• Ask Me Anything About Data Visualization (in the forums)

    June 9, 2009  |  Forums

    question markDo you have some data on your hands and don't know what to do with it? Are you wondering what the best way to graph a dataset might be? Want some input on stuff you made?

    If you do, I encourage you to post your questions and requests to the FlowingData forums. I get a lot questions via email, but from now on, I'll only answer questions posted there.

    It's not that I don't enjoy all of your emails. I really do. Rather, there's two reasons why I'm making the shift. The first is that it occurred to me that others might be able to learn from my responses, so if someone has a similar question to yours later on, they might be able to find an answer.

    The second reason is that sometimes I don't know the answer (or don't have time to reply). If you ask your question in the forums though, others might be able to help too. I like those odds.

    Share Your Links

    Finally, if you find any interesting data goodies from around the Web, please do post them to the forums. Or if you've just released one of your own projects, you can put it there too. In fact, the forums would be a better place to do it than emailing me. I'm so flooded with email these days (aren't we all?) that it's been hard to keep up.

    Sign Up Now

    Go ahead and register in the forums now if you haven't done that already. It's free, it's easy, and will only take a few seconds.

    Go on now, I'll wait for you...

    Done? Cool. See, I told you it was easy.

  • Designing Interfaces for the Star Ship Enterprise

    June 9, 2009  |  Data Art

    We've all seen the new Star Trek by now. If you haven't, you should. There are amazing visuals throughout, especially on the bridge, where those aboard can just about interact with everything that can be touched. Albeit it's purely fictional and non-functional, but it's good to dream.

    OOOii, the group behind the beautiful board in Minority Report and the immersive technologies in The Island, is responsible for bringing the interfaces in Star Trek to life. Continue Reading

  • World Map of Social Network Dominance

    June 8, 2009  |  Mapping

    Vincenzo Cosenza maps social network dominance around the world according to traffic data from Alexa and Google Trends. We see Facebook has apparently overtaken MySpace in the US along with other countries; Orkut is a favorite in Brazil; the people love QQ in China; and then there are a few smaller networks that most of us have probably never heard of unless we live in the country of dominance.

    It's also worth noting that the map was done with IBM's Many Eyes, so you can interact with the embedded map below. After data culling, the map was probably created in no time.

    I personally don't know anyone who uses anything other than Facebook or LinkedIn. Remember Friendster? People always laugh when I mention it. What do you use?

  • FlowingData Upgrades to WordPress 2.7.1, Plus Threaded Comments

    June 6, 2009  |  Announcements

    I finally upgraded to the most recent WordPress, and everything seems to have succeeded without any hitches. I always get a little nervous when I upgrade. I backup everything nightly, but it's a hassle when something goes cukoo. Please do let me know if you see anything weird.

    Threaded Comments

    One significant change you should notice is threaded comments. You can now directly reply to others' comments at the end of posts. I'm really happy with the results. Your comments add a lot of depth, new ideas, and character to the blog, and now it's that much easier to have a real conversation. Enjoy.

  • Javascript InfoVis Toolkit – New Version Released

    June 5, 2009  |  Software, Visualization

    As we've seen, javascript is growing into a viable solution for visualization on the Web. John Resig ported Processing to javascript about a year ago and we saw some projects in javascript to show off speed in Google Chrome.

    Most recently, Nicolas Garcia Belmonte released version 1.1 of his InfoVis Toolkit, which provides a basic set of tools for creating interactive visualizations on the Web. Continue Reading

  • Rise of the Data Scientist

    June 4, 2009  |  Design, Statistics

    Photo by majamarko

    As we've all read by now, Google's chief economist Hal Varian commented in January that the next sexy job in the next 10 years would be statisticians. Obviously, I whole-heartedly agree. Heck, I'd go a step further and say they're sexy now - mentally and physically.

    However, if you went on to read the rest of Varian's interview, you'd know that by statisticians, he actually meant it as a general title for someone who is able to extract information from large datasets and then present something of use to non-data experts.
    Continue Reading

  • GOOD Magazine’s Infographics Now Archived on Flickr

    June 3, 2009  |  Infographics

    You know all those infographics that you like so much from GOOD Magazine? Well they're all in one place now in their Flickr archive. Head on over to view all 80.

    [Thanks, Amrit]

  • Possible Futures of Twitter Visualized

    June 2, 2009  |  Infographics

    We all know Twitter has taken on a life of its own. With the very open API, Twitter allows developers to create countless applications on top of the service, and the sheer number of users has opened up opportunities in the area of real-time search. Needless to say, Twitter has a lot of opportunities worth considering, and it's possible the service could look very different a year from now (underneath the frontend) as more people adopt and bubbling acquisition rumors perhaps come to fruition. The below flow chart from Steve Rubel shows Twitter's possible future while the above from Brian Solis and Jess3 shows all the spawns of Twitter data.
    Continue Reading

  • Déjà Poo: Turning Wastewater to Nonpotable Water

    June 2, 2009  |  Infographics

    This infographic from Wired explains how Living Machines work to combine waste management and a garden in an office lobby. Honestly, I'm posting this for one reason only. The title is Déjà Poo. Brilliant. Yes. I am that immature.

    This infographic from Wired explains how Living Machines work to combine waste management and a garden in an office lobby. Honestly, I'm posting this for one reason only. The title is Déjà Poo. Brilliant. Yes. I am that immature.

    [via Graphic Sociology]

  • What’s Wrong With this Graphic on the Future of Information?

    June 1, 2009  |  Discussion, Mistaken Data

    Market flow

    This graphic on the history and future of information has been making the rounds. Several people sent it to me a while back, but it didn't seem quite right, so I didn't post it; however, this post from PZ Meyers compelled me to take another look. Meyers says:

    Some days, I think other people must be aliens. Or I must be. For instance, there's a lot of noise right now about this article analyzing the future of information and media that, if you read the comments, you will discover that people are praising to an astonishing degree. I looked at it and saw this graph [above graphic]. And my bullshit detector went insane. It's supposed to be saying something about where people are and will be getting their information, but there's no information about where this information came from, and it's meaningless!

    Yikes. Take out the boxing gloves. Looks like we've got another clash between the technical and the design-ish and mainstream crowds. The comments from both sides are also pretty interesting with one group saying how visually appealing and informative the graphic is with the other group criticizing the graphic for failing in every way.

    Good or Bad?

    Clearly the graphic is not based on any real data or metric. It goes off history and probably a lot of Wikipedia entries, and then shapes and sizes go off feeling. So as an analytical graph, it doesn't work. But what about as an opinion in graph form? Does it work then? What do you think? Is this graphic a crime against all that is good in visualization or does it work for what it was trying to do?

    [Thanks, Patrick]

  • 11 Informative (and Fun) Infographics About Beer

    May 29, 2009  |  Infographics

    It's Friday. It's summer. It's time to relax in the backyard with an ice cold beer in hand. As you consume your beverage, here are 11 infographics about your beer, because the more you know, the more you enjoy. To start things off is a full history of beer (above). Continue Reading

  • Google Analytics Data Made More Informative

    May 28, 2009  |  Statistical Visualization

    goal-tracking

    A large majority of us who have websites use Google Analytics as our traffic monitor, and why not? It's free, it works, and it provides loads of data on traffic, referrals, and our content. We can then make decisions based on that data, but the trouble is there's a fair amount of clicking before we get to the good stuff. Enter Dshbrd by DabbleDB. Yes, that's dashboard with no vowels.

    Taking the Guesswork Out of Analytics

    The DabbleDB folks know data, and Dshbrd is no exception. Using data from your Google Analytics account, Dshbrd analyzes and finds the points of interest - and then shows them to you in a clear and concise way. I've grown incredibly tired of overused sparklines, but Dshbrd uses them well to show traffic trends alongside a vertical stacked area chart. The two are linked such that when you scroll over an event (e.g. rise in referrals from Digg), the area on the stacked chart highlights and vice versa.

    View traffic from site referrals, search engines, and direct links or content popularity, etc. Basically, you can examine all of your analytics data in Dshbrd that you can in Google Analytics but in this new view. It might take a second to get used to time on the vertical axis, but once you get over that, this alternative interface is quite intuitive and more importantly, very useful.

    Now if only DabbleDB would provide a reliable API I would be very happy.

    Premium Analytics

    Ultimately, I'm guessing DabbleDB would want to turn Dshbrd into a fee-based service if it gained enough traction. I personally wouldn't pay for it since I really don't need that much outside the usual Google view, but I could see how Dshbrd could be useful to others. What do you think? Would you pay for this sort of premium view into your Google Analytics data?

  • FlowingPrints: Posterizing the World’s Data, Plus FlowingData Newsletter

    May 27, 2009  |  Announcements, Projects

    For the longest time I've been obsessed with data visualization and infographics in print, specifically posters. Visualization on the Web is great, but there's a limitation with screen real estate, and data in print has always just felt so much sexier. I remember when I was at The Times and I saw my very first graphic online. It was cool, but it was even cooler when I saw it in the paper the next morning.

    Enter the newest and maybe my most favorite FlowingData project - FlowingPrints. Continue Reading

  • Worldwide Obama Buzz Visualized

    May 26, 2009  |  Mapping

    In celebration of Barack Obama's 100th day as the 44th President of the United States, the MIT SENSEable City Lab visualized mobile phone activity during the historic inauguration. What we see is a sense of the worldwide celebration and when and where people traveled to Washington, D.C. to get to the event. They call it Obama | One People. Continue Reading

  • Open Source Data Visualization Framework – Axiis

    May 22, 2009  |  Software, Statistical Visualization

    axiis

    Axiis, an open source data visualization framework in Flex, was released a few days ago under an MIT license. I haven't done much in Flex, but from what I hear, it's relatively easy to pick up. You get a lot of bang out of a few lines of code. Axiis makes things even easier, and provides visualization outside the built in Flex graph packages. Continue Reading

  • POLL RESULTS: What Data-related Area Are You Most Interested In?

    May 22, 2009  |  Polls

    A couple weeks ago I asked you what data-related area you're most interested in. Thanks to the 831 of you who answered. As I expected, FlowingData readers have a wide array of data-related interests.
    Continue Reading

  • Data.gov is Live – Get Your Data While it’s Hot

    May 21, 2009  |  Data Sources

    Big news. Data.gov is now live. Government data is at your fingertips.

    The purpose of Data.gov is to increase public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. Although the initial launch of Data.gov provides a limited portion of the rich variety of Federal datasets presently available, we invite you to actively participate in shaping the future of Data.gov by suggesting additional datasets and site enhancements to provide seamless access and use of your Federal data. Visit today with us, but come back often. With your help, Data.gov will continue to grow and change in the weeks, months, and years ahead.

    I was actually expecting an API of some sort, but it's a searchable catalog that makes it easier to find the datasets scattered across all the U.S. agency sites. I still need to explore more to figure out what exactly is there, but this is big news for data fans. What do you think of the new site? Discuss in the comments below.

    [via infosthetics]

  • Indieprojector Makes it Easy to Map Your Geographical Data

    May 21, 2009  |  Mapping, Online Applications

    Axis Maps recently released indieprojector, a new component to indiemapper, their in-development mapping project to "bring traditional cartography into the 21st century." Indieprojector lets you import KML and shapefiles and easily reproject your data into a selection of popular map projections. No longer do you have to live within the bounds of a map that makes Greenland look the same size as Africa. Continue Reading

  • Offline For a Couple of Days

    May 18, 2009  |  Personal

    Quick announcement: I'm offline for a couple of days to attend my sister's graduation in California (congrats, sis!). Check out the FlowingData archives when you start going through data visualization withdraw. FlowingData will return to regularly scheduled programming on Thursday.

  • Best of FlowingData: May 2009

    May 18, 2009  |  Best of FlowingData

    I know a lot of you are new to FlowingData, so here are some of the most popular posts from the past couple of months in case you missed them:

    1. 27 Visualizations and Infographics to Understand the Financial Crisis
    2. Little Red Riding Hood, the Animated Infographic Story
    3. Pixel City: Computer-generated City
    4. 37 Data-ish Blogs You Should Know About
    5. Maps of the Seven Deadly Sins
    6. Legal Drinking Age Around the World
    7. 17 Ways to Visualize the Twitter Universe
    8. Web Trends Map from Information Architects, 4th edition
    9. Visual Representation of Tabular Information - How to Fix the Uncommunicative Table
    10. AIG Bailout: Where $173 billion Went

    One thing you might have noticed about these top posts is that many of the topics were reader-suggested. Thanks to all of those who've sent me pointers via email and del.icio.us. Keep 'em coming. FlowingData would not be the same without you.

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