kottke.org posts about infoviz

The surprising history of the infographicJun 28 2016

1860 Slavery Map

From Clive Thompson, a history of the infographic, which was developed in part to help solve problems with an abundance of data available in the 19th century.

The idea of visualizing data is old: After all, that's what a map is -- a representation of geographic information -- and we've had maps for about 8,000 years. But it was rare to graph anything other than geography. Only a few examples exist: Around the 11th century, a now-anonymous scribe created a chart of how the planets moved through the sky. By the 18th century, scientists were warming to the idea of arranging knowledge visually. The British polymath Joseph Priestley produced a "Chart of Biography," plotting the lives of about 2,000 historical figures on a timeline. A picture, he argued, conveyed the information "with more exactness, and in much less time, than it [would take] by reading."

Still, data visualization was rare because data was rare. That began to change rapidly in the early 19th century, because countries began to collect-and publish-reams of information about their weather, economic activity and population. "For the first time, you could deal with important social issues with hard facts, if you could find a way to analyze it," says Michael Friendly, a professor of psychology at York University who studies the history of data visualization. "The age of data really began."

Visualization of the history of cities from 3700 BC to nowJun 28 2016

Using the results of a recent report by a team of Yale researchers, this visualization shows the growth of urbanization across the globe from 3700 BC to the present day. There is an amazing flurry of activity in the last few seconds of the video because:

By 2030, 75 percent of the world's population is expected to be living in cities. Today, about 54 percent of us do. In 1960, only 34 percent of the world lived in cities.

There are now 21 Chinese cities alone with a population of over 4 million.

The changing American dietJun 08 2016

American Eating Habits Infoviz

From Flowing Data, an animated infographic that shows how the American diet has changed since 1970. We eat less beef, potatoes, margarine, and whole milk than we used to, but more chicken, cooking oil, bananas, and Italian cheese.

New map blog from National GeographicMay 13 2016

1498 America Map

Betsy Mason and Greg Miller are writing a new blog for National Geographic about maps called All Over the Map. Here's a mission statement.

There is something magical about maps. They transport you to a place you've never seen, from the ocean depths to the surface of another planet. Or a world that exists only in the imagination of a novelist.

Maps are time machines, too. They can take you into the past to see the world as people saw it centuries ago. Or they can show you a place you know intimately as it existed before you came along, or as it might look in the future. Always, they reveal something about the mind of the mapmaker. Every map has a story to tell.

You can also follow their progress on Twitter and Instagram. They recently shared this comparative rivers and mountains chart on Instagram; it's one of my all-time favorite charts.

Rivers And Mountains Map

An interactive timeline of the top Billboard songsMay 06 2016

Billboard Top 5

From Matt Daniels at Polygraph, a moving timeline of the 22,000 songs that hit the top 5 on the Billboard charts from 1958-2016. Whoa, there is a lot of pop music I missed in the late 90s through the late 2000s.

See also The most timeless songs of all time and Interactive timeline: listen to the #1 rap songs from 1989-2015.

Visualization of the travelling salesman problemApr 27 2016

The traveling salesman problem is a classic in computer science. It sounds deceptively easy: given any number of cities, determine the shortest path a traveling salesman would have to travel to visit them all. This video shows how the "obvious" solution -- "well, just start somewhere and always visit the next closest town!" -- doesn't hold up well against other approaches. (via @coudal)

New maps of the growth of American slavery in the SouthApr 25 2016

American slavery, 1850

From Bill Rankin at Radical Cartography, a series of maps showing the rapid explosion of slavery in the United States from 1790-1860. Departing from previous efforts, Rankin used a uniform grid of dots to represent slave populations rather than counties.

First, I smash the visual tyranny of county boundaries by using a uniform grid of dots. The size of each dot shows the total population in each 250-sqmi cell, and the color shows the percent that were slaves. But just as important, I've also combined the usual county data with historical data for more than 150 cities and towns. Cities usually had fewer slaves, proportionally, than their surrounding counties, but this is invisible on standard maps.

A detail that struck me while cycling through the years was that the number of slaves as a percentage of the total population of the South stayed relatively steady at 33% from 1790 to 1860.

Animated virus trading cardsApr 13 2016

Virus Trading Cards

Eleanor Lutz's latest infographic creation is a set of animated virus trading cards.

The next 100 years of humans in spaceMar 30 2016

Integrated Space Plan

In 1989, a Rockwell engineer named Ron Jones published his Integrated Space Plan, a detailed outline of the next 100 years of human space travel, from continuing shuttle missions in the 1990s to the large scale habitation of Mars. The plan includes all sorts of futuristic and day-dreamy phrases like:

Create new moons for Mars if required
Humanity begins the transition from a terrestrial to a solar species
Humanity commands unlimited resources from the Moon and asteroids
Space drives global economy
Independent spacefaring human communities

Wired has a good look at how the plan came to be.

The graphic is divided into nine columns that show, in chronological order, the path toward human exploration of deep space. The center row of boxes, the "critical path," outlines the major milestones Jones decided were attainable within the next century of space travel; the boxes to the left and right of the critical path are support elements that must be realized before anything on the critical path can happen. The Integrated Space Plan can be read top to bottom and left to right. The big circles intersecting the boxes are the the plan's overarching long-range goals, which include things like Humanity begins the transition from a terrestrial to a solar species and Human expansion into the cosmos. In many ways, it's a graphical to-do list.

The keen observer will note that we are waaaaay behind in the plan. A lunar outpost was supposed to be up and running before 2008 and a self-supporting lunar base is due to happen in the next year or two. Can Musk and Bezos get us back on track? (via @ftrain)

Photoviz: information visualization through photographyMar 23 2016

Photoviz

Nicholas Felton is out with a new book on information visualization and photography called Photoviz.

The stories told with graphics and infographics are now being visualized through photography. Fotoviz shows how these powerful images are depicting correlations, making the invisible visible, and revealing more detail than classic photojournalism.

Ahhhhh, this looks amazing. And is right up my alley as well...I quickly looked through some of the images featured in the book and I've posted many of them here before (see time merge media for instance). Can't wait for this one to arrive.

The Chart of Cosmic ExplorationMar 11 2016

Cosmic ExplorationA new print from Pop Chart Lab "traces the trajectories of every orbiter, lander, rover, flyby, and impactor to ever slip the surly bonds of Earth's orbit and successfully complete its mission -- a truly astronomical array of over 100 exploratory instruments in all." Awesome. Basically, I am a sucker for things with curvy lines and planets.

Maradona and Jesus: shifts in global fame through the agesFeb 25 2016

From Pantheon at MIT, an adjustable graph of which kinds of people were globally famous in different eras. Up until the Renaissance, the most well-known people in the world were mostly politicians and religious figures, with some writers and philosophers thrown in for good measure:

Global Famous

Starting with the Renaissance through the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, politicians, writers, painters, and composers become more prominent:

Global Famous

For the past 50 years, athletes and entertainers dominate the list, with footballers making up almost a third of the most known. (If you only go back to 1990, actors dominate.)

Global Famous

Politicians rate slightly behind tennis players (but ahead of pornographic actors) and religious figures are not represented in the graph at all.

If you're curious about the data, you can read about their methodology and sources.

Interactive timeline: listen to the #1 rap songs from 1989-2015Jan 27 2016

Rap Timeline Player

The product of a collaboration between Polygraph and Billboard, this interactive timeline lets you listen to the top rap song in the US from 1989 to 2015 as you see the single jockeying in the top 10.

Massive data analysis of NYC Citi Bike dataJan 13 2016

Late last year, Todd Schneider did a big data analysis of taxi and Uber usage in NYC. This morning, he posted the results of a similar analysis for Citi Bike.

But unlike the taxi data, Citi Bike includes demographic information about its riders, namely gender, birth year, and subscriber status. At first glance that might not seem too revealing, but it turns out that it's enough to uniquely identify many Citi Bike trips. If you know the following information about an individual Citi Bike trip:

1. The rider is an annual subscriber

2. Their gender

3. Their birth year

4. The station where they picked up a Citi Bike

5. The date and time they picked up the bike, rounded to the nearest hour

Then you can uniquely identify that individual trip 84% of the time! That means you can find out where and when the rider dropped off the bike, which might be sensitive information. Because men account for 77% of all subscriber trips, it's even easier to uniquely identify rides by women: if we restrict to female riders, then 92% of trips can be uniquely identified.

Massive data analysis of NYC taxi and Uber dataNov 18 2015

Todd Schneider used a couple publicly available data sets (NYC taxis, Uber) to explore various aspects of how New Yorkers move about the city. Some of the findings include the rise of Uber:

Let's add Uber into the mix. I live in Brooklyn, and although I sometimes take taxis, an anecdotal review of my credit card statements suggests that I take about four times as many Ubers as I do taxis. It turns out I'm not alone: between June 2014 and June 2015, the number of Uber pickups in Brooklyn grew by 525%! As of June 2015, the most recent data available when I wrote this, Uber accounts for more than twice as many pickups in Brooklyn compared to yellow taxis, and is rapidly approaching the popularity of green taxis.

...the plausibility of Die Hard III's taxi ride to stop a subway bombing:

In Die Hard: With a Vengeance, John McClane (Willis) and Zeus Carver (Jackson) have to make it from 72nd and Broadway to the Wall Street 2/3 subway station during morning rush hour in less than 30 minutes, or else a bomb will go off. They commandeer a taxi, drive it frantically through Central Park, tailgate an ambulance, and just barely make it in time (of course the bomb goes off anyway...). Thanks to the TLC's publicly available data, we can finally address audience concerns about the realism of this sequence.

...where "bridge and tunnel" folks go for fun in Manhattan:

The most popular destinations for B&T trips are in Murray Hill, the Meatpacking District, Chelsea, and Midtown.

...the growth of north Williamsburg nightlife:

Taxi Uber Data

...the privacy implications of releasing taxi data publicly:

For example, I don't know who owns one of theses beautiful oceanfront homes on East Hampton's exclusive Further Lane (exact address redacted to protect the innocent). But I do know the exact Brooklyn Heights location and time from which someone (not necessarily the owner) hailed a cab, rode 106.6 miles, and paid a $400 fare with a credit card, including a $110.50 tip.

as well as average travel times to the city's airports, where investment bankers live, and how many people pay with cash vs. credit cards. Read the whole thing and if you want to play around with the data yourself, Schneider posted all of his scripts and knowhow on Github.

Update: Using summaries published by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission, Schneider takes a look at how taxi usage in NYC is shrinking and how usage of Uber is growing.

This graph will continue to update as the TLC releases additional data, but at the time I wrote this in April 2016, the most recent data shows yellow taxis provided 60,000 fewer trips per day in January 2016 compared to one year earlier, while Uber provided 70,000 more trips per day over the same time horizon.

Although the Uber data only begins in 2015, if we zoom out to 2010, it's even more apparent that yellow taxis are losing market share.

Lyft began reporting data in April 2015, and expanded aggressively throughout that summer, reaching a peak of 19,000 trips per day in December 2015. Over the following 6 weeks, though, Lyft usage tumbled back down to 11,000 trips per day as of January 2016 -- a decline of over 40%.

The food deserts of the United StatesOct 21 2015

Food DesertsFrom Nathan Yau at FlowingData, a look at the places in the US where people need to make the longest drives to visit a grocery store.

The nearest grocery store is more than 10 miles away in about 36 percent of the country and the median distance is 7 miles. However, a lot of these areas are rural with few (if any) people who live there.

Wyoming contains very few grocery stores:

Food Deserts

And Nevada is even more of a food desert. Looks like Massachusetts, Delaware, and New Jersey have plenty of grocery stores everywhere. (via feltron)

Histography, an interactive timeline of all historyOct 02 2015

Histography

Whoa, Histography is a super-cool interactive timeline of historical events pulled from Wikipedia, from the Big Bang to the present day. The site was built by Matan Stauber as his final project at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. This is really fun to play with and I love the style.

The varying wavelengths of colorsSep 03 2015

Rain BrosRain-Bros by Daniel Savage is a fun visualization of the different wavelengths of light in the visible spectrum, from the loping walk of red to blue's energetic bounce.

The thousands of bombs exploded on EarthAug 17 2015

From Orbital Mechanics, a visualization of the 2153 nuclear weapons exploded on Earth since 1945.

2153! I had no idea there had been that much testing. According to Wikipedia, the number is 2119 tests, with most of those coming from the US (1032) and the USSR (727). The largest device ever detonated was Tsar Bomba, a 50-megaton hydrogen bomb set off in the atmosphere above an island in the Barents Sea in 1961. Tsar Bomba had more than three times the yield of the largest bomb tested by the US. The result was spectacular.

The fireball reached nearly as high as the altitude of the release plane and was visible at almost 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) away from where it ascended. The subsequent mushroom cloud was about 64 kilometres (40 mi) high (over seven times the height of Mount Everest), which meant that the cloud was above the stratosphere and well inside the mesosphere when it peaked. The cap of the mushroom cloud had a peak width of 95 kilometres (59 mi) and its base was 40 kilometres (25 mi) wide.

All buildings in the village of Severny (both wooden and brick), located 55 kilometres (34 mi) from ground zero within the Sukhoy Nos test range, were destroyed. In districts hundreds of kilometers from ground zero wooden houses were destroyed, stone ones lost their roofs, windows and doors; and radio communications were interrupted for almost one hour. One participant in the test saw a bright flash through dark goggles and felt the effects of a thermal pulse even at a distance of 270 kilometres (170 mi). The heat from the explosion could have caused third-degree burns 100 km (62 mi) away from ground zero. A shock wave was observed in the air at Dikson settlement 700 kilometres (430 mi) away; windowpanes were partially broken to distances of 900 kilometres (560 mi). Atmospheric focusing caused blast damage at even greater distances, breaking windows in Norway and Finland. The seismic shock created by the detonation was measurable even on its third passage around the Earth.

The Soviets did not give a fuck, man...what are a few thousand destroyed homes compared to scaring the shit out of the capitalist Amerikanskis with a comically large explosion? Speaking of bonkers Communist dictatorships, the last nuclear test conducted on Earth was in 2013, by North Korea.

Beyond TufteJun 25 2015

From designer Karl Sluis, a list of nine great book about information visualization not written by Edward Tufte. Gonna keep my eye out for Stephen Few's Now You See It and David McCandless' The Visual Miscellaneum, but Herbert Bayer's World Geographic Atlas is a little too rich for my blood.

The Fallen of World War IIJun 08 2015

This is an amazing video visualization of military and civilian deaths in World War II. It's 18 minutes long, but well worth your time.

There's an interactive component as well, allowing you to explore the data. (via @garymross)

Football commentary cheat sheetsMay 15 2015

Nick Barnes is a football commentator for BBC Radio Newcastle. For each match he does, Barnes dedicates two pages in his notebook for pre-match notes, lineups, player stats, match stats, and dozens of other little tidbits.

Nick BarnesNick Barnes

Wonderful folk infographics. NBC commentator Arlo White also shared his pre-match notes. Both men say they barely use the notes during the match...by the time the notes are done, they know the stuff. (via @dens)

The US Forest Service's Cocktail Construction ChartApr 01 2015

Cocktail Construction Chart

This is...weird. The National Archives contains a Cocktail Construction Chart made in an architectural style, for some reason, by the US Forest Service in 1974.

Cocktail Construction Chart

Update: Kenny Herzog at Esquire did some digging and found out some of the chart's backstory.

If it does, royalties might be due to the family of late Forest Service Region 8 Engineer Cleve "Red" Ketcham, who passed away in 2005 but has since been commemorated in the National Museum of Forest Service History. It's Ketcham's signature scribbled in the center of the chart, and according to Sharon Phillips, a longtime Program Management Analyst for Region 8 (which covers Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma and Puerto Rico, though Ketcham worked out of its Atlanta office), who conferred with her engineering department, there's little doubt Ketcham concocted the chart in question. "They're assuming he's the one, because the drawing has a date of 1974, and he was working our office from 1974-1980," she said. And in case there'd be any curiosity as to whether someone else composed the chart and Ketcham merely signed off on it for disbursement, Phillips clarified that, "He's the author of the chart. I wouldn't say he passed it along to the staff, because at that time, he probably did that as maybe a joke, something he did for fun. It probably got mixed up with some legitimate stuff and ended up in the Archives."

I contacted the librarian at the Forest History Society and found similar information. An archivist pulled a staff directory from the Atlanta office (aka "Region 8") from 1975 and found three names that correlate with those on the document: David E. Ketcham & Cleve C. Ketcham (but not Ketchum, as on the document) and Robert B. Johns (presumably aka the Bob Johns in the lower right hand corner). Not sure if the two Ketchams were related or why the spellings of Cleve's actual last name and the last name of the signature on the chart are different.

However, in the past few days, I've run across several similar charts, most notably The Engineer's Guide to Drinks.1 Information on this chart is difficult to come by, but various commenters at Flowing Data and elsewhere remember the chart being used in the 1970s by a company called Calcomp to demonstrate their pen plotter.

Engineers Guide to Cocktails

As you can see, the Forest Service document and this one share a very similar visual language -- for instance, the five drops for Angostura bitters, the three-leaf mint sprig, and the lemon peel. And I haven't checked every single one, but the shading employed for the liquids appear to match exactly.

So which chart came first? The Forest Service chart has a date of 1974 and The Engineer's Guide to Drinks is dated 1978. But in this post, Autodesk Technologist Shaan Hurley says the Engineer's Guide dates to 1972. I emailed Hurley to ask about the date, but he couldn't point to a definite source, which is not uncommon when you're dealing with this sort of thing. It's like finding some initials next to "85" scratched into the cement on a sidewalk: you're pretty sure that someone did that in 1985 but you'd have a tough time proving it.

FWIW, if I had to guess where this chart originated, I'd say that the Calcomp plotter demo got out there somehow (maybe at a trade show or published in an industry magazine) and every engineer took a crack at their own version, like an early internet meme. Cleve Ketcham drew his by hand while others probably used the CAD software running on their workplace mainframes or minicomputers.

Anyway, if anyone has any further information about where these CAD-style cocktail instructions originated, let me know. (thx, @john_overholt & tre)

  1. Other instances include these reprints of drawings from 1978 on eBay and an advertisement for a Cocktail Construction drawing in the Dec 1982 issue of Texas Monthly.

How to load the dishwasherJan 07 2015

How To Load The Dishwasher

I've never looked closely at my dishwasher's instruction manual before, but apparently all the manuals tell you how best to load the dishwasher. Joe Clark went through a bunch these manuals and compiled screenshots of the "Loading Your Dishwasher" pages and put them on Flickr.

14 striking findings from 2014Dec 26 2014

The Pew Research Center shares some of the most interesting findings from the reports they published in 2014. The increasing gap in wealth between white and non-white households since the 2007 recession was the most shocking to me.

Ethnic Wealth 2014

Over the past 10 years, the net worth of black households has been cut in half.

2014 in four chartsDec 23 2014

From the New Yorker's Vauhini Vara, four charts that defined the world in 2014.

Income Inequality 2014

One of the most talked-about charts of the year, tucked inside a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper published in October by the economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, isn't, strictly speaking, about 2014. The chart stops in 2012, which is the last year for which relevant data was available. Saez and Zucman found that wealth in the U.S. has been distributed increasingly unequally over the past three decades, and that almost the entire increase in inequality has to do with the rising share of wealth held by the 0.1 per cent -- from seven per cent, in 1978, to twenty-two per cent, in 2012, a level comparable to what the richest families held in the early twentieth century.

So, if the trend held over the past two years, the top 0.1% of Americans have more wealth than the bottom 90% for the first time since right before WWII. When that data comes out, we'll see a ton of think- and trend-pieces about it...but unless the US government gets serious about redistributing that wealth, not much will be done about it.

Update: From Co.Design, The 18 Best Infographics Of 2014. And on Medium, Eleven Stunning Graphs From 2014 That You Should See.

PianogramsNov 28 2014

Pianograms are visualizations of the relative distributions of piano key presses for songs. For instance, this is Prelude in C-sharp by Rachmaninov:

Pianograms

(via @pomeranian99)

Information Graphics: SpaceNov 07 2014

Space Information Graphics

A children's book about space featuring information graphics illustrated by the completely awesome Jennifer Daniel!?

The third in a visually stunning series of information graphics that shows just how interesting and humorous scientific information can be. Complex facts about space are reinterpreted as stylish infographics that astonish, amuse, and inform.

INSTANT PURCHASE. February 2015 cannot come fast enough.

The reading level of Presidential speechesOct 10 2014

Using the Flesch-Kincaid readability test, Vocativ analyzed more than 600 speeches from all the American Presidents for ease of comprehension. What they found was a trend toward simpler language as speeches needed to appeal to a wider range of people, not just super-educated white men.

President Reading Level

I think President Obama, no more or less than President Bush, tries to pack a lot of nuance and subtext into language that is as plain and straightforward as possible. While President Bush was often inarticulate off the cuff, Bush's speeches were underestimated. There was a crisp formality to a lot of his best speeches, particularly the ones he delivered shortly after Sept. 11.

Definitely click through for their analysis of the data.

Wonderful combination of science and designOct 01 2014

Eleanor Lutz has a degree in molecular biology, works as a designer, and loves to combine the two interests by making these wonderful information graphics on her site, Tabletop Whale. Her most recent post is an animated graphic showing how several animals (birds, bats, insects) move their wings while flying.

Animal Flight Wing Movements

I love love love Lutz's animated chart of North American butterflies. So playful!

Butterflies Animation

There are only four posts on the site so far, but she's done other stuff as well; this woodcut map for instance. Prints are available...I'm getting one of the butterflies for sure.

Knowledge Is BeautifulSep 24 2014

Knowledge Is Beautiful

David McCandless has been highlighting good information design for years on Information Is Beautiful. The site spawned a book of the same name in 2009. Now McCandless is back with a new book, Knowledge Is Beautiful.

Every day, every hour, every minute we are bombarded with information, from television, from newspapers, from the Internet, we're steeped in it. We need a way to relate to it. Enter David McCandless and his stunning infographics, simple, elegant ways to interact with information too complex or abstract to grasp any way but visually. McCandless creates visually stunning displays that blend the facts with their connections, contexts, and relationships, making information meaningful, entertaining, and beautiful. And his genius is as much in finding fresh ways to provocatively combine datasets as it is in finding new ways to show the results.

Here's some more information about the book.

Jeter swings, baby!Sep 15 2014

Powers Of Jeter

Love this New York Times visualization of how many times Derek Jeter has swung a bat during his career. This is like Powers of Ten, but with Derek Jeter bat swings.

Maps don't love you like I love youJul 18 2014

From Flowing Data, 19 Maps That Will Blow Your Mind and Change the Way You See the World. Top All-time. You Won't Believe Your Eyes. Watch. It's the maps listicle to end all maps listicles.

Useless maps

A day in the life of NYC taxisJul 15 2014

This clever and well-done visualization shows where individual NYC taxis picked up and dropped off their fares over the course of a day.

Day Life Taxi

Mesmerizing. Has anyone done analysis on which drivers are the most effective and what the data shows as the most effective techniques? The best drivers must have their tricks on where to be at which times to get the most fares. (via @dens)

Visualizing algorithmsJun 30 2014

Bostock Maze

In an adaptation of a talk he gave at the recent Eyeo Festival, Mike Bostock talks about visualizing algorithms.

Algorithms are a fascinating use case for visualization. To visualize an algorithm, we don't merely fit data to a chart; there is no primary dataset. Instead there are logical rules that describe behavior. This may be why algorithm visualizations are so unusual, as designers experiment with novel forms to better communicate. This is reason enough to study them.

But algorithms are also a reminder that visualization is more than a tool for finding patterns in data. Visualization leverages the human visual system to augment human intellect: we can use it to better understand these important abstract processes, and perhaps other things, too.

If nothing else, skim through the text and play the visualizations. The one of the maze turning into a tree visualization baked my noodle a little bit.

A people's center of the United StatesJun 16 2014

The center of the population of the United States has been moving steadily west and south since 1790. This video shows the progression until 2010:

You can step through the animation yourself on the US Census Bureau site. It's interesting to see how even the changes are...there was one big jump from 1850 to 1860 and a slow down in westward migration from 1890 to 1940, but other than that, it shifted west about 40-50 miles each decade.

John Philipps EmslieJun 13 2014

These maps, diagrams, and charts by John Philipps Emslie done in the mid-to-late 1800s are gorgeous.

John Philipps Emslie

Intrigued, I went searching for more examples. I loved this one just for pure compositional beauty:

John Philipps Emslie

And this lithograph from 1850 showing various machines of the time:

John Philipps Emslie

(thx, greg)

America's growing political polarizationJun 12 2014

The Pew Research Center has data and visualizations showing how much more polarized Americans have become about their politics over the past 20 years.

2014 political polarization

In 1994, the overlap was much greater than it is today. Twenty years ago, the median Democrat was to the left of 64% of Republicans, while the median Republican was to the right of 70% of Democrats. Put differently, in 1994 23% of Republicans were more liberal than the median Democrat; while 17% of Democrats were more conservative than the median Republican. Today, those numbers are just 4% and 5%, respectively.

Even more pronounced is the shift by the Republican members of Congress toward the right.

Political ideology

(via @mulegirl)

Spurious correlationsMay 12 2014

Tyler Vigen is collecting examples of data that correlate closely but are (probably) otherwise unrelated.

Cheese Doctorates

Remember kids, correlation != causation.

Folk dancing sortsApr 24 2014

Programming sorting techniques visualized through Eastern European folk dancing. For instance, here's the bubble sort with Hungarian dancing:

See also sorting algorithms visualized. (via @viljavarasto)

Citi Bike swarmsApr 18 2014

Data visualization of Citi Bike trips taken over a 48-hour period in NYC:

Love seeing the swarms starting around 8am and 5:30pm but hate experiencing them. I've been using Citi Bike almost since the launch last year and I can't imagine NYC without it now. I use it several times daily, way more than the subway even. I hope they can find a way to make it a viable business.

If the Moon was only 1 pixelMar 05 2014

Moon 1 pixelNice visualization of the solar system; the Moon is one pixel across and everything else is scaled to that, including the distances between planets. Get ready to scroll. A lot.

It would be neat to do this with a plutonium atom or something. Related: typographically speaking, what's the point size of the Moon?

More than 700 new planets discovered todayFeb 26 2014

NASA announced the discovery of 719 new planets today. That brings the tally of known planets in our universe to almost 1800. 20 years ago, that number was not more than 15 (including the nine planets orbiting the Sun). Here's a rough timeline of the dramatically increasing pace of planetary discovery:

4.54 billion BCE-1700: 6
1700-1799: 1
1800-1899: 1
1900-1950: 1
1951-1990: 1
1991-2000: 49
2001-2005: 131
2006-2010: 355
2006: -1 [for Pluto :( ]
2011-2014: 1243

Last year, Jonathan Corum made an infographic of the sizes and orbits of the 190 confirmed planets discovered at that point by the Kepler mission. I hope the Times updates it with this recent batch.

The weight of rainFeb 10 2014

In a presentation for the Visualized conference, Jonathan Corum says that he looks for the "weight of rain" when working on data graphics.

So when I'm looking at data, or working on an explanatory graphic, these are the moments I'm looking for. Little "Aha!" moments that I can point to, and say "Look here, something happened," and then try to explain. Often those small moments can help lead a reader into the graphic, or help to explain the whole.

The actual non-metaphorical weight of rain is surprisingly heavy; an inch of rain on an acre of land weighs 113.31 tons.

The Manhattan Winter OlympicsFeb 05 2014

I love this sort of thing: visualizations of Olympic venues plopped into Manhattan to provide a sense of scale. My favorite is the bobsled run in Times Square:

Times Square Bobsled

My son and I were just talking about this and when he asked me, I had no idea how big the track actually was. Can't wait to show him this when I get home tonight.

In other news, the news media has arrived in Sochi and the town doesn't seem to be ready for the Games. Oopsie!

Wind map of the EarthDec 17 2013

Wind Map Earth

You've probably seen the cool wind map of the US, but there's one for the whole Earth now. (via df)

JZSMA (The Jay Z Social Media Average)Dec 03 2013

From Rap Genius, a chart showing mentions in rap songs of popular social sites and apps like Twitter and Instagram:

Rap Genius Sm Graph

Compare with the graph for the same terms from Google News:

Google News Sm Graph

And here's the graph for general search terms. (I excluded Snapchat from the Google graphs because Google wouldn't allow 6 search terms at a time...it barely showed up in either case.) Twitter rules the rap roost, but Facebook demolishes everyone in general and news search traffic.

The bourbon family treeNov 15 2013

A chart of where many varieties of bourbon come from, along with five things you can learn from the chart.

Bourbon Chart

Pappy Van Winkle is frequently described by both educated and uneducated drinkers as the best bourbon on the market. It is certainly aged for longer than most premium bourbons, and has earned a near hysterical following of people scrambling to get one of the very few bottles that are released each year. Of the long-aged bourbons, it seems to be aged very gently year-to-year, and this recommends it enormously. But if you, like most people, can't find Pappy, try W. L. Weller. There's a 12 year old variety that retails for $23 around the corner. Pappy 15-year sells for $699-$1000 even though it's the exact same liquid as the Pappy (same mash bill, same spirit, same barrels); the only difference is it's aged 3 years less.

The chart is taken from the Kings County Distillery Guide to Urban Moonshining.

Written by the founders of Kings County Distillery, New York City's first distillery since Prohibition, this spirited illustrated book explores America's age-old love affair with whiskey. It begins with chapters on whiskey's history and culture from 1640 to today, when the DIY trend and the classic cocktail craze have conspired to make it the next big thing. For those thirsty for practical information, the book next provides a detailed, easy-to-follow guide to safe home distilling, complete with a list of supplies, step-by-step instructions, and helpful pictures, anecdotes, and tips.

(via df)

Sorting algorithms visualizedNov 13 2013

This video visualization of 15 different sorting algorithms is mesmerizing. (Don't forget the sound.)

An explanation of the process. You can play with several different kinds of sorts here.

The Best American Infographics 2013Oct 08 2013

Sadly, most infographics these days look like this, functioning as a cheap and easy way to gussy up numbers. But when done properly, infographics are very effective in communicating a lot of information in a short period of time and can help you see data in new ways. In The Best American Infographics 2013, Gareth Cook collects some of the best ones from over the past year. Wired has a look at some of the selections.

Dog Infoviz

Visualizing the Rolling Stones toursDec 06 2012

The Rolling Stones have been touring for almost 50 years, starting with a British tour in 1963, and this tool allows you to visualize their travels. It's really cool. The craziest part to me is how dramatically the length of their tours has increased since they started out. Their first tour in 1963 (actually one of their longer tours early in their career) was about 28 shows over the course of a month. Their last tour in 2005 had about a gabillion shows over two years and grossed $528 million.

visualizing-the-rolling-stones.png

On a personal note, I read "The Rolling Stones" several times on this page and still spent parts of two days looking at it and thinking it was The Beatles tour visualization. Twice. I read "The Rolling Stones," thought it was The Beatles, corrected myself, and then thought it was The Beatles again. (via @pbump)

Wheel! Of! Urine!Oct 23 2012

Uroscopy is the now obsolete practice of using the smell, taste, and color of urine to diagnose illness. There were even charts to help doctors and other healers identify different types of urine.

Wheel Of Urine

Many diseases affect metabolism and many changes in metabolism can be detected in the urine. For example, diabetics will excrete sugar in their urine -- sometimes enough sugar that it can be fermented into whisky. There are many other diseases that change the smell of a person's urine, including the very descriptively named Maple Syrup Urine Disease or Sweaty Feet Syndrome, now much more likely to be diagnosed by electronic sensor arrays than actually tasting the urine.

(via edible geography)

Infographic of shifting US political ideologiesOct 22 2012

It was not my intent to be so politically oriented this morning but here we are. This is a chart that tracks the ideologies of the Democratic and Republican members of Congress from 1789 to 2010. As you can see, the shift away from the center by the Republicans since 1975 is unprecedented, perhaps matched only by the shift toward the center by the Democrats beginning in 1921 and ending in 1945.

Political Ideology

This reminds me of a timeline created circa 1880 for a book called Conspectus of the History of Political Parties and the Federal Government:

Political Parties 1880

Bigger version here. (via @joecarryon)

Info visualization of the Dominos pizza supply chain from farm to apartmentJun 20 2012

This is a long zoom look at how pizza gets delivered to hungry people. It starts by looking at the routes taken by a Dominos delivery person during a typical night and slowly zooms out to reveal the pizza giant's national supply chain.

Embark with Kwon on a trip that begins with a pizza delivery route in New York City, then goes across the country to California's Central Valley, where nearly 50 percent of America's fruits, nuts and vegetables are grown, and into the heartland for an aerial look at our farmlands.

Information Graphics, a new book from TaschenMay 04 2012

This looks like an interesting new book from Taschen, Information Graphics (buy at Amazon).

Our everyday lives are filled with a massive flow of information that we must interpret in order to understand the world we live in. Considering this complex variety of data floating around us, sometimes the best -- or even only -- way to communicate is visually. This unique book presents a fascinating historical perspective on the subject, highlighting the work of the masters of the profession who have created a number of breakthroughs that have changed the way we communicate. Information Graphics has been conceived and designed not just for designers or graphics professionals, but for anyone interested in the history and practice of communicating visually.

The in-depth introductory section, illustrated with over 60 images (each accompanied by an explanatory caption), features essays by Sandra Rendgen, Paolo Ciuccarelli, Richard Saul Wurman, and Simon Rogers; looking back all the way to primitive cave paintings as a means of communication, this introductory section gives readers an excellent overview of the subject. The second part of the book is entirely dedicated to contemporary works by the current most renowned professionals, presenting 200 graphics projects, with over 400 examples -- each with a fact sheet and an explanation of methods and objectives -- divided into chapters by the subjects Location, Time, Category, and Hierarchy.

A practical guide to graphics for scientists and engineersMay 03 2012

This looks like a potentially interesting book from Felice Frankel: Visual Strategies (at Amazon).

Visual Strategies

Any scientist or engineer who communicates research results will immediately recognize this practical handbook as an indispensable tool. The guide sets out clear strategies and offers abundant examples to assist researchers-even those with no previous design training-with creating effective visual graphics for use in multiple contexts, including journal submissions, grant proposals, conference posters, or presentations.

Visual communicator Felice Frankel and systems biologist Angela DePace, along with experts in various fields, demonstrate how small changes can vastly improve the success of a graphic image. They dissect individual graphics, show why some work while others don't, and suggest specific improvements. The book includes analyses of graphics that have appeared in such journals as Science, Nature, Annual Reviews, Cell, PNAS, and the New England Journal of Medicine, as well as an insightful personal conversation with designer Stefan Sagmeister and narratives by prominent researchers and animators.

Process blog for the NY Times Graphics deptMay 01 2012

chartsandthings is a behind-the-scenes look at how the infographic sausage is made at the NY Times.

Basketball has 13 positions, not just 5May 01 2012

Muthu Alagappan used topological data analysis to group NBA players into thirteen different player types, including Role-Playing Ball-Handler, Paint Protector, All-NBA 1st Team, and One-of-a-Kind.

13 basketball positions

Visualization of shipping routes from 1750 to 1855Apr 17 2012

This video is a visualization of the how ships moved goods and people around the world from the mid-18th century to the mid-19th century.

Here's more on how it was done.

This shows mostly Spanish, Dutch, and English routes -- they are surprisingly constant over the period (although some empires drop in and out of the record), but the individual voyages are fun. And there are some macro patterns -- the move of British trade towards India, the effect of the American Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, and so on.

There are times in the video when a single nation dominates all of the shipping traffic...the British in the early 1800s and the Dutch from the mid 1830s on.

Wind and water current maps by van GoghMar 29 2012

A pair of recent info visualizations look as though they were painted by Vincent van Gogh. Wind Map shows the realtime flow of wind over the United States.

Wind mapPerpetual Ocean is a NASA animation of ocean currents around the world.

Would be cool to see both of these rendered through Stamen's watercolor filter.

A chart of almost all the moneyNov 21 2011

An epic chart from XKCD: Money - A chart of almost all of it, where it is, and what it can do. It's broken out into "dollars, thousands, millions, billions, trillions"...here's just a little snippet of the billions section:

Xkcd Money

Google's search by drawing featureSep 02 2011

This is kind of amazing...you draw a graph and Google Correlate finds query terms whose popularity matches the drawn curve. I drew a bell curve, a very rough one peaking in 2007, and it matches a bunch of searches for "myspace".

Google Correlate

This fits beautifully with the previous post about Vonnegut's story shape graphs.

Kurt Vonnegut explains the shapes of storiesSep 02 2011

Using a chalkboard and a simple graphical axis, watch as Kurt Vonnegut explains the different shapes that stories can take.

(via @coudal)

Update: This is part of a longer talk that Vonnegut gave...a transcript is here.

I want to share with you something I've learned. I'll draw it on the blackboard behind me so you can follow more easily [draws a vertical line on the blackboard]. This is the G-I axis: good fortune-ill fortune. Death and terrible poverty, sickness down here-great prosperity, wonderful health up there. Your average state of affairs here in the middle [points to bottom, top, and middle of line respectively].

(thx, clifford)

Superheroes are all around usAug 22 2011

This chart shows former and future superheroes by movie. That is, George Clooney played Batman, so Out of Sight gets a Batman, along with another Batman for Micheal Keaton, and a Nick Fury for Sam Jackson. Lots of movies have 4 superheroes, though none on this chart have 5. Click through, you'll understand. If you want to see how they all fit together, he's made that chart, too. Raynor, you may raymember, also made the Harry Potter wizards in other movies chart.

HBO recently released a documentary about real-life superheroes. The trailer is below. It reminded me of the fascinating Rolling Stone article about Master Legend, but I can't find it on their site because Rolling Stone doesn't believe the internet needs to see old articles.

Incidentally, I found not 1, but 3 networks for real-life superheroes.
1, 2 3. But also, hipster superheroes. Hulk is only smashing ironically. And here's a list of all the superheroes. All of them.

Lastly, I'd be remiss not to mention Petsaresuperhero.es, a project I put together with a friend. You know your pet's a superhero, now you can show the world.

Sunscreen explainedJul 13 2011

This infographic over at Information is Beautiful does a great job explaining the difference UV protections offered by sunscreens, what SPF is, when/how much to apply, etc. I had no idea about the stars or the difference between UVA and UVB.

SlopegraphsJul 12 2011

Charlie Park takes a look at a type of chart that Edward Tufte developed for his 1983 book, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Unlike sparklines, another Tufte invention/coinage, slopegraphs didn't really take off.

It's curious that it hasn't become more popular, as the chart type is quite elegant and aligns with all of Tufte's best practices for data visualization, and was created by the master of information design. Why haven't these charts (christened "slopegraphs" by Tufte about a month ago) taken off the way sparklines did? In this post, we're going to look at slopegraphs -- what they are, how they're made, why they haven't seen a massive uptake so far, and why I think they're about to become much more popular in the near future.

Where has all the drama gone?Jun 13 2011

From very small array, an infographic look at which movie genres have done well at the box office and at awards time. Dramas have all but vanished from the box office chart in recent years. (thx, jon)

No more fish in the seaJun 06 2011

David McCandless made a data visualization comparing the Atlantic Ocean fishing stocks in 1900 and in 2000. It's a literal jawdropper...here's just a little bit of it:

Fish all gone

That's not just depleted...the fish are just gone. Click through for the full craziness. (via @daveg)

Edward Tufte profileMay 13 2011

Joshua Yaffa profiles Edward Tufte for The Washington Monthly.

After the publication of Envisioning Information, Tufte decided, he told me, "to be indifferent to culture or history or time." He became increasingly consumed with what he calls "forever knowledge," or the idea that design is meant to guide fundamental cognitive tasks and therefore is rooted in principles that apply regardless of the material being displayed and the technology used to produce it. As Tufte explains it, basic human cognitive questions are universal, which means that design questions should be universal too. "I purposely don't write books with names like How to Design a Web Site or How to Make a Presentation," he told me.

Hand-drawn timelinesMay 13 2011

This Tumblr filled with hand-drawn timelines is wonderful...the Troublemaker of the Moment timeline is a favorite.

Silly chartsMay 13 2011

New Yorker editor Ben Greenman makes silly charts and graphs:

Silly chart

Twitter sparklinesMay 11 2011

I've been seeing a few mini bar charts (aka sparklines) pop up on Twitter in the past few days. Like this one:

Twitter sparklines

Last year Alex Kerin built an Excel-to-Twitter sparkline generator that uses Unicode block elements for the tiny charts and now media outlets like the WSJ are using it to publish data to Twitter:

Twitter Sparklines 1

Anil Dash has a nice post on how the WSJ came to use Kerin's idea. Here are a few more favorites "sparktweets" (1, 2, 3, 4, 5):

Twitter Sparklines 2
 

Twitter Sparklines 3
 

Twitter Sparklines 4
 

Twitter Sparklines 5
 

Twitter Sparklines 6

Chartwell, the infographics fontMar 24 2011

Chartwell is a type family you can use to build all kinds of graphs and charts. Stringing letters and numbers together into ligatures, you can make things like this:

Chartwell

Harry Potter wizards in other moviesMar 22 2011

Here's an infographic that shows feature films with four or more Harry Potter wizards in them.

i was watching sense & sensibility in the back of my neighbour's minivan while on a stakeout the other night and realized that professors snape, trelawney, and umbridge had each somehow apparated into the cast. my neighbour (who is a former hogwarts alumna) pointed out that cornelius fudge and madam pomfrey were also in it. was this a record for the most harry potter wizards in a non-harry potter film?

Close but nine Potter wizards is the record...can you guess which movie before clicking through?

Radiation dose chartMar 21 2011

With the assistance of a nuclear reactor operator, Randall Munroe came up with this handy radiation dose infographic. Doses recorded near the Fukushima plant compare to those from a single mammogram or dental x-ray. A note on how to use this chart:

If you're basing radiation safety procedures on an internet PNG image and things go wrong, you have no one to blame but yourself.

(via df)

WeathersparkMar 15 2011

Weatherspark is an impressive collection of weather data, graphs, and tools.

WeatherSpark is a new type of weather website, with interactive weather graphs that allow you to pan and zoom through the entire history of any weather station on earth.

Get multiple forecasts for the current location, overlaid on records and averages to put it all in context.

Here's the weather for NYC. (via @bantic)

Watch the world get fatFeb 09 2011

This interactive chart from the Washington Post shows how the average body mass index has risen in most countries since 1980. The European men getting comparatively heavier than European women (against the general trend of the rest of the world) is interesting.

CoenfographicJan 25 2011

An infographic that stitches together the 15 films that the Coen brothers have made.

Coenfographic

Horoscopes: all the sameJan 20 2011

As you can see in this visualization created by Information is Beautiful, the most commonly used words in horoscopes are amazingly consistent across the twelve different signs. As part of the analysis, they also created a meta-horoscope reading for use anytime during the year:

Ready? Sure? Whatever the situation or secret moment, enjoy everything a lot. Feel able to absolutely care. Expect nothing else. Keep making love. Family and friends matter. The world is life, fun, and energy. Maybe hard. Or easy. Taking exactly enough is best. Help and talk to others. Change your mind and a better mood comes along...

What a crock. (via @dens)

The Joy of StatsDec 30 2010

An hour-long documentary on statistics and infoviz produced by the BBC.

Documentary which takes viewers on a rollercoaster ride through the wonderful world of statistics to explore the remarkable power thay have to change our understanding of the world, presented by superstar boffin Professor Hans Rosling, whose eye-opening, mind-expanding and funny online lectures have made him an international internet legend.

(via waxy)

Explain the internet to a 19th century British street urchinOct 28 2010

If you ever find yourself time travelling back to Victorian England, here's a handy flowchart that will help you explain the internet to the youth of the era.

Internet urchin flowchart

Geographical time spiralOct 08 2010

Lovely timeline of the progression of life on Earth.

Geographic time spiral

It's work clicking through to see the larger image. (via @moleitau)

Infinite Jest infographicOct 08 2010

This infographic attempts to explain all the interpersonal connections in Infinite Jest. (via personal report)

World's tallest buildings, circa 1884Oct 06 2010

Before peeking ahead, quick quiz: as 1884 came to a close, what was the tallest building in the world? It's the one in the middle of this beautiful diagram of The Principal High Buildings of the Old World from Cram's Unrivaled Family Atlas of the World:

Principal High Buildings

That's right, the Washington Monument was the tallest building in the world for about five years before the Eiffel Tower, at almost double the height of the Washington Monument, took over the top spot for more than 40 years. (via modcult)

Journalism in the age of dataSep 30 2010

A 50-minute documentary on information visualization and its use in journalism.

Lots of kottke.org regulars in there...Fry, Wattenberg, Koblin, Felton, Stamen, etc. And Amanda Cox sounds like Sarah Vowell!

PseudovarietySep 03 2010

Pseudovariety -- "the illusion of diversity, concealing a lack of real choice" -- is when you go to the store and see an entire aisle filled with hundreds of different kinds of soda but most of those soda varieties are owned by three companies. Click through to see a neat visualization of soft drink brands and their market shares and owners.

Web packets in flightSep 02 2010

Here's what the communication between a web browser and YouTube looks like when the browser requests a video, slowed down 12X so you can actually see what happens.

Locals vs. touristsJun 09 2010

Locals and Tourists is a set of maps showing where people take photos in various cities around the world. The results are broken down into tourist photos and photos taken by locals. Here's NYC:

NYC photo takers

Blue points on the map are pictures taken by locals (people who have taken pictures in this city dated over a range of a month or more). Red points are pictures taken by tourists (people who seem to be a local of a different city and who took pictures in this city for less than a month).

European airspace timelapse, before and after the volcanoApr 27 2010

Here's European airspace shutting down as the ashcloud from Eyjafjallajokull drifts over the continent:

The music is an inspired choice. And here's European airspace starting back up again:

(via infosthetics)

Stages of a photographerApr 26 2010

Stages of a photographer

Shouldn't the HDR Hole actually extend below the baseline? Larger version is here. See also Clayton Cubitt's three-step guide to photography:

01: be interesting. 02: find interesting people. 03: find interesting places. Nothing about cameras.

(via clusterflock)

Cartographies of TimeApr 16 2010

The NY Times' Paper Cuts blog calls Cartographies of Time "the most beautiful book of the year". I cannot disagree. In attempting to answer the question "how do you draw time?", the authors present page after page of beautiful and clever visual timelines.

Cartographies of Time is the first comprehensive history of graphic representations of time in Europe and the United States from 1450 to the present. Authors Daniel Rosenberg and Anthony Grafton have crafted a lively history featuring fanciful characters and unexpected twists and turns. From medieval manuscripts to websites, Cartographies of Time features a wide variety of timelines that in their own unique ways-curving, crossing, branching-defy conventional thinking about the form. A fifty-four-foot-long timeline from 1753 is mounted on a scroll and encased in a protective box. Another timeline uses the different parts of the human body to show the genealogies of Jesus Christ and the rulers of Saxony. Ladders created by missionaries in eighteenth-century Oregon illustrate Bible stories in a vertical format to convert Native Americans. Also included is the April 1912 Marconi North Atlantic Communication chart, which tracked ships, including the Titanic, at points in time rather than by their geographic location, alongside little-known works by famous figures, including a historical chronology by the mapmaker Gerardus Mercator and a chronological board game patented by Mark Twain. Presented in a lavishly illustrated edition, Cartographies of Time is a revelation to anyone interested in the role visual forms have played in our evolving conception of history.

The book is also available at Amazon.

On infographicsApr 12 2010

Phil Gyford's spot-on critique of the number and quality of infographics currently choking the web. As Phil notes, far too many infographics decorate and don't communicate.

NYC taxi flow infovizApr 05 2010

Nice timelapse map view of taxi traffic across Manhattan.

Taxi flow NYC

I've often wondered what an NYC version of Stamen's Cabspotting project would look like.

This American InfographicApr 02 2010

The goal of This American Infographic is to make a companion infographic for every episode of This American Life.

This American Infographic

How people use FirefoxApr 01 2010

From a study on how people use Firefox, a heat map that highlights the most- and least-popular menu items. Bookmarks got the most use by far, followed by copy and paste. Copy was used about twice as much as paste, which suggests that about 50% of the time, people are copying things to be pasted into another program. Oh and not a single person used "Redo". (via ben fry)

Mountain ranges as stock market infographicsMar 22 2010

Photographer Michael Najjar took some of his photos from the Andes and turned them into stock market infographics. Here's Lehman Brothers stock price from 1980 to 2008.

Lehman Mountain

Boy, their stock price really fell off a cliff there, didn't it? The rest of the series is worth a look as well, although Najjar's site features the worst use of Flash I've seen in many months...it automatically fullscreens and generally wastes a bunch of time with transitions. To find the rest of the photos, wait until the map starts loading and put your mouse at the bottom of the screen. A menu will s.l.o.w.l.y. slide up...High Altitude is what you're looking for. (via info aesthetics)

Flickr seasonsMar 12 2010

This visualization represents a year in color (summer is at the top, winter at the bottom).

Flickr seasons

The images were taken of the Boston Common, courtesy of Flickr.

Famous movie quotes, graphedMar 08 2010

Information visualization of some well-known movie quotes. A picture is, how you say, worth a thousand words:

Movie quotes graphed

How genetics worksFeb 24 2010

Genetic Shirts

As information visualizations go, you can't get much better than this.

The bottomless oceanFeb 22 2010

A representation of how deep the Mariana Trench is. Turns out it's really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really deep. (via df)

Twitter code visualizationFeb 10 2010

Watch Twitter's engineering team and code base grow as the site gets more and more popular. It gets nuts at the end.

(thx, chris)

Timeline paintingsFeb 10 2010

Ward Shelley paints these wonderfully intricate timelines of different things...his life, Frank Zappa's career, and the history of the avant garde.

Ward Shelley

Found functionsFeb 05 2010

Photographs of curves found in nature and the graphs and functions that go with them.

Found Functions

(via snarkmarket)

Measuring typeJan 21 2010

Clever idea: you can measure the amount of ink required to print different typefaces simply by writing them out with ballpoint pens. The pens themselves become the usage graph:

Ink pen graphUpdate: You can also use this technique to represent which colors you draw with most often.

Beatles infographicsJan 19 2010

The most interesting of several infographics related to The Beatles is the first one depicting the declining rate of collaboration within the band gleaned from songwriting credit data.

Beatles Collab Infoviz

(thx, bryan)

Victorian infographicsJan 05 2010

This one is my favorite of the bunch.

Cost of healthcareDec 29 2009

This clever graph by National Geographic shows the cost of healthcare compared to life expectancy in a number of countries. The way that the US healthcare expenditure is pictured entirely outside the confines of the graph's scale and legend is a particularly effective design decision. (thx, jim)

The gravity of the solar systemDec 29 2009

Today on xkcd, an illustration showing the gravity wells of our solar system's planets and some of their moons.

Gravity wells

Two of Mars' tiny moons barely have any gravity at all:

You could escape Deimos with a bike and a ramp. A thrown baseball could escape Phobos.

That's great, but you forgot Pluto!

Lovely chocolateDec 15 2009

Mary And MattOne of many from Mary and Matt. It's a stacked bar chart *and* candy. (via youngna)

Big cities, little statesDec 03 2009

New-ish thing from fake is the new real: outlines of the 100 most populous areas in the US. Some are cities and some are states.

The fifty largest metro areas (in blue), disaggregated from their states (in orange). Each has been scaled and sorted according to population.

By themselves, the New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago metros are the three most populous areas in the US. (via snarkmarket)

The fall of empiresNov 25 2009

A visualization of the decline of the world's four maritime empires (British, Portuguese, French, Spanish) from 1800 to 2009.

France pretty much just explodes around 1960.

There and back againNov 03 2009

A wonderful character interaction map of the Lord of the Rings trilogy drawn by Randall Munroe. Here's just a little part of it:

xkcd LOTR

Human space exploration mapOct 23 2009

Beautiful map by National Geographic of human exploration of the solar system.

Human exploration of the solar system

See also Race to the Moon at HistoryShots and Bryan Christie's Mission(s) to Mars. (thx, byrne)

A three-year-old's view of the NYC subwayOct 22 2009

Simple NYC subway map

This was my present to my nephew for his 3rd birthday. He loves, loves, loves the subway so my sister asked me if I could make a custom map with all the places that mean something to him on the poster.

Best viewed a bit large.

Update: There's been a bit of confusion...this is not something that I made. I don't even have a nephew.

Update: The subway map was made by Erin Jang.

Photographer's vennOct 19 2009

A diagram that shows the overlap of street photography, fine art photography, and photojournalism.

Venn diagram of mythical creaturesAug 27 2009

Mythical Venn

My favorite is dog + dog + dog = Cerberus. (thx, ben)

How people spend their timeAug 04 2009

Great interactive graphic from the Times depicting how people spend their time.

How to get The Sartorialist to shoot youJul 13 2009

A handy flowchart: how to get your photo taken by The Sartorialist. If you're a man and you have pants: "cuff 'em, roll 'em, make 'em too short".

Salary vs performance in baseballJul 02 2009

Ben Fry just updated his interactive salary vs performance graph that compares the payrolls of major league teams to their records. Look at those overachieving Rays and Marlins! And those underachieving Indians, Mets, and Cubs!

Flip Flop Fly BallJun 22 2009

Flip Flop Fly Ball is a marriage of baseball fandom and an enthusiasm for infographics. While not strictly baseball, this comparison of the sizes and shapes of sports balls is a favorite.

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