Flowing Data

Ben summed it up last week, “I love graphics” and trying to put numbers and data into images. Unfortunately this semester I have been plagued by a malaise for rushing through things and not taking ownership, leaving my work on display lacking. GOOD Magazine has a section each month with some of the coolest displays of information. The clip above is a new one from them that displays presidential actions in the first 100 days. A timely piece considering the momentous election that I’ve hardly taken time to comment on, and which I will still postpone here.

Some of the best and most formal advice with regard to presenting information comes from Edward Tufte, who (after looking around his website) seems proud of himself and in love with his dogs. Nonetheless he knows how to blend information and art. Some of the graphs sell for hundreds of dollars on his website. I have to admit that even though I don’t know what this is telling me, I really think this Japanese Weather map is cool.

Another site that is doing great things with data and maps is called Flowing Data. They do more in the way of putting up time-lapse animations that can show the spread of things (like Walmart), as well as add roll-over content for web-based maps. Many of the examples eventually release code which then allows more users to incorporate the design with their own data. Lauren and I recently did such a thing with some data from here job using an app called Timemap. Many online news sources are getting equally savvy in displaying their data (leaps and bounds from the infamous USA today infographics).

In addition to displaying data, innovations are also appearing for obtaining new sources of data. You may remember a post awhile ago on a Facebook add-in called Lexicon that allowed you to track the appearance of selected terms on people’s walls. Yesterday the inboxes of many were ablaze with stories of how Google is using a similar idea to track flu. Google FluTrends is a formalized project for Google.org, Google’s philanthropic unit that aims to save the world (I wouldn’t put anything past them).

2 thoughts on “Flowing Data

  1. Sup — my pops gave me the Tufte books some time ago. If you ever want to borrow ’em, let me know. I’ve flipped through, and it is pretty cool stuff.I’ve also got a great set of DVDs, Planet Earth, you should borrow someday.MV


  2. I would be interested in taking a look at them. I somewhat remember looking through them one day at your house. Also, I heard < HREF="http://vargocity.blogspot.com/2007/03/planet-earth.html" REL="nofollow">Planet Earth<> is awesome. I really want to check it out.


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