Real life data visualization is to be an upcoming trend, called physical infographics or real world visualization. They visualize data with real objects, often combined with typography.
Real Life Infographics are different than other inforgraphics in that they rely much more on photographs instead of a purely digital medium. Moving away from the Everthing-Is-Possible-Unicorn-Utopia of Illustrator is an interesting limitation, as well as a simplifying one. As designers we like to come up with creative ways to display information that will still blow your mind, despite any technical limitations. The real world isn't perfect, and therefore it may not be as accurate as abstract shapes like graph bars. Even though these visualizations still strive for accuracy, you will notice that the context of these graphics will become much more important than precision.
Sightseeing popularity heatmaps for the whole world, based on Panoramio photos, Wikipedia and FourSquare.
Karen Bastien's insight:
The heatmap shows the places people like, based on the number of panoramiophotos at each place in the world. The dark areas have few photos, the red areas have more and the yellow areas have a large number of photos geotagged.
The hottest places have markers linking photos, streetview, wikipedia, wikivoyage, foursquare and google plus articles about the site. The place names are selected by the wikipedia readership numbers and foursquare checkins. Area populations are based on the geonames database.
Street level heatmaps are available for top 15000 places in the world, sorted by the number of photos in an area of a size of a few square kilometers around the place center. The popularity ranking of places in high-res area maps is computed by combining place hotness with popularity rankings from wikipedia, foursquare and real-time google places selection.