Data is Beautiful


An irregular round-up of inspirations and disruptions in advertising, social, urban play and human computer interaction.

Joe Hellerstein, a computer scientist at the University of California in Berkeley, calls it “the industrial revolution of data”. Data is everywhere. And it is beautiful.

Data is changing our lives, re-inventing online storytelling and influencing pretty much every industry — business, art, entertainment, music, technology.

Here’s some faves…

Information Journalism:

An absolutely brilliant and horrific infographic and piece of journalism, Out of sight, Out of mind, is timeline of drone strikes in Pakistan, from July 2004 to December 2013
http://drones.pitchinteractive.com/

No conversation on data on the web would really be complete without mentioning d3.js — the amazing javascript library created by Mike Bostok, former New York Times data editor. Most data projects you see online today are built with d3.js, or a subset of the library.

The One Tech Buzzword Every Journalist Should Know:

Hans Rosling made data cool at his now famous Ted talk (he’s since using d3) where he presented data that debunked several myths about world development:

https://medium.com/media/6198e2f3ce572271221722d2714e6fe4/href

He now also has his own BBC show, The Joy of Stats:

https://medium.com/media/de6a1c724f7735854b49416b95c775d6/href

A Time-Lapse Map of Every Nuclear Explosion Since 1945. Scary:

https://medium.com/media/e4d109e396c592bfb37f1dbcf8190733/href

More great D3 examples:
Mapping US gun deaths: http://data.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/gun-deaths

2012 NBA finals visualised: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/06/11/sports/basketball/nba-shot-analysis.html

How many years do you have left to live: http://flowingdata.com/2015/09/23/years-you-have-left-to-live-probably/

Daily routines of famous creative people: https://podio.com/site/creative-routines

Google’s awesome Music Timeline: http://research.google.com/bigpicture/music/

Quantified Self:

Nicolas Feltron, one of the lead designers of Facebook’s timeline, spent years tracking everything about himself (initially meticulously recording his life in analogue and later by building an app), and turning them into annual reports, in many ways spearheading the current Lifelogging/Quantified Self movement.

https://medium.com/media/0096abfe8092ae4023178834daab4393/href

Check out the beautiful reports here: http://feltron.com/

More quantified self:
http://ericboam.com/Seven-Months-of-Sleep-1
http://ericboam.com/2014-A-Year-In-New-Music
https://jehiah.cz/one-four/

Federico Zannier sold his data for $2 a day using Kickstarter and managed to make $2,733, sharing his keystrokes, mouse movements and even providing a screenshot every 30 seconds. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1461902402/a-bit-e-of-me/description

Data coup helps you sell your personal data https://datacoup.com/
Personal data value calculator: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/927ca86e-d29b-11e2-88ed-00144feab7de.html#axzz2z2agBB6R

Data as Activism:

I love the simplicity of this work by Tim Devin, a public art project which simply involved putting up small posters containing data about Boston and L.A as well as street surveys to encourage public conversation.
http://timdevin.com/broadsides.html

I’ve mentioned Golan Levin and the F.A.T Lab before (because I’m a massive fanboy and sadly the art project has closed down). Infoviz Graffiti helps you to create your own infographic street art:
http://www.flong.com/blog/2011/on-infographic-street-art/
http://fffff.at/infoviz-graffiti-stencil/

Chris Jordan is an artist who uses large scale photography to present data. The above picture is from his exhibition “Running the Numbers”, using stacks of prison uniforms to represent the number of people incarcerated in the US.

https://medium.com/media/7186ff2a2a49388f990012c2c5596f24/href

More public art and activism infographics:
Community data visualised as street art: http://visualisingmillroad.com/

Bear 71 is a first-person documentary centred on a grizzly bear tagged and tracked in Canada’s Banff National Park http://bear71.nfb.ca/#/bear71

Ellie Balk’s public art viz: http://elliebalk.com/#/cityofemotion/

GPS and Tracking:

Just Landed is a Twitter visualisation of people moving around the world by plane. The visualisation searches for tweets containing the phrases ‘just landed in…’ or ‘just arrived in…’ and then plots the journey based on the location of the tweet and a person’s home location. It was developed in Processing by Jer Thorp, a data artist and lecturer at NYU’s ITP program and one of my one of my favourite data people.
http://datavisualization.ch/showcases/just-landed-a-twitter-visualization-in-processing/

https://medium.com/media/046e72323db9914cad15cd6866bfd4ef/href

More on Jer Thorp:
Explore the galaxy using a Minority Report-like interface: http://www.fastcodesign.com/1669702/explore-the-galaxy-using-the-actual-minority-report-interface
Into the Okavango before, is also worth checking out if you haven’t seen: http://intotheokavango.org/

https://medium.com/media/74e333e930b4d074d48825cea1c6ac0f/href

Micro-geolocation:

Playing with micro-geolocation and tracking conference delegates through wifi, and visualising their movements and connections, a project I did a few years ago. Interesting because a Wifi can actually be used to triangulate people’s location pretty accurately.
http://radarboy.com/george/internetix.php

More GPS goodness:
A day in the life of a taxi: http://nyctaxi.herokuapp.com/

Visualising the MTA in New York:

https://medium.com/media/30cd08f3a2c2f4f78e1536dfcb0fcbfe/href

Drawing with GPS: http://urbantick.blogspot.sg/2009/06/gps-data-visualization-variations.html

Invisible cities visualises social network activity: https://www.schemadesign.com/invisiblecities/

Reconstructing the city of Savannah using LEGO bricks and visualising movement: http://www.coryimig.com/projects/24vxlnrcuk3zix354lzdds0hzvxw4u

Data as Storytelling:

Sex education done in a beautiful and engaging way, an oldie but a real goodie, BBC Channel 4’s Sexperience is a filterable encyclopaedia of the UK’s sexual experiences. Unfortunately, they’ve recently taken down the site, but here’s an overview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yka077KbbH8&ab_channel=core77inc

Here is Today is a simple but brilliantly effective data visualization on time: http://hereistoday.com/

In a similar vein, not so pretty, bust still impressive is the scale of the Universe: http://htwins.net/scale2/

More data storytelling:

A nation divided: http://zeit.de/feature/german-unification-a-nation-divided

NY Times 2013 roundup: http://www.nytimes.com/newsgraphics/2013/12/30/year-in-interactive-storytelling/#dataviz

Data As Art:

Artist and media hacker and F.A.T Lab co-founder, Evan Roth’s Skymall Liberation is an project visualising inflight catalogues.
http://www.evan-roth.com/work/skymall-liberation/
http://ni9e.com/skymall_liberation.php

Dillon Marsh uses compositing to visualise the production output of South African mines: http://www.dillonmarsh.com/

Sensible Data, is a machine that playfully interprets and leaks your personal data
http://www.creativeapplications.net/arduino-2/sensible-data-a-machine-that-playfully-interprets-and-leaks-your-personal-data/

The Happy Show by Stefan Sagmeister, an exhibition that uses loads of data viz in an attempt to define and control happiness: http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2013/08/the-happy-show-by-stefan-sagmeister/

We Feel Fine, by Jonathan Harris harvest the expression of feelings from the blogging world. It searches for the word ‘feel’ and extracts the entire sentence, together with details about the blogger such as gender, age and location.

We Feel Fine / by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar

And finally, one of my favourite interaction design studios and public artists, Greyworld, developed The Source at the London Stock Exchange, a massive public installation for visualising movement in the stock market:
http://greyworld.org/archives/31

Ok then, well that’s a mass (and treasure trove) of stuff to wade through. Hope you enjoyed.

Follow me if you please:

Instagram: www.instagram.com/radarboy3000/
Website:
radarboy.com/george/
Medium:
https://medium.com/@radarboy3000/
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/radarboy_japan


Data is Beautiful was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


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