Best of the visualisation web… March 2016

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 March 2016.


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

BBC | ‘Life and death in Syria: Five years into war, what is left of the country?’

Andy Woodruff | ‘Beyond the sea’ – “What’s really across the ocean from you when you look straight out? It’s not always the place you think.”

McKinsey | ‘Breaking down the gender challenge’

CNN | ‘China: Beijing man photographs three years’ worth of smog from his window’

Behance | ‘Chirming: Visualising bird song’

Flag Stories | Comprehensive analysis of every conceivable attribute of the flags of the world

Muyueh | Visually exploring the assumption that ‘different languages have different ways to describe color.’

The Upshot | ‘Measuring Donald Trump’s Mammoth Advantage in Free Media’

FiveThirtyEight | ‘Merrick Garland Is The Oldest Supreme Court Nominee Since Nixon Was President’

Proof Reader | ‘Most characteristic words in successful and unsuccessful petitions’

Onformative | ‘Porsche BlackBox online visualization of driving experience 2015’

Mike Kelley | “Wake Turbulence”, the cover page project as seen on PhotoViz – ‘Photographing every departure at LAX’s south complex’

National Geographic | ‘See Where Access to Clean Water Is Getting Better—and Worse’

Washington Post | ‘The end of the U.S. oil boom, told through one Texas company’s bust’

ProPublica | ‘Hell and high water’

WSJ | ‘The Delegate Simulator’

Bloomberg | ‘Virtual Gridlock: Relive the Agony of D.C.’s Metro Shutdown’

Washington Post | ‘Why flying is awful, explained using your sad, lonely apartment’


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

Nieman Lab | ‘A new data viz tool shows what stories are being undercovered in countries around the world’

Matthew D Harris | ‘Boxplot or not to boxplot: Woeful example’ – “How to visualize numerous distributions where quantiles are important and relative ranking matters?”

Medium | ‘Data visualisation: what’s next? The trends of data visualisation are forever shifting and changing as the data climate evolves at an ever faster pace.

FT | ‘Explore the changing tides of European footballing power’

Nieman Lab | ‘From “service desk” to standalone: How The New York Times’ graphics department has grown up’

Gestalten | ‘What is PhotoViz?’ – interview with co-editor Nick Felton about this fascinating new book

ProPublica | ‘Infographics in the Time of Cholera’

Markets for Good | ‘The Trials and Tribulations of Data Visualization for Good’

Medium | ‘Process and Progress: A Practitioner’s Perspective on the How, What and Why of Data Visualization’

Redheaded Step Data | ‘Color Innovation: This post imbues the importance of innovation with color in data visualization’

Medium | ‘That one free tool’

Juicebox | ‘The Future of Dashboards’

Nieman Lab | ‘The island of knowledge and the shoreline of wonder: Using data visualization to prompt exploration’

Medium | ‘The Myths of UX Design/ Product Design/Whatever They Call It This Week’

Prototypr | ‘Why Charting The Journey Is Just As Important As Charting The Data: Designing data visualizations for maximum impact’

Learning & Development

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

You Tube | Collection of videos from the Tapestry Conference 2016

You Tube | Collection of videos from the IRE/NICAR Conference 2016

Data Bender | Tableau tutorial for adding a very useful feature – ’45 degree reference line with dynamic axes’

Flowing Data | ‘Comparing ggplot2 and R Base Graphics: I look at differences in a side-by-side, from a practitioner’s perspective.’

PolicyViz | Episode #36: Xaquín González Veira

Viz Ninja | An interesting organisational perspective on establishing a visualisation capability, here focusing on ‘How to Build a Tableau Support Team’

Webkid | ‘How we created an interactive map with MapboxGL’

ProPublica | ‘How We Made Hell and High Water’

GitHub | Archi Tse’s talk at Malofiej 24 ‘Why We Are Doing Fewer Interactives’

Chrys Wu | Collection of Slides, Links & Tutorials from NICAR 2016

O’Reilly | ‘Programming for Designers: Learn to express your ideas in code with p5 and JavaScript’

Atchai | ‘The best web-based data visualisation tools’

Randal Olson | ‘The correct way to use pie charts’

Eager Eyes | Pie charts never drop from the radar… ‘Ye Olde Pie Chart Debate’

Visual Loop | ‘What’s Really Happening’, by Janelle Hall – describing an informational graphic poster describing a typical female college student’s lifestyle

Subject News

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

Above Chart | New site from Scott Klein, ‘The Above Chart Manifesto’ looking at some of the pioneering but forgotten history of data journalism

Twitter | ‘A structural shift? Yes, moving to printed pages with visualisations composed entirely in #d3…’

SandDance | From Microsoft Research, ‘by using easy-to-understand views, a touch-based interface, and animated transitions between views, SandDance helps you find insights about your data’

The Lisa Project | Lisa Rost, Knight-Mozilla OpenNews Fellow at NPR in Washington, is writing one blog post every day: “how do I judge my input and output? What did I learn today? And what questions still remain”


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

One Perfect Shot | ‘The cinematography of MR. ROBOT has re-written the rules for how to shoot episodic television. ‘

Boing Boing | ’25 GIFs that explain how things work’

New York Times | ‘A Short Puzzle to Test Your Memory’

MobilECG | The brilliant ‘MobilECG Business Card’

WSJ | ‘Classic New York Streetscapes, Then and Now’

Atlas Obscura | ‘Fascinating Photos from the Secret Trash Collection in a New York Sanitation Garage’

Independent | ‘It is hard being a columnist for eighteen years – here’s how I got through it’

You Tube | The Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan gets caught out by a chart on Newsnight

Time | ‘See Zaha Hadid’s Most Awe-Inspiring Buildings’

The Guardian | ‘The invention of the colour purple’

Quartz | ‘The world’s blackest color belongs to one person—and he’s Instagramming his victory’