I don't quite get the comparison between world consumption rate vs half of the US consumption rate. Why half? Again, I'm no ecologist, so maybe this is totally normal. I dunno. Maybe someone who knows better than me can chime in here.

    Data assumptions aside, the design is interesting. A little scattered - but interesting. Can you think of some ways to make this graphic more informative?

  • What If We Were a World of Doers?

    April 24, 2009  |  Miscellaneous

    What exactly is a doer? Feeling much like a segment on Sesame Street, this ad from Honda explains, "Well, doers do things. Things to move us forward, to make stuff better." The ad (below) goes on to imagine a world where people and companies are doers who take an active role in making environmentally conscious decisions.

    [via Cool Infographics]

  • Visual Guides to the World of Street Vendors

    April 23, 2009  |  Infographics

    There are over 10,000 street vendors in New York City. But how much do you know about them? The Street Vendor Project, in collaboration with the Center for Urban Pedagogy and Candy Chang, provide a visual guide [pdf] in an effort to show the world of street vendors. Wow, that sentence had a lot of interesting names in it. Um, sorry, I digress.

    The guide briefly explains vendor regulations, rights, and what a better system might look like - and with an average $14,000 salary, there's certainly room for improvement. There is also a bit of history and demographics with business that began as pushcarts (e.g. Bloomingdale's) and now celebrities (e.g. Jerry Seinfeld) who at one time or another were street vendors.

    There is also a second guide [pdf] for the street vendors themselves. Make sure you take a picture of that smiley, abusive policeman.

    [via New York Times]

  • Narrow-minded Data Visualization

    April 22, 2009  |  Statistics

    I was going to let this one slide, but people kept commenting, essentially trashing FlowingData, and that's just not cool. As you might recall, I put in my picks for the best data visualization projects of 2008 a while back. They were the fine work of statisticians, designers, and computer scientists, all of them beautiful, and all of them built to tell an interesting story with the dataset at hand. None of them were traditional graphs or charts.
    Continue Reading

  • Visual Representation of Tabular Information – How to Fix the Uncommunicative Table

    April 21, 2009  |  Network Visualization

    This is a guest post by Martin Krzywinski who develops Circos, a GPL-licensed (free) visualization tool that can help you show relationships in data. This article is based on a longer writeup which you can find here.

    Suppose that you are reading an article and the text refers you to a table on the next page. Before you turn the page, what are your expectations of the table? Chances are, you would like it to communicate trends and patterns. Chances are, too, that it will fail and simply deliver numerical minutiae. You are left hunting around the numbers for a while, only to return to the text in hopes that the table's data trends will be communicated elsewhere.
    Continue Reading

  • Jobs Vanish Across Our Country

    April 20, 2009  |  Mapping

    As a nation, we gained jobs every month during 2007 compared to the same month one year before. However, since July of 2008, we've seen a loss in jobs nationwide, and up until Februrary of this year, it's gotten worse every month. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the recession has claimed more than 5 million jobs. This interactive map from Slate Magazine says it all.

    [Thanks, @jaybol and @barr]

  • ‘I Love Charts’ from Sid the Science Kid

    April 17, 2009  |  Miscellaneous

    It's good to see PBS is teaching strong values to grow up with with Sid the Science Kid and this lovely chart song (below). A chart is a handy dandy scientific tool...it gives you information that you can see with your eyes...a chart that you visualize...you get the picture... so do I... Best kid song ever.

    Have a nice weekend all.

    [via infosthetics | Thanks, Nick]

  • Thank You, FlowingData Sponsors

    April 17, 2009  |  Sponsors

    FlowingData continues to grow at a faster and faster rate each month, and I have you, FD reader, to thank. Thank you for emailing your friends, tweeting and retweeting posts, sharing via Digg, del.icio.us, Facebook, etc, and sending in post suggestions. FlowingData would not be the same without you and not nearly as interesting.

    I'd also like to thank FlowingData sponsors who help me keep this little ol' blog of mine running smoothly. Contrary to popular belief, FlowingData isn't a big design firm or even a group of people. I'm just one graduate student trying to finish a dissertation, and FlowingData would not be possible without the sponsors. I hope you will help me thank them by checking out the visualization tools they have to offer.

    IDV Solutions — Create interactive, map-based, enterprise mashups in SharePoint.

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

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

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

    Eye-Sys — Comprehensive real-time 3D visualization. Their gallery section in particular is quite impressive.

    SiSense — Easy-to-use reporting and analysis. No code required and directly connects to Excel, CSV files, SQL, MySQL, Oracle and SQL Analysis Services

    If you'd like to sponsor FlowingData, please feel free to email me, and I'll get back to you with the details.

  • Visualize This: Days Spent Working to Pay Taxes

    April 16, 2009  |  Visualize This

    It's time for another segment of Visualize This. For new readers, this is something I've been running every now and then where I post a dataset and we all put up our own visualizations. It runs for a couple of weeks and we end up with many different views of the data, some inspiration, and we learn something in the process.

    The Data

    About 28.2% of the average American's income goes towards taxes, which means the first 103 days of the year is to pay for government. At the end of these 103 days - April 13 - is Tax Freedom Day. However, because of varying state-by-state tax burdens and average incomes, Tax Freedom Day varies by state. Alaska, for example, has the earliest Tax Freedom Day (March 23) because it has low state and local taxes while Connecticut is last on April 30, because of "extraordinarily high federal income taxes." For this Visualize This we're looking at the number of days each state spends paying taxes this year (2009).

    Your Mission

    As with previous Visualize This segments, show us your best shot at visualizing the Tax Freedom Day data in this forum thread. I've put the data in an Excel spreadsheet that you can find at the bottom of the forum post. You are welcome to incorporate any other data too if you feel that it adds to the story.

    Map? Graphs? Both? Let's see what you've got. Oh, and most importantly, have fun. If you haven't registered a (free) forum account, you'll want to do that first.

    DEADLINE: April 30, 2009

    [Thanks, Alex]

  • Creating a World in Holograms

    April 15, 2009  |  Data Art

    This holographic video by Bruce Branit is completely fictional but oh so sexy. Can you imagine a digital world at that level of interaction - where just about anything and everything is at your finger tips? It's good to dream.

    [via infosthetics]

  • Millions of Money-in-Politics Data Records Now Available

    April 15, 2009  |  Data Sources

    The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), a research group well-known for its tracking of monetary influence on United States politics, announced some great news. Their expansive dataset is now available to the public via OpenSecrets.

    Politicians, prepare yourselves. Lobbyists, look out. Today the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics is putting 200 million data records from the watchdog group's archive directly into the hands of citizens, activists, journalists and anyone else interested in following the money in U.S. politics.

    Yeah, 200 million data records. Correction. 200 million cleaned, formatted, and documented data records. Awesome. They've got data on campaign finances, lobbying, personal finances, and 527 organizations, which can be downloaded as CSV files or via the RESTful API. Let the mashups begin.

    [via Ben Fry | Thanks, Gegtik]

  • Demographics in World of 100

    April 14, 2009  |  Infographics

    Designers seem to have taken a liking to the idea of showing world statistics as a village of 100. For example, if the world were a village of 100 people, 48 of them would be men. While we're essentially just looking at percentages, the village metaphor seems to do a better job at humanizing the numbers. Along the same lines, this poster series from Tony Ng, World of 100, uses simple graphics to relate to demographics like money, food, and computers:

    This is a self-initiated project based on the scenario – If the world were a village of 100 people. There are a few different versions of this text in circulation about the world’s statistics. I found the data very striking and neatly summarises the world that we live in. So I used information graphics to re-tell the story in another creative way.

    A few of the graphics seem kind of random, but hey, it's amusing.

    [via The Daily Dish]

  • Geography of Buzz In Los Angeles and New York

    April 13, 2009  |  Mapping

    Elizabeth Currid (USC) and Sarah Williams (Columbia University), collaborate to map the geography of buzz in Los Angeles (above) and New York (below). The two researchers mined thousands of photos from Getty Images which provided a dataset of parties in art, music, fashion, movies, film, etc and created density maps which in turn show the hip places to be.
    Continue Reading

  • Campaign Contributions to the 110th Congress

    April 10, 2009  |  Network Visualization

    This network graph shows common contributions between representatives in Congress:

    A relationship exists between two elements in the visual if they share a relationship with at least one member of the other group. For instance, both Bernie Sanders and Sam Brownback received campaign contributions from the the National Association of Realtors.

    Line thickness represents number of shared relationships; and color represents Democrat to Democrat, Republican to Republican, and cross-party connections. There's a zoomable version, but like a lot of network stuff it still feels cluttered. I'm sure some node interaction goodness would do this some good.

    [Thanks, @mrflip]

  • Zappos Maps Sales in Real-time

    April 9, 2009  |  Mapping

    Zappos, the online shoe retailer, maps sales across the United States in real-time. We've seen this before in Twittervision and other Google Maps mashups, but the difference here is that every shoe that pops on the map is cash in the bank. Keep that in mind, and this mashup takes on whole new meaning. Disregard the bug that doesn't reposition markers on zoom.

    [Thanks, @noahharlan]

  • Web Trends Map from Information Architects, 4th edition

    April 7, 2009  |  Data Art

    Information Architects, a design firm with offices in Japan and Zurich, release their annual web trends map. This is the fourth one in the series. Popular domains on the Web are mapped to the Tokyo Metro and organized by how they are most related to the cities. Heights represent success in traffic and branding. Subway lines are colored by area of interest. For example, take the orange line to find the creatives. Notice that there are several colors passing through Apple.

    Here's the high-res zoomable version. Go full-screen for the full effect.

    While the map would mean a lot more to me if I lived in Tokyo, the designers obviously have taken great care to cover the details, and that's something I can appreciate.

    [via TechCrunch | Thanks, Pavan and Max]

Unless otherwise noted, graphics and words by me are licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC. Contact original authors for everything else.