From products to services, services to products
Jun 11th, 2009 by analyticjournalism

Interesting discussion of, fundamentally, how the Digital Revolution drives the flow from products to services and services to products. Ergo, touches on much of what is at the core of SFComplex. See….
The New Negroponte Switch — “Designing things that think they are services, and services that think they are things”. Matt Jones presentation gushing with great ideas for the “Web Meets World” change. I love the evolving printed map they made for the British Council at Salone di Mobile. A five course meal with port and insulin shots for thought.

The JavaScript InfoVis
Jun 6th, 2009 by analyticjournalism

An interesting beginning for a potentially valuable and interesting tool….

Javascript Infoviz Toolkit — Treemaps, Radial Layouts, HyperTrees/Graphs, SpaceTree-like Layouts, and this Javascript suite for building data pretties. Higher-level than processing.js. (via O'Reilly Radar and chrisblizzard on Twitter)

  • Multiple Data Representations

    Treemaps, Radial Layouts, HyperTrees/Graphs, SpaceTree-like Layouts, and more…
  • Major Browsers Support

    IE6+, Firefox2+, Safari3+, Opera9.5+
  • Open Source

    Licensed under the BSD License
  • Library Agnostic

    You may use the JIT with your favorite DOM manipulation framework
  • Extensible

    All visualization classes are mutable, so you can easily add/override any method you want.
  • Composable

    Visualizations can be combined in order to create new visualization methods.”


Good Magazine Inforgraphics archive
Jun 3rd, 2009 by analyticjournalism

 Good magazine often produces informative and innovative infographics.  Eighty of those works are now on Flickr.  Be sure to drill down into the thumbnails to see the work in detail.  Go to:

GOOD Magazine · Sets

Transparency: Where Are All the Fish?

An archive of Transparencies that have run in past issues of GOOD and on our blog.

We post a new Transparency every Tuesday on

80 photos | 43,395 views

items are from between 04 Apr 2008 & 02 Jun 2009.

New levels of data aggregation
Jun 2nd, 2009 by analyticjournalism

We've been noticing since the first of the year the results of some very creative and sometime brilliant aggregation sites. (Do we need a new phrase for this format?)  These sites are richer than Google mash-ups in that they allow far more control by the user.  Some, like or, also require various degrees of data entry by the user, sometimes with with a surprising degree of detail, both personal and specific.   Mapumental, below, pushes the limits of this evolution.

mySociety blog » Say hello to Mapumental

By Tom Steinberg on Monday, June 1st, 2009

We’ve been hinting for a while about a secret project that we’re working on, and today I’m pleased to be able to take the wraps off Mapumental. It’s currently in Private Beta but invites are starting to flow out.

Built with support from Channel 4’s 4IP programme, Mapumental is the culmination of an ambition mySociety has had for some time – to take the nation’s bus, train, tram, tube and boat timetables and turn them into a service that does vastly more than imagined by traditional journey planners.

In its first iteration it’s specially tuned to help you work out where else you might live if you want an easy commute to work.

Francis Irving, the genius who made it all work, will post on the immense technical challenge overcome, soon. My thanks go massively to him; to Stamen, for their lovely UI, and to Matthew, for being brilliant as always.

Words don’t really do Mapumental justice, so please just watch the video 🙂 Update: Now available here in HD too

Also new: We’ve just set up a TheyWorkForYou Patrons pledge to help support the growth and improvement of that site. I can neither confirm nor deny that pledgees might get invites more quickly than otherwise 😉

Open Source Data Visualization Framework – Axiis
May 23rd, 2009 by analyticjournalism

 Yet again, Nathan at FlowingData corrals a good application tool/tip….

Open Source Data Visualization Framework – Axiis

Posted by Nathan / May 22, 2009 to Software, Statistical Visualization / 6 comments

Open Source Data Visualization Framework - Axiis

Axiis, an open source data visualization framework in Flex, was released a few days ago under an MIT license. I haven't done much in Flex, but from what I hear, it's relatively easy to pick up. You get a lot of bang out of a few lines of code. Axiis makes things even easier, and provides visualization outside the built in Flex graph packages.

Axiis gives developers the ability to expressively define their data visualizations through concise and intuitive markup. Axiis has been designed with a specific focus on elegant code, where your code can be just as beautiful as your visual output.

Above is the wedge stack graph. Here's your standard area graphs:

See what other visualizations you can create with Axiis here.


"Interaction Design Pilot Year Churns Out Great Student Projects"
May 9th, 2009 by analyticjournalism

Another interesting post from “FlowingData

Interaction Design Pilot Year Churns Out Great Student Projects

In a collaborative initiative between Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design and The Danish Design School, the Interaction Design Pilot Year brings together students and faculty from various disciplines for a unique brand of education.

The Interaction Design Pilot Year is a full-time intense curriculum that includes a number of skills-based modules (such as video prototyping and computational design), followed by in-depth investigations in to graphical/tangible interfaces and service design.

The end result? A lot of great work from some talented and motivated students. There are a number of project modules, but naturally, I'm most drawn to the interactive data visualization projects. Here are a few of the projects.

>Find much more in the student gallery.”



Designing for Big Data
Apr 29th, 2009 by analyticjournalism

Much of this is well-known by those of us who have worked with dataviz for the past decade or two, but his ending conclusions are solid and worth reviewing.

Key quote from Jeffrey Veen: “We need to create tools to help people manipulate THEIR data.”

 Good examples of how to use large data sets to find and tell stories and, if desired, to answer YOUR questions about the data.

Video: Designing for Big Data

This is a 20-minute talk I gave at the Web2.0 Expo in San Francisco a couple weeks ago. In it, I describe two trends: how we're shifting as a culture from consumers to participants, and how technology has enabled massive amounts of data to be recorded, stored, and analyzed. Putting those things together has resulted in some fascinating innovations that echo data visualization work that's been happening for centuries.

I've given this talk a few times now, but this particular delivery really went well. Only having 20 minutes forced me to really stay focus, and the large audience was very engaged. I'll be giving an extended version of this talk in June at the UX London conference, with a deeper look at how we integrated design and research while I was at Google.


How the right kind of data visualization could lead to new research questions or insights.
Dec 30th, 2008 by analyticjournalism

Nathan, over at, posts this interesting data visualization from the Baylor College of Medicine. No, it probably doesn't give a science writer a story in itself, but the concept of taking a complex data set and illustrating that data with the right tool — in this case, Circos — good generate some interesting reporting vectors. For example, could Circos show us something about traffic patterns? Ambulance or fire department response times? We're not sure, but we hope someone could probe this a bit.

Researchers Map Chaos Inside Cancer Cell

Posted by Nathan / Dec 29, 2008 to Network Visualization / 2 comments

Researchers Map Chaos Inside Cancer Cell

The thing about cancer cells is that they suck. Their DNA is all screwy. They've got chunks of DNA ripped out and reinserted into different places, which is just plain bad news for the cells in our body that play nice. You know, kind of like life. Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston have compared the DNA of a certain type of breast cancer cell to a normal cell and mapped the differences (and similarities) with the above visualization.

The graphic summarizes their results. Round the outer ring are shown the 23 chromosomes of the human genome. The lines in blue, in the third ring, show internal rearrangements, in which a stretch of DNA has been moved from one site to another within the same chromosome. The red lines, in the bull's eye, designate switches of DNA from one chromosome to another.

Some design would benefit the graphic so that your eyes don't bounce around when you look at the technicolor genome but it's interesting nevertheless.

Check out the Flare Visualization Toolkit or Circos if you're interested in implementing a similar visualization with the above network technique.


Flickr's Burning Man Map Uses Open Street Map
Aug 28th, 2008 by Tom Johnson

Brady Forrest, at O'Reilly's Radar, tips us to an interesting mash-up of Flickr, Open Street Map and the  Burning Man festival.  Why not use this idea for local festivals — fairs, classic car rallies, an introduction to a new shopping center?

Flickr's Burning Man Map Uses Open Street Map

Posted: 26 Aug 2008 07:38 PM CDT

flickr osm brc map

Flickr is best known for its photo-sharing, but increasingly its most innovative work is coming from its geo-developers (Radar post). Yesterday they announced the addition of a street-level map of Black Rock City so that we can view geotagged Burning Man photos. Flickr got the mapping data via Open Street Map's collaboration with Burning Man.

yahoo brc map

Flickr uses Yahoo! Maps for most of their mapping (and fine maps they are). The underlying data for them is primarily provided by NAVTEQ.
NAVTEQ's process can take months to update their customers' mapping
data servers. For a city like Burning Man that only exists for a week
every year that process won't work. However, an open data project like
Open Street Map can map that type of city. To the right you can see
what Yahoo's map currently looks like.

This isn't the first time Flickr has used OSM's data. They also used it to supplement their maps in time for the Beijing Olympics. I wonder if Yahoo! Maps will consider using OSM data so that their sister site doesn't continue to outshine them (view Beijing on Yahoo Maps vs. Flickr's Map to see what I mean). OSM's data is Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

In other geo-Flickr news they have added
KML and GeoRSS to their API. This means that you can subscribe to
Flickr API calls in your feed reader or Google Earth. (Thanks for the
tip on this Niall)

If you want to get more insight into Flickr's geo-thinking watch their talk from the Where 2.0 2008
conference after the jump.

Dynamic charts and graphs on your web site
Aug 27th, 2008 by Tom Johnson

A new Web 2.0 tool came across our desk today.  Widgenie supplies a basic, but effective way to quickly get some elementary dataviz images up on your page(s).  Note, however, if you go to the demo page there will be three or four different links for tutorials.  They are all the same content.  Lets hope these guys give us more riches soon.  In the meantime, “MrExcel” gives a slightly richer tutorial on his site here.

Widgenie empowers everyone, from bloggers to business people, to
quickly visualize data and share it in many different ways. Now you can
publish data in the places you already know and love, places like
iGoogle, Facebook, WordPress, and even your own website. We combine all
the power of an enterprise-level business intelligence platform and
provide it in a convenient Web 2.0 widget.

It's simple to get started, all you need is the Internet, a browser and an understanding of your needs. Are you:

  • A blogger who wants to make their latest poll data pop right off the page?
  • A marketing rep who needs to share sales figures without waiting for IT?
  • A Sales manager who wants his team to update their own client data?
  • A soccer coach who needs an easier way to display the most recent stats?

If so, then widgenie is the service for you. With just a quick rub of
the lamp, all your data can easily be visualized and shared with
everyone who needs it. Best of all, you can do it all by yourself! And it's free!

Plug In. Data, data everywhere

Widgenie makes it easy to create a widget out of any data including:

  • Excel spreadsheets
  • CSV files
  • Data feeds from our data partners learn more

one-click upload process makes it easy to upload your data to our
service. Once the data is here, widgenie allows you to customize your
data to only display the columns and fields you want to see. Best of
all, when your data changes, it's easy to re-upload your data so all of
your widgets will have the latest information in real-time.

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