Best of the visualisation web… April 2013

At the end of each month I pull together a collection of links to some of the most relevant, interesting or thought-provoking web content I’ve come across during the previous month. Here’s the latest collection from April 2013.


Includes static and interactive visualisation examples, infographics and galleries/collections of relevant imagery.

Information is Beautiful | Good use of venn diagram to explore the different strains of flu

CNN Money | Personal Space – How much space each person has in some of the world’s major cities

Berliner | Hopefully my translation stands up, I believe this is the flight paths and positions above the city of Berlin.

New York Times | Animated pixellated Venn diagram (yes, I made that up) to visualise the diseases that often overlap for the elderly

Moritz.Stefaner | Moritz explores the gender balance in the speaking line ups at conferences in visualisation and related fields

New York Times | Jonathan Corum’s animated project to illustrate ‘Kepler’s Tally of Planets’

Washington Post | Starting the mini-collection of coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, here’s the timeline of investigation from the WaPo…

New York Times | …the NYT’s ‘Hunt for the Boston Bombing Suspects’…

New York Times | …and their incredibly researched audio recordings of some of those involved…

Source | … A good collection of all the key ‘visual explanations’ about the marathon bombing from Erin Kissane on Source

Chesapeake Bay | Multi-faceted project to visualise the Chesapeake Bay Grasses

Distance To Mars | April seemed to be a month of visually portraying ‘big’ things: concepts, numbers, distances, populations but none of them worked for me, particularly in the browser where change blindness occurred. Anyway, a lot liked it out there so included for record…

hereistoday | …here’s another titled ‘here is today’

Northeastern University | ‘The Twitter of Babel’ – mapping world languages through language usage on Twitter

Vision of Humanity | Updated index of peace across US, UL and global Terrorism index (work by Scott Murray, amongst others)

Guardian US | ‘Violence and guns in best-selling video games’

Business Insider | Collection of work by Eric Fischer: ’21 Maps Of Highly Segregated Cities In America

CitiesInOneWord | Simple idea but I like it, describe a city in one word then see the perspective build up for each city. Not keen on the square word clouds though, more could have been done.

SFStreets | ‘A history of San Francisco Place Names’

Data Remixed | Another great demonstration of Ben’s Tableau skills, this time on baseball pitching

Information Aesthetics | ‘Where is the King? Live Crowd Visualization of Amsterdam’

skepchick | Nice investigation into the comparable ages of leading men and women in movies

Knight Center | ‘Journalists need to learn data visualization and infographic design skills to complement their message’ (When I saw the title I thought this is one for Alberto Cairo. Then I read that it was from the mouth of Alberto!)


The emphasis on these items is that they are less about visualisation images and are more article-focused, so includes discussion, discourse and interviews

Eager Eyes | In ‘The Revolution Will Be Visualized’ Robert discusses the recent deployment of visualisation for particularly emotive subject matter

Peachpit | Similar theme… Alberto Cairo’s post about ‘Emotional Data Visualization: Periscopic’s “U.S. Gun Deaths” and the Challenge of Uncertainty’

Michael Babwahsingh | Michael discusses ‘New Modalities of Understanding’

Augify | Another similar theme… ‘Designing understanding: Our obsession with visualization stems from our understanding of humans as visual beings’

Well-Formed Data | Moritz triggers an interesting series of discussions and responses about the concept of storytelling with data visualisation and specifically the ideas that every good visualisation has to tell a story.

Nick Diakopoulos | ‘Storytelling with Data: What Are the Impacts on the Audience?’

Weather.AOL | ‘NASA’s Robert Simmon on Transforming Science Into Art’

Harvard Business Review | From the HBR series on visualisation, great piece by Irene Ros/Adam Hyland ‘When Creating Visualizations, Question Everything’

Stories Through Data | Super post by Chris Twigg exploring ‘The reader and reading data visualisation’

Scientific American | Interesting to learn about the science behind the different reactions of reading paper versus screens

Eager Eyes | Useful primer about the different between continuous and categorical data…

Eager Eyes | …and another good piece from Robert about continuous values and baselines

BBC News | Deepwater Horizon: Surviving the oil spill – interactive video

VisualLoop | ‘Talking with… Paolo Ciuccarelli: A fantastic conversation with one of the minds behind Density Design’

Density Design | ‘Information Visualization on the Move. A Brief and Initial Overview’

Pacific Standard | ‘Creatures of Coherence: Why We’re So Obsessed With Causation’

jnd | Preface: ‘Design of Everyday Things, Revised Edition’

The Functional Art | ‘Making your message visible: Trend lines in scatter plots’

Perceptual Edge | Stephen Few asks, and answers, ‘what makes a chart boring?’

Social Media Week | On the subject of gender balance: ‘Announcing Gender 50/50: Striving for Balance Among Social Media Week’s Global Community of Men and Women’

Four Four Two | ‘Bayern 4-0 Barcelona: The story in Stats Zone screens’

Stephen Wolfram | Stephen Wolfram’s long form analysis of the world of Facebook

BBC R&D Blog | ‘Visualising near-real-time iPlayer usage data’

Perceptual Edge | Stephen proposes an interesting new concept for encoding values in geospatial displays using ‘bricks’…

Perceptual Edge | …with a noble follow up to concede concern for certain shortcomings…

Infodez | …and Francis Gagnon puts in a great effort to conceive a further alternative using concentric circles and to convince (or otherwise) Mr Few of its merits!

Learning & Development

These links cover tutorials, learning opportunities, case-studies, how-tos etc.

GraphicsInfo | Process narrative behind the SCMP’s ‘Picasso’s Painting’s infographic

Postgraphics | Behind the scenes narrative of the Dow 30 tax burden graphic

Peltier Tech Services | Jon describes a workaround/tutorial for creating dot plots in Excel

The Why Axis | Guest post from Jon Schwabish describing a tutorial to create a chart remake in Excel

Charts’n’Things | Design process behind the NYT’s graphic about baseball strikeouts being on the rise

Juice Analytics | Data Storytelling: The Ultimate Collection of Resources

Tapestry | The collection of videos of the talks at Tapestry conference

Case.Grafix | Analysis of the SCMP graphic about the Kowloon Walled City

School of Data | Presentation video and slides, ‘Data visualization guidelines’ by Gregor Aisch at the International Journalism Festival

Charts’n’Things | Second entry this month, another great process narrative about the NFL draft interactive graphic

Vimeo | Video of Bret Victor’s talk titled ‘Stop Drawing Dead Fish’

Subject News

Includes announcements within the field, brand new sites, new (to me) sites, new books and generally interesting developments.

GitHub | Newly released Vega providing a ‘higher-level visualization specification language on top of D3’

Simon Rogers | Simon Rogers announces his leaving of the Guardian and move over to Twitter

Kevin Schaul | Hexagons are all the rage right now, here’s a command line tool to ‘better visualize crowded dot density’

ICIDS 2013 | Call for papers for the ‘The 6th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling’

gmunk | Perhaps off-topic slightly but a fascinating collection of Bradley G Munkowitz’s work, over a decade, as a Design Director for the motion graphics industry

Stories Through Data | Storytelling and Data Visualisation – interview with Amanda Cox

Guardian Data Blog | ‘Doing good with data: why Datakind is launching in the UK’


Any other items that may or may not be directly linked to data visualisation but might have a data/technology focus or just seem worthy of sharing

Tableau Public | Data Art in it’s purist sense: Andy Cotgreave creates a Kraken out of arranged bubbles using Tableau Public.

Twitter | “What Twitter will look like on the day that Thatcher dies”

YouTube | Video showing how the Opta team harvest data from football matches on match day

+Labs | Hyperlapse video of Google Street View images around the world

New York Times | Not from our friends in the graphics dept. but the worst graphics you’ll see in the NYT…

Timo Elliott | Introducing ‘Data Visualization? Bling It On!’ (note the post date, before you go any further)

FastCo Design | ‘An Introduction To The Internet From 1995’

Cool Infographics | ‘8 New Punctuation Marks We Need’

Guardian | Just an inspirational article about creativity, discipline, passion, perseverence. James Rhodes: ‘Find what you love and let it kill you’

FastCo Design | ‘An Ingenious Cookbook Uses Infographics Instead Of Words’