A month in the life of personal location and messaging metadata

Posted to Self-surveillance  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

Data researcher and artist Mimi Onuoha looked at the personal location and messaging data from four groups of people in a project called Pathways. It’s less about how much we can find out from a person’s traces and more about what the data doesn’t capture.

The interesting thing about this group was the degree to which their data couldn’t capture the reality of what they were experiencing. I was present for the goodbye their data leads up to, and I witnessed every bit of its difficulty. But data visualizations add a level of abstraction over real world events; they gather the messiness of human life and render it in objective simplicity. In life, goodbyes can be heartbreaking affairs, painful for all involved.

But on a map, a goodbye is as simple as one dot moving out of view.

Favorites

The Changing American Diet

See what we ate on an average day, for the past several decades.

Real Chart Rules to Follow

There are rules—usually for specific chart types meant to be read in a specific way—that you shouldn’t break. When they are, everyone loses. This is that small handful.

Best Data Visualization Projects of 2016

Here are my favorites for the year.

Marrying Age

People get married at various ages, but there are definite trends that vary across demographic groups. What do these trends look like?