• Thank You to FlowingData Sponsors

    Posted to Sponsors

    It's been something like a year and a half now since I started FlowingData. It has grown quite a bit since I was talking only to myself. However, with that growth has come greater (financial) responsibilities while I have remained a poor graduate student. Fortunately, I have these two great sponsors to thank for helping this little blog of mine keep running as well as giving me the chance to give back to all you readers.

    Check these groups out. They are doing amazing things with data.

    Eye-Sys - They make scientific visualization doable and emphasize data exploration. Take a look in case studies for the recent Digg example.

    Tableau Software - It's about statistical visualization for Tableau. Analytics is the name and useful visualization is the game.

  • Sketching Around Personal Brand Tracking

    Posted to Design

    This is a guest post by Miguel Jiménez, a user experience and interaction designer based in Madrid.

    There's a lot of noise today around Personal Branding and constructing your own self as a global brand on a certain topic. It makes complete sense to increase your professional value reflecting on others and using the Internet to build up this reputation. It's said that you should start by creating an online identity, supposedly to reflect your Real World™ one, with an entry point in the form of a blog or similar. That's a nice introduction and it’s quite easy to implement, but the main problem to the process of constructing a self-brand is monitoring and tracking how your efforts perform and the next steps you should take. So let's have a conceptual look and sketch around the statistical data found nowadays in the Internet.
     Continue Reading 

  • Maps for Advocacy – Beginner’s Guide to Mapping

    Posted to Mapping

    In a follow up to Visualizing Information for Advocacy, the Tactical Technology Collective recently announced Maps for Advocacy: An Introduction to Geographical Mapping Techniques.

    The booklet is an effective guide to using maps in advocacy. The mapping process for advocacy is explained vividly through case studies, descriptions of procedures and methods, a review of data sources as well as a glossary of mapping terminology. Scattered through the booklet are links to websites which afford a glance at a few prolific mapping efforts.

    While the example maps look very Googley and won't impress too many in the online mapping world, there are still some good links in there for data resources, terminology, and how maps play a role in displaying information.

  • We Don’t Know Jack About the World – Alisa Miller TED Talk

    Posted to Mapping

    Alisa Miller, President and CEO of Public Radio International, enlightens us on how little U.S. news coverage there is on the rest of the world. How does she do this? She uses maps of course. Miller uses visualization to tell a (short) story. She shows us all the coverage on Iraq and the lack of coverage on all other countries, which is practically nothing.

    The name of this type of morphed map escapes me right now. Maybe someone can remind me?

    [Thanks, Jodi]

  • 3 Applications that Tap Into the Wisdom of Crowds

    James Surowiecki writes in The Wisdom of Crowds that the group is smarter than the individual (under four conditions). Essentially, the premise is that if you get enough different people to work on a single problem independently, you're going to get as good or better results than that of a small group of experts working together. Think of it as advanced crowdsourcing.

    These three applications tap into the wisdom of crowds. It's clearly election season.
     Continue Reading 

  • If You Could Track Anything, What Would You Track?

    It's about time we had a FlowingData open thread. We've seen that there are plenty of tools to monitor different aspects of our lives, but I'm wondering if they are tools people actually want or if they are tools that are just easy to make. So my question to all of you is:

    If you could track/monitor anything in your life, what would you track?

    Disregard whether or not the technology is there or any of those gross technical details. Assume anything is possible.

    I'll get things started. I want to know how I spend every minute of my life. Not just on the computer. I want to know how much time I spend watching TV, going out, exercising, walking, sitting, driving, waiting, and eating. Everything.

  • Caption Contest Winner is…

    Posted to Contests

    While we're on the subject of contests, lets not forget the epic battle for best caption. Thank you to everyone who participated. All the entries were great and really entertaining, but unfortunately, there could only be one winner. The winner of Stephen Baker's The Numerati is – Mike for his caption (above), "Severity of Crash vs. Length of Ramp." Congratulations, Mike! Expect an email from me soon. (Ricardo, if it's any consolation, my wife liked yours the best :).

    I put a little something together for everyone else. For everyone who entered – this is for you. I hope you all like it. The darker ones are the honorable mentions.


    Click on image for full version.

    Please do let me know if I mistyped or accidentally left anyone out. Thanks again, everyone for participating. I hope you were all entertained as much as me.

  • Winners of NSF Visualization Challenge 2008 Announced

    Posted to Visualization

    Remember the NSF visualization challenge announced at the beginning of this year? Nine months have come and gone, and the winners (and several honorable mentions), from five categories, were announced today. Above is Life in a Biofilm, which won honorable mention in the Informational Graphics category, by Andrew Dopheide and Gillian Lewis from University of Auckland.
     Continue Reading 

  • Doodle Your Way Through the News – DoodleBuzz

    Posted to Data Art

    I feel like I've been seeing and writing a lot about artistic visualization lately. Maybe it's because summer's ending and all the designers are finishing up their side projects. I dunno. In any case, Brendan Dawes provides you with a way to explore the news by doodling and scribbling. The piece is called DoodleBuzz. Type in a search term and then start doodling. News results (via the Daylife API) shoot off whatever path you draw.

    DoodleBuzz spawned from Brendan's desire to browse the news in a way that was completely different from the usual top-down scrolling we're used to seeing on the Web:

    DoodleBuzz was born out of an idea to create an entirely new way of exploring information - one that allows for a kind of "quiet chaos" that gives people the opportunity to explore unthought of paths and connections along their news gathering journey. You may start at Iraq but end up finishing on Britney, whilst taking in The Catholic Church, Global Warming and 50 Cent.

    I don't know about you, but the "quiet chaos" gave me a small headache. What do you think? Go try it and let us know what you think in the comments.

    [via Data Mining]

  • Have You Registered to Vote Yet?

    PhD Comics has grown to be my favorite comic of the moment. It's unbelievable how much I relate to all of it. I am not alone. Anyways, have you registered to vote yet? If not, get on it!

  • Visualization Workshop in Madrid – Database City

    Posted to Data Art

    It's hard to believe that it's been almost a year since I was in Madrid at the Medialab-Prado for the Visualizar workshop. It was a two-week event where designers from all around got together and created projects focused on data. There was a wide variety of data-centric projects on Twitter, email, art, spam, and traffic (above). I worked with migration data. It was also a pretty diverse group – computer science, graphic design, and of course, me, the token statistician.

    Call for Projects and Papers

    Now it's time for Visualizar 2008: Database City. There's an open call for projects and papers with the idea of a database city. Imagine a city where there are displays that show energy consumption, pollution, or carbon footprint. What would that city look like? Would we act differently with that type of information right in front of us?

    From the Visualizar page:

    Urban environments, which are becoming increasingly dense, complex and diverse, are one of contemporary society’s largest "databases", daily generating volumes of information that require new methods of analysis and understanding.

    How can we use the data visualization and information design resources to understand the processes governing contemporary cities and better manage them? What can we learn from studying traffic and pedestrian movement flows through the streets of Madrid? What would happen if we filled the streets with screens providing information updated each moment about water and electricity consumption?

    Important Dates

    This year's workshop is also two weeks long from November 5 - 18 and no doubt you will learn a lot. The Medialab-Prado offers housing to participants at a youth hostel and will also consider covering traveling expenses on a case-by-case basis. Submission deadline is October 5.

  • Beautiful Generative Computer Art – Metamorphosis

    Posted to Data Art

    Glenn Marshall has released his finished version of Metamorphosis, a beautiful piece of computer generative art programmed in Processing. I wish I knew a bit more about what I was seeing, but I can only guess that the branches and butterflies follow certain laws of nature and rules defined by the music (I hope). Nevertheless, it's beautiful. Here's the video below, but go to Vimeo to watch the video in all it's HD glory.
     Continue Reading 

  • Write a Guest Post on FlowingData

    Posted to Site News

    I'm headed to Chicago next week for Wired Magazine's NextFest, "a premier showcase of the global innovations transforming our world." So if you happen to be there, come find me and what I've been busy working on the past few weeks – the Personal Environmental Impact Report - or PEIR for short.

    Guest Post on FlowingData

    I'll most likely be blogging and twittering the event, but what better time to get some different points of view from all of you? If you'd like to write a guest post, just email me your writeup by the end of this weekend with text (and images if you have them). I can't guarantee I'll put it up, but there's a good chance I will. Last time I asked for guest posts, I put up all of them.

    What I'm Not Looking For

    I'm pretty open to any ideas related to data, statistics, and visualization. What I'm not interested in is self-promoting posts. It's OK if you link to something, but it should be relevant. Plus, I'll link to you anyways at the beginning of your guest post. Your content also has to be original - so no posts that you've already published on your own blog or somewhere else.

    Yup, that's it. So if you've got something cool to talk about, send it my way. I'm looking forward to all of your interesting submissions.

  • maeve Installation Shows Relationships Between Projects

    The Interface Design Team at the University of Potsdam revealed maeve last week. It's an installation that lets users place physical project cards on an interactive surface and see the relationships between those projects. Move cards over the surface and the network relationships (e.g. inspired by, social relation) follow. The more cards that you throw on, the more relationships that form.

    Here's the demo video:

    Pretty. I would love to have one of these as my coffee table (sort of like the Microsoft one).

    [Thanks, Moritz]

  • Pie I Have Eaten and Pie I Have Not Eaten

    Posted to Miscellaneous

    Gotta love Fridays. Have a good weekend everyone. Go have yourself a slice of pie.

    [via Zoomdoggle | Thanks, Canna]

  • Caption Contest – Win The Numerati by Stephen Baker

    Posted to Contests

    As promised, it's time for a FlowingData contest. To the winner goes The Numerati by Stephen Baker, a book about how data play a huge role in our future. Indeed, it does. Stephen also keeps an interesting blog, and I encourage you to check it out.

    How to Win a Free Book

    It's easy. Write a caption for the above graph and leave it in the comments below. Whoever comes up with the best caption by the end of 11:59pm on Sunday wins. By best, I mean whichever I find the most amusing or clever. For example – "drunkeness vs stupidity" or "The more I eat per day the fatter I will get." You get the idea. I'm sure you all can come up with something much better.

    I'm making it one entry per person, so make it a good one, and make sure you use a valid email so that I can contact you if you win.

    Good luck! I'm looking forward to what you all come up with.

  • FlowingData Welcomes Tableau Software

    Posted to Site News

    I'm pleased to welcome Tableau Software as FlowingData's newest sponsor. I know that a lot of you already use Tableau for your data visualization and analysis needs, but for those of you who haven't heard of it, Tableau is a tool that aims to make "databases and spreadsheets understandable to ordinary people" with an emphasis on statistical visualization and visual analysis.

    One of the co-founders is actually one of the founding members of Pixar, believe it or not. I don't know about you, but that has awesome written all over it. Check it out for yourself and sharpen your visualization skills (hint) for the next FlowingData deconstruct/reconstruct project. Thanks, Tableau!

  • Art of Mathematics – Visualization of Dynamical Systems

    Posted to Data Art

    Dynamical systems are mathematical models used to describe the time-dependent position of a point's position in ambient space. For example, a dynamical system could be used to describe the movement of a swinging pendulum. The way the pendulum moves is based on the laws of physics, but trajectory, velocity, acceleration, etc changes over time. Over at the University of Liverpool is a series of visualizations by mathematicians around the world that shows such dynamical systems.

    Lasse Rempe, a mathematician, describes the beauty of these visualization in this video on the BBC. Many more beautiful pieces in the video and explanation of the underlying structures.

  • Tree Map to Show Losses by Major Companies

    Posted to Infographics

    Taking after Map of the Market, the New York Times uses tree maps to show a year of heavy losses by major companies. It's a pretty sad state of affairs. Content aside though, this is certainly one of the reasons the Times is so popular among the infographics crowd. Data visualization isn't just bar graphs and time series plots.
     Continue Reading 

  • How Consumers Around the World Spend Their Money

    Posted to Infographics

    This pseudo-map graphic from The New York Times shows how consumers in different countries spend their money. Squares represent selected countries and are sized and colored according to spending in 2007. As you might expect, the United States does some heavy spending on clothing and footwear.

    Does the graphic remind you of anything? The Times put up a different pseudo-map in force-directed graph format for the olympic medals. What do you prefer – pseudo-map or traditional?