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The 'extended urbanization' of space.
Right now, there are about 1,100 satellites whizzing above our heads performing various functions like observation, communication, and spying. There are roughly another 2,600 doing nothing, as they died or were turned off a long time ago.
How did each of these satellites get up there? And what nations are responsible for sending up the bulk of them?
The answers come in the form of this bewitching visualization of satellite launches from 1957 – the year Russia debuted Sputnik 1 – to the present day. (The animation starts at 2:10; be sure to watch in HD.) Launch sites pop up as yellow circles as the years roll by, sending rockets, represented as individual lines, flying into space with one or more satellites aboard.
More information at the link.
Throughout history, the best data visualizations have served as the public's window onto a complex world.
In a time when everything from the endangerment of the Juggalo to Carrie Bradshaw's shoe collection is turned into a clever little chart, it can be easy to dismiss infographics as trendy and inconsequential. But since ancient Greece, the best data visualizations have furthered popular understanding of science, serving as the nonacademic public’s key to knowledge. Some vintage infographics were even used as political tools, effecting social change through educational campaigns.
Beautiful Science: Picturing Data, Inspiring Insight, now on view at the British Library, takes us through the history of data visualization, focusing on themes of public health, weather, and evolution. From a millennia-old illustration of the “Great Chain of Being” to a 2008 NASA animation of the oceans' currents, we see how data visualizers have always sought to turn dense and impenetrable scientific information into accessible, beautiful images, using good design to make learning smoother.
Exactly 70 years ago this month the world’s first electronic programmable digital computer was created. It was called Colossus and was engineered in the UK by code breakers working during the Second World War.
Computers and their uses have changed significantly over the past 70 years – primarily government machines quickly proved their worth in the business landscape, and more recently they have become commonplace in homes too.
Akita, a London IT support company has produced a large interactive page and infographic to showcase the developments in technology. It can be viewed in full here: http://www.akita.co.uk/computing-history/ or as a static image at the link.
'Humans are good at a lot of things, but putting time in perspective is not one of them. It's not our fault - the span of time in human history, and even more so in natural history, are so vast compared to the span of our life and recent history that it's almost impossible to get a handle on it.'
View the information sources and data here.
The Smithsonian magazine recently dipped into David Rumsey's collection of over 150,000 maps to find some of the best representations of American cities over the past couple hundred years. With some simple programming, they were able to overlay images of vintage maps of some major cities onto satellite images from today. The results are fascinating.
If time is a river, the Histomap, first published by Rand McNally back in 1931, is a raging Mississippi. In that massive river of time, each of humanity’s great civilizations becomes a confluence that ebbs, wanes, and sometimes ebbs again, each a separate current in a river that inexorably rages down to the mouth of the present day.
Although certainly not modern, the Histomap is still a breathtaking example of good infographic design: A five-foot, roll-up chart that can fit an overview of human history on any wall. Starting in 2000 B.C. with seven different civilizations--the Aegeans, the Egyptians, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Iranians, the Indians, the Huns, and the Chinese--you travel forward or backward in time as your eyes move up or down 0.75 inches. Some civilizations bleed together, others are swallowed up; some surge, others crash...
From the big bang all the way to Usain Bolt’s 9.58 second hundred- meter dash record in 2009, French graphic designer René Mambembé takes us on a minimalist journey through history.
With clean, simple designs to represent each major event, looking through his work is almost like taking a history quiz to see how many key moments you can identify. After the dinosaurs and the Ice Age, Mambembé starts with Cubism in the 1900′s and goes decade by decade highlighting the most memorable occasions, ending with some likely predictions for the 2010′s. Brush up on your history by trying to label each minimalist design as you scroll through!
With 150,000 or so old print maps to his name, David Rumsey has earned his reputed place among the world's "finest private collectors." He continues to expand his personal trove as well as the digitized sub-collection he makes open to the public online — some 38,000 strong, and growing.
He's created a series of interactive maps that layer old prints onto the Google Earth and Google Maps platforms, and this summer he plans to launch a geo-referencing tool (similar to one recently introduced by the British Library) that lets users get involved in the digital mapping process themselves.
While preparing for this next expansion of his online map empire, Rumsey remains fascinated by "the power of putting these images up and letting them go," he says.
"Maps have a way of speaking to people very straightforward," he says. "You don't have to have a lot of knowledge of map history or history in general. To me they're perfect tools for teaching history to the public."
Every Wikipedia entry has an optional feature we take for granted--geotagging. An entry on the Lincoln Memorial will be linked to its specific latitude and longitude in Washington D.C. On any individual post, this may or may not be a useful thing. But what about looking at these locations en masse?
That was a question asked by data viz specialist and programmer Olivier Beauchesne. To find out, he downloaded all of Wikipedia (it’s open-source, after all) then used an algorithm that would assemble 300 topical clusters from popular, related keywords. Then he placed the location of each article in these topical clusters on a map. What he found was astounding...
There’s so much we know that we’ll never see. We can extrapolate the concept of the Big Bang--the explosion of everything in the universe from a focused point.
So projects like Beginning, an animation by Grzegorz Nowiński from Novina Studio, are remarkably important. It tells a sort of good parts version of the history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the rise of humankind. Not only is the piece pure visual delight filled with stark textures and fine particle effects that look particularly stunning when projected on water, Beginning is a grounding piece of context--somewhat imagined, sure--but the sort of imagined thing that very much centers our perspective of reality. The average person sort of knows what the Big Bang looked like because of projects like this one, even if Beginning is far more stylized than photoreal.
Lauren Moss's insight:
This project is an intriguing visualization incorporating sound, photography, and projection- view the animation at the link (FastCompany) and read more on the process involved in creating this 4.5 minute history of the universe...
This infographic visualizes the spectacular rise of the Internet in the last 10 years and how some companies have failed to adapt to the changes.
Here’s an interesting infographic that has been making the rounds across social media for the last two weeks. It visualizes the spectacular rise of the Internet in just 10 years. In 2002, the Internet boasted 569 million users, which translated to 9.1% of the world’s population. In 2012, that number has gone through the roof: There are now 2.27 billion users, or 33% of the world’s population.
Another formidable stat is the amount of time people spend online — in 2002, it was only 46 minutes a day (about the time it took to download four songs); in 2012, it’s four hours a day.
View the infographic and read more at the link...
Yet another creation has rolled off the powerhouse infographics assembly line over at Pop Chart Lab, and this time, the indefatigable taxonomizers of alcohols and famous quotes have turned their attention to works of architecture.
The Schematic of Structures organizes what the designers describe as "90 eminent edifices erected and perfected throughout history." Arranged by height, the infographic lines up some of the greatest works envisioned and built by man since prehistory, from the Neolithic Cairn of Barnenez and the Parthenon to more modern creations like London's Gherkin and the Burj Khalifa.
Manuel Lima's The Book of Trees takes us back to the earliest, nature-inspired frameworks of data visualization.
The first great Age of Infographics took root 1,000 years ago inspired variously by quests to categorize scientific knowledge, organize Greco-Roman scholarship and, weirdly, trace family bloodlines so that aristocrats could avoid incest as defined by Vatican rule-makers.
Manuel Lima's illustrated history The Book of Trees (Princeton Architectural Press) chronicles how Medieval-era designers instinctively used trunk and branch diagrams to impose order on the explosion of new data. One millennium later, tree-based graphics continue to pack considerable punch as information delivery systems.
If you walk the streets of London often enough, it’s easy to forget the massive amount of history that surrounds you. But, just looking up can send your head spinning into the past again. From the giant dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral, to the towers of Westminster Abby and the quiet banks of the Thames in Greenwich, almost every view of the old city is filled with stories from the past. Redditor shystone recently when on an internet odyssey using classic paintings from the city’s history and matching them up with modern day views from Google Street View.
Each example here is filled with fascinating details and obvious comparisons in life separated by centuries… even if the buildings remain the same.
More images and information at the link.
Often, complex stories are more easily communicated, understood and, ultimately, remembered, when they take visual form.
Aside from data and words, infographics use images and graphical representations. Those key elements – images, words and numbers – operate as a system for simplifying information, revealing new patterns, and producing new knowledge in various fields. In fact, they might not have always been called “infographics,” but info/data-based visualizations have always been around.
A new exhibition charts how powerful abstract drawings – from Le Corbusier's radiant city to the US township grid – have defined the nature of urban development.
An exhibition opened this month in San Francisco that charts the visual history and influence of the planning diagram, from the radial spokes of the garden city wheel to the New York set-back rule.
Grand Reductions: 10 Diagrams That Changed City Planning argues that these simple, abstract illustrations are "iconic distillations of values, policy agendas and ideologies".
"Planning indulges in the same world of image making that artists and advertisers do," writes Andrew Shanken, professor of architecture and urbanism at UC Berkeley. "Every plan is an act of persuasion, an argument for an alternative way of life that attempts to posit or convince an audience of that alternative."
VIsit the link for a look at five diagrams that have had a lasting impact on the way cities and countrysides are shaped.
It’s easy to admire Matthew Picton’s paper sculpted maps simply for their fine craftsmanship and close resemblance to the famous cities they represent – but you’d be missing so much hidden in the details.
Beyond the exquisitely folded ribbons of paper forming the delicate maps are tales from each city’s storied past: floods, fires, wars. Each element has been carefully researched and woven into the final sculpture, from the paper used to create it, to the destruction Picton often revisits on the cities.
It could be argued that early caveman actually invented infographics.
It wasn’t until 1626, however, that infographics were published in the book Rosa Ursina Sive Sol by Christoph Scheiner. His illustrations clearly and concisely demonstrated the rotation patterns of the Sun. After that, infographics appeared regularly in a variety of other publications.
In the 1970’s, The Sunday Times, an award-winning British newspaper, began using infographics to make the news more interesting. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, other newspapers began following suit.
By the turn of the 21st century, new technologies emerged that enabled a host of companies to create infographics quickly and easily. Infographics slowly began making their way onto websites, in magazines, products and games...
Data visualization is not a new phenomenon. For centuries, artists and historians, educators and scientists have been creating illustrations to better communicate complex information.
From Emma Willard’s “Picture of Nations” to Dimitri Mendeleev’s Periodic Table, historical infographics continue to inspire and educate today. Here is a look at some of the most influential and beautiful infographics from the 19th century...
A visual history of human sensemaking, from cave paintings to the world wide web.
100 Diagrams That Changed the World by investigative journalist and documentarian Scott Christianson chronicles the history of our evolving understanding of the world through humanity’s most groundbreaking sketches, illustrations, and drawings, ranging from cave paintings to The Rosetta Stone to Moses Harris’s color wheel to Tim Berners-Lee’s flowchart for a “mesh” information management system, the original blueprint for the world wide web.
But most noteworthy of all is the way in which these diagrams bespeak an essential part of culture — the awareness that everything builds on what came before, that creativity is combinational, and that the most radical innovations harness the cross-pollination of disciplines.
'The visual representation of data has gone through a number of phases, with its goals switching back and forth between analysis and presentation over time.
The first uses of graphics to represent data, interestingly, were very bare and abstract, and at the same time were mostly tools for communication. The abstract nature of these early charts is surprising when you consider the amount of ornamentation and decoration that was common with even simple household objects in the early to middle of the 19th century.'
The article goes on to briefly describe and provide examples for the following eras of 200 years in visualization theory and practice:
A recommended read for anyone interested in a short history of data analysis and means of visual communication.