It was another interesting and sometimes exciting year for FlowingData. To think, I was beaming when there were 7,000 of you at the beginning of 2009. Now there's almost four times that many of you, just over 26k. It's crazy. I'm scared. Hold me.
You know when you go to another country and have no clue what the coins of the local currency are worth? I always end up with a giant handful of international coins, which doesn't go well when I try to spend a Euro in Canada. The US vending machine won't take my Canadian quarters either, or my pesos. Continue Reading
It was a huge year for data. There's no denying it. Data is about to explode.
Applications sprung up left and right that help you understand your data - your Web traffic, your finances, and your life. There are now online marketplaces that sell data as files or via API. Data.gov launched to provide the public with usable, machine-readable data on a national scale. State and local governments followed, and data availability expands every day.
At the same time, there are now tons of tools that you can use to visualize your data. It's not just Excel anymore, and a lot of it is browser-based. Some of the tools even have aesthetics to boot.
your.flowingdata got a couple of cool updates recently. One is based on your interactions with others on Twitter and the other helps you find relationships in your actions.
The first is the Twitter Mentionmap created by Daniel McLaren. It's a network visualization (above) that lets you explore how you (or other Twitter users) interact with others.
It's not focused on the data that many of you are used to seeing on YFD, but it's always been my plan to bring in other data sources. So when I saw Daniel post the original Mentionmap, I jumped at the chance to get a version for YFD. It seemed like a good first step to branching out. Get it? Network, branching out. Oh nevermind.
By the way, Daniel used his constellation framework to build this. It's called asterisq. It's worth a look if you're looking to visualize network data. Daniel can also help you with customization and design. Continue Reading
I bet you wake up every morning wishing, "I wish there was an easier way to decide what cereal to eat! There's so so many choices that I get a headache just thinking about it." Well say goodbye to headaches. You wish is now reality. From Eating the Road is this flowchart to help you figure out life's greatest challenge: what cereal to eat.
The end of 2009 is looming, and it's about time to make this year's picks for best visualizations. I was sifting through the archives the other day. The selection is going to be tough. I need your help.
What was the best visualization of 2009?
It can be something I've posted or not; it can be serious or humorous; interactive or for print; art or analytical; map or chart. To jog your memory, here is some of the visualization stuff we've seen this year, and here are my picks for last year for reference.
What if you could see all the individual bits of information scattered across the Web in one view and then interact with it in a meaningful way? This is what Microsoft Live Labs' new Pivot experiment tries to do.
Pivot makes it easier to interact with massive amounts of data in ways that are powerful, informative, and fun. We tried to step back and design an interaction model that accommodates the complexity and scale of information rather than the traditional structure of the Web.
The goal is to let users make connections between pages, data points, photos, etc that go beyond links, with what the developers call collections. The below video is a demonstration and explanation:
Pivot's ability to display lots of thumbnails and then reorganize and zoom in on them is the tool's foundation. The transition between each view involves a flutter of thumbnails, which sort of provides a link between data arrangements. The browsing behavior looks a lot like that of Photosynth, a Live Labs project that lets you browse giant bundles of photos.
Jeffrey Heer et. al. wrote a paper on these transitions a while back. I can't really say whether it works or not. I suspect it's more about a fun factor once you get into higher volumes of data than it is about making connections. That's not to say it's not important, of course. After all, most of the Web is about entertainment in some form or another.
All in all, it's an interesting concept, and it will be fun to see where the Live Labs team takes the project.
Pivot is currently by invitation only, but I have a handful of invites (10 to be exact) for you guys. Download Pivot from here, and then use this activation code: 3C5D 19BD B7DA 3186. Come back here and let us know what you think in the comments.
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). Continue Reading
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. Continue Reading
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.
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. Continue Reading
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.
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.
You can customize graphics in R with par(), but the docs are mostly text and just organized alphabetically. Here is a more visual reference, categorized by what you can change. Plus, a one-page printout.
Before you can do anything with data, you have to get it into the application. Working with an Arduino is no different. Although the process is changes, if you're used to working with desktop software.
Geographic data is often available as a shapefile, and there's plenty of heavy software to get that data in a map. R is an open source option, and as a bonus, much of the work can be done in a few lines of code.