Category Archives: InfoVis

Holiday InfoVis

I haven’t posted in a while. I could blame the Christmas holidays, but in actuality I’ve been quite sick with a really bad head cold. Still not 100%, but I’m determined to start attacking the large list of things I want to do. Tasks that either I have got directly from LYL or have been inspired by LYL.

In the meantime, I’ve still been collecting various interesting pieces of InfoVis.


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Time Use Simulation is animated simulation of how Americans spend their day. It has the time of day displayed and various markers move between work, school, sleep etc. to represent what people are doing at that time of day.



Flowing Data is repository for all sorts of interesting InfoVis. It has an extensive library as well as offering courses on InfoVis.


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Pi Day: pi transformed into incredible art is an article of The Guardian website where various artists have created visualisations based on the number pi.


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Coming Together is an interactive visualisation of the metros areas throughout the world of over 1 millions people since 1950.


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The Fallen of World War II is an excellent narrated animated video visualising the deaths of World War II. I certainly gained insight from this video. I highly recommend it.


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The comings and goings of unemployment and inflation since 2002 is a graph of the economic situation in Brazil over the last two presidents, Lula and Dilma. What started with the hope of Lula has descended into the despair of Dilma’s second term. This graph is in Portuguese, but to understand it all you need to know is that inflação = inflation, and desemprego = unemployment.


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A Guide to Who Is Fighting Whom in Syria is a fairly simple table outlining a fairly complicated situation.

More InfoVis

This blog is supposed to be about me (I think), but it’s a good place to put all the interesting InfoVis stuff I find.

Last night I discovered that Reddit has an InfoVis thread… . Here are some the things I discovered.

Roads to Rome is a project which maps all the roads in Europe that lead to Rome. It has then done similar treatments for places called Rome in the US, and then US state capitals and European national capitals. There is a section on the internal workings of cities, and surprisingly it shows that inner London has a fairly efficient road system to find a fairly direct (if not rapid) route.

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Viktor Bohush has put some interesting animated graphs on YouTube about various computer platform usage over the years. The example below is a screen shot from desktop browser market share.

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An analysis of the scores on the quiz show QI, and the contestants who have appeared 3 or more times. The graph shows that Sue Perkins is the worst scoring contestant and Vic Reeves is the best.


An infographic called “A world of languages” which graphs all the mother tongues in the world and the countries in which they are spoken. I’ve seen this graphic before and I really like it. But it’s not perfect, as the comments before point out, if you look at the area of German, where is Austria etc. Below is just a preview, click the link see the whole thing.

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A Time Lapse Map of Every Nuclear Explosion Since 1945 by Isao Hashimoto is an animated map. Below is a screenshot. Click on the link to see the whole thing.

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pictoline is a Mexican twitter page (in Spanish) which has some excellent infographics, both static and animated gifs.


Big Bang Data

Yesterday I went to an exhibition in Somerset House (London) called Big Bang Data. Highlighting the ways, technically and especially artistic, that the volumes of data that are collected can be represented. Here are a few highlights, and lots of text panels, which I have transcribed.


Today we live in the Digital Age and the amount of data we produce grows exponentially. The increasing proliferation of sensors and smart devices, as well as our everyday online activity, has lead to a massive explosion – a ‘Big Bang’ – of data. This radical shift in volume, variety and speed of data being produced, combined with new techniques for storage, access and analysis, is what defines Big Data. It is radically reshaping our world and is set to revolutionise everything we do.

Big Data can mean new ways of doing things, from scientific research to business strategy, politics to social interaction. We are witnessing a fundamental transition to a new data-driven society that has the potential to be more fair, stable, and efficient. But it can also be wielded as a means of unprecedented mass surveillance and as a tool of commodification. Data access and usage rights, along with the value they comprise, are at the heart of many concerns.


The year 2002 represented a turning point in data. For the first time, we had more information stored in digital forms than analogue. By 2007, 94% of the total global information was digitally coded information.

Every day we create some 2.5 trillion bytes of data. This data is generated everywhere, such as messages, photographs and videos on social networks, records of shopping transactions and the GPS signal of our mobile phones.

This accumulation of data in unprecedented volumes opened the Big Data era.


Data Universe – Immersed in the Tsunami
The term ‘information explosion’ has been in use since the 1960s, so the idea that we are living in the wake of a major data surge is not new. Even so, the quantity of data we are capable of producing, transmitting and storing has accelerated exponentially and is now comminly referred to as a ‘tsunami’. An incredible 90% of the data in the world today was created in the last two years alone. This data is coming from an endless list of sources as the world functions more and more through digital means. Climate sensors, social media sites, online banks and mobile phone signals were just the start of the 2.5 quintillion bytes of data we produced every day in 2012.

Having access to this extensive amount of digital information presents an unprecedented opportunity to do things differently. An abundance of valuable knowledge lies within the information produced by Big Data. This can be used to great effect if we know how to retain, process, and understand it. It can improve efficiency, resolve problems and reveal the world in a completely new light.

I took photos of some of the exhibits as well (not just text panels). This is various sets of data represented on globes.


This is a graphic representing the various groups of people that were killed in the Iraq conflict. The square on the right has deaths ordered chronologically, the one on the left by type. It shows how data can be obscured/revealed by different representations.


This is the famous pie charts, showing deaths in the Crimea, drawn by Florence Nightingale and presented to a parliamentary committee that I talked about in a previous post.



Data for the common good – Towards a critical and participatory culture
Data can be a force for good – for us and our society; we can use it as a tool for positive social, environmental and political change. Through the creative communication of data, designers, journalists and activists can raise awareness of controversial issues and events in impactful and immediate ways. The emergence of data-driven collaborative platforms has also facilitated the sharing of knowledge, making new forms of scientific research and design possible. In a movement to give more power to the citizen, pressure has been put on government bodies to open up data sets and increase transparency, while new tools have been developed to enable direct citizen engagement in the democratic process. Some designers are also asking how we might change the conversation around data, taking control of the information we produce and sharing it for ourselves.

How Complex Are Corporate Structures uses data to visualise linkages between multinational companies.
Using this screen as an example, it shows Goldman Sachs has way more dealings in the Cayman Islands than the United States. Obviously something dodgy going on there.

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Fix My Street is a map-based fault-reporting website. It was set up on an iPad at the exhibition so I entered details for a problem on my high street. I immediately got the response that my local council won’t heed problems reported by this website. Not the website’s problem I suspect, but my local council’s desire to do nothing.


Black Shoals; Dark Matter was a real-time representation of the financial markets as projected as a field of stars on a planetarium style screen above the viewer. This is a video I took. It was very pretty.


What data cannot tell – The tyranny of data-centrism
Using data as a tool to understand and interpret the world opens up many possibilities, but also involves a number of risks. The so-called ‘data-centrism’ encourage the idea that whatever the problem, the answer lies in data. But numbers do not always reveal the whole truth and they can be manipulated and skewed to tell a particular story. By concentrating on data alone, we also ignore the fact that our society can thrive on more disordered mechanisms such as negotiation and debate. Although data can help us understand the world in important new ways, it must always leave room for subjectivity and ambiguity.

And then there was the shop at the end. Here you could buy a home DNA testing kit. I took this photo because I liked the logo.


Also available was a very small, wearable camera. To document your every move.


All in all, a very good exhibition.

Data at TEDx


TEDxSquareMile2015 was held at the Cass Business School of City University. I mention this because I realised that I had attended City University earlier in this year on an Advanced Javascript short course.

This was my second TEDx, and as before the audience were keen to engage with each other. My best connections was my first, a guy called Paul Weeden, who owns his own IT company, but is also a data + maps nerd like me.

The Cass Business School has several displays of work they did in the foyer, including some datamapping.


This show the Role of Gender in Urban Cycling. Basically mapping the Boris Bikes’ journeys taken by gender (blue for men, red for women). Wow! Boris Bikes are predominantly used by men!


This second map shows the energy consumption in 22 regions of France as a ‘stenomap’.