kottke.org posts about infoviz

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.

Politics of the Supreme CourtJun 18 2009

A very interesting infographic of the ideological history of the Supreme Court from 1937 to the present. The color coding on the map is weirdly inaccurate but you can still be general trends pretty well...like how many of the justices changed greatly during their terms. William O. Douglas became slightly more moderate mid-term and then got really liberal while Rehnquist went from very conservative to more moderate as his term went on, especially after he became Chief Justice.

OT: I knew there was a Burger on the bench but was unaware of Justice Frankfurter (1938-1961).

Update: Alex Lundry designed the visualization and got in touch to explain the color coding.

The colors are chosen based upon the Min, Max, and Median of the area we are comparing. So, in the first view, the "overall" view, the darkest Red is anchored to the maximum ideology number across all justices and all terms, the darkest Blue is anchored to the minimum score, and the purest white is anchored to the actual median number (The Location of the Median Justice is NOT necessarily the actual median, as it is calculated via a Bayesian statistical estimate).

The second "compare" option, "within each seat, row" calculates separate color anchors for each row.

Similarly, the third compare option, "within each year, column" calculates separate color anchors for each column.

The Location of Median Justice and Court Average are not included in these calculations and their color values are set to what they would be in the overall comparison.

Update: Burger, Frankfurter, Salmon. (via @kurtw)

Nice infographicsJun 17 2009

Infographics News collects some lovely infographics from a new Portuguese newspaper called i.

The style of infographics follow the general design created by Javier Errea: no fireworks, modern, compact, with cromatic impact but smart. And the Innovation spirit: "newspapers must be daily magazines", as Juan Antonio Giner says.

(via max gadney)

How to be happy in businessJun 05 2009

Bud Caddell summarizes how to be happy with your work in the form of a Venn diagram consisting of three main overlapping areas: What We Do Well, What We Want to Do, and What We Can Be Paid to Do. (via today and tomorrow)

GOOD infographicsJun 01 2009

GOOD Magazine has created an archive of their excellent infographics on Flickr. Lots of inspiration here. (via design observer)

Indy 500 car trackerMay 28 2009

The Indianapolis Star did a really nice car tracker for the Indianapolis 500. Just push play and watch the race unfold. I was struck by how few changes in position there were...you'd think people would be passing each other all the time but that's just not the case. (thx, nathan)

The hump of irrelevanceMay 15 2009

By Meg Pickard, a graph of the lifespan of Twitter trending topics compares "people talking about #topic" and "people talking about talking about #topic". Outside of Twitter, this applies to pretty much any popular newsworthy topic...the news quickly moves from "we're telling you about Topic X" to media coverage of the media coverage of Topic X. See: Twitter's own coverage in the media currently. (thx, @ davidfg )

NYC subway ridership trends mappedMay 08 2009

Mike Frumin took the NYC subway ridership data from all the way back to 1905 (!!) and graphed it on a map, with a sparkline of the ridership data for each stop. Frumin explains the project a little more here.

The result, after much whacking, is, I think, compelling, but you'll have to see for yourself. The general idea it that the history of subway ridership tells a story about the history of a neighborhood that is much richer than the overall trend. An example, below, shows the wild comeback of inner Williamsburg, and how the growth decays at each successive stop away from Manhattan on the L train.

Update: Here's another representation of the same data. In this one, the ridership numbers are represented by the thickness of the subway line.

It hurts when I peeApr 17 2009

From a German book called Elektroschutz in Bildern, a collection of illustrations detailing a number of ways that people can get electrocuted and the path that the electricity takes through their bodies.

Pee Electric

Photo by Bre Pettis. (via jacket mechanical)

What's up?Apr 16 2009

Sprint would like to show you a video of what's happening right now. (via swiss miss)

Reducing your water usageApr 10 2009

Good magazine has a nice chart with advice on reducing your water footprint. Meat = really really not good.

Who rides the M8 bus?Apr 02 2009

Miranda Purves and Jason Logan recently surveyed a bunch of riders of bus and subway lines that the MTA is attempting to eliminate because of a budget crisis. Don't miss the associated PDF. Related: London tube seat hierarchy and morning subway demographics.

Internet blowhardsMar 24 2009

Here's a handy flowchart to figure out which new media blowhard you are. I am "Try Again".

Infographic bloopersMar 09 2009

I believe these are the first infographic bloopers I've ever seen.

A collection of accidents that happened while working on maps and other graphics.

From the NY Times.

Greek to me but not to youMar 03 2009

When confronted with an incomprehensible language, an English speaker might say "it's all Greek to me" while a French or Finnish speaker might say that it sounds like Hebrew. Here's a flowchart that illustrates the different incomprehensibility relationships (discussion here). The most stereotypical incomprehensible language appears to be Chinese. (via strange maps)

Garrett Lisi's Theory of EverythingFeb 18 2009

You may remember reading the New Yorker article on Garrett Lisi, a surfer, physicist, and snowboarder who came out of nowhere in 2007 to present a plausible Theory of Everything, "a unifying idea that aims to incorporate all the universe's forces in a single mathematical framework". I do but I missed this visualization of Lisi's theory posted by New Scientist in late 2007. You may want to break out the bong for this one. (thx, matt)

The market movement in 2008Feb 18 2009

You may remember the Google Motion Chart from Hans Rosling's TED talk about Gapminder. Now 26 Variable has used the chart to graph the movement of the stocks in the S&P 100 in 2008. The strange thing is that with the default settings, you're left with the impression that those stocks were more up than down over the year...if you ignore all the dots sliding to the left towards zero market cap.

1930s Hollywood star powerFeb 05 2009

A visualization of the top 10 Hollywood stars from 1936 to 1945.

For three years, from '36 to '38, Shirley Temple was the country's top box-office star, and then Mickey Rooney had the title from '39 to '41. (And then it was Abbott & Costello.) Imagine. Temple and Rooney knew how to entertain, for sure, but the last thing you could call moviegoers back then, to judge by their six-year reign, was urbane or sophisticated.

Super Bowl tweets mappedFeb 03 2009

The NY Times has a timeline map showing what people from around the country said on Twitter during the Super Bowl broadcast. I like the emoticons tab but they also should have included a profanity tab.

Music from stock chartsFeb 02 2009

Johannes Kreidler took the data from recent stock charts, fed it to Microsoft Songsmith, and produced melancholy tunes. It's like the Visualizer in iTunes, only backwards. Ben Fry says of the project:

My opinion of Songsmith is shifting -- while it's generally presented as a laughingstock, catastrophic failure, or if nothing else, a complete embarrassment (especially for its developers slash infomercial actors), it's really caught the imagination of a lot of people who are creating new things, even if all of them subvert the original intent of the project. (Where the original intent was to... create a tool that would help write a jingle for glow in the dark towels?)

Obama's personal annual reportJan 15 2009

Dopplr is doing 2008 personal annual reports for all their users that shows "data, visualisations and factoids" about their 2008 travel. They've also done one for Barack Obama on his behalf that you can download for free. Obama took a whopping 234 trips in 2008 and traveled 92% of the distance to the moon!

Pictures of Numbers blogNov 12 2008

Pictures of Numbers is infrequently updated, but the subject matter is timeless and the archives are worth a look.

Pictures of Numbers is a book-project-in-progress, consisting of practical tips and techniques for busy researchers on improving their data presentation.

100 Presidential daysNov 10 2008

A comparison of the words & deeds of the first 100 days of every President since Roosevelt.

Final update to election mapsNov 10 2008

I added 16 new maps to the 2008 Election Maps page in what is probably the final update. Big thanks to everyone who sent in maps.

Democrats trending upwardNov 06 2008

Since the 1980 presidential election, more people voted for the Democratic candidate in each successive election than in the previous one...that is, Mondale got more votes than Carter, Dukakis more than Mondale, Clinton more than Dukakis, etc. The vote for Republicans has been a bit more erratic.

The counter-intuitive comparison of all thingsOct 29 2008

The goal of the creators of The Big Chart, The Counter-Intuitive Comparison Institute of North America (CICINA), is to find the single best thing in the world through an NCAA basketball tournament-style bracketing system. This video explains their plans.

Is the Bilbao Guggenheim better than McDonald's french fries?Are penguins better than Miracle Grow? Can anything beat heated seats on a cold November day?

(via design observer)

How many coins?Oct 27 2008

Earlier this evening, I needed to take some coins that had been piling up to the Coinstar machine. Before I left, I uploaded a photo of the coin bags to Flickr and queried the masses: how much money in the bags?

How did the crowd do? Certainly not as well as the villagers at the 1906 livestock fair visited by Francis Galton.

In 1906 Galton visited a livestock fair and stumbled upon an intriguing contest. An ox was on display, and the villagers were invited to guess the animal's weight after it was slaughtered and dressed. Nearly 800 gave it a go and, not surprisingly, not one hit the exact mark: 1,198 pounds. Astonishingly, however, the median of those 800 guesses came close -- very close indeed. It was 1,208 pounds.

Nate Silver I am not, but after some rudimentary statistical analysis on the coin guesses, it was clear that the mean ($193.88) and median ($171.73) were both way off from the actual value ($426.55). That scatterplot is brutal...there are only a handful of guesses in the right area. But the best guess by a single individual was just 76 cents off.

To be fair, the crowd was likely misinformed. It's difficult to tell from that photo how fat those bags were -- they were bulging -- and how many quarters there were.

Touchscreen folliesOct 27 2008

SNL's Fred Armisen shows off his interactive touchscreen skills on some political maps of the US.

Check out Michigan...I can make it bounce.

Nice commentary on TV news anchor busywork. See also Anderson Cooper's magic pie chart. (And sorry, Hulu = US viewers only.)

Update: For non-US viewers, here's an alternative link that includes the clip in question and a bunch of other stuff. And please don't yell at me for using Hulu...it's often the only alternative and it's relatively easy to watch outside of the US. (thx, nebel)

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