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This seems like a straightforward question, but it’s proven to be a difficult one to answer. Even visualization researchers don’t have a clear definition.
Is it synonymous with information graphics? Does visualization have to be computer generated? Does data have to be involved, or can it be abstract? The answers vary depending on who you ask.
Visualization is a medium. It’s not just an analysis tool nor just a way to prove a point more clearly through data.
Visualization is like books. There are different writing styles and categories, there are textbooks and there are novels, and they communicate ideas in different ways for varied purposes. And just like authors who use words to communicate, there are rules that you should always follow and others that are guidelines that you can bend and break...
Graphic designer Mark Gonyea, who previously explored a new way of counting, has a new project that gives the alphabet a mathematical reinterpretation.
More info at the link.
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.
As Facebook buys Oculus and Sony reveals its own VR device, Dezeen investigates what the resurgence of this old school technology means for designers.
Oculus VR was already big before Facebook bought the virtual reality headset maker for $2 billion. "Oculus has the potential to be the most social platform ever," said Mark Zuckerberg in a call to Facebook's investors, while his announcement post painted a picture of the world donning headsets to watch tennis, study in classrooms and consult with doctors.
Facebook sees Oculus Rift as a chance to profoundly transform communication, and to the gaming industry it's a generational leap in electronic entertainment. But there's more to virtual reality. It's as much a creative tool for designers and architects, as it is a new medium for designers to explore, and a close and personal way of experiencing the creations of others...
The ultimate list of Tumblr blogs about data visualization, cartography and data journalism
It looks like Tumblr is becoming more and more popular in the data visualization community, and the task of gathering 90 of these blogs revealed itself to be a bit more challenging that we expected. News outlets are using it, designers created their portfolios on it, and of course, lots of curating blogs on topics that range from data journalism to vintage visual goodies...
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.
When you’re in a big city humming with activity, it’s not unusual to feel like the world revolves around you. On each trip to a new place, artist Isidro Blasco climbs up to the tallest buildings and documents what exactly “the world” looks like through the city’s eyes.
The result: the “Planet” series, which takes us to the bubbles of places like New York, São Paulo, Sydney, and Madrid.
The artist assembles photographs into meticulously circular panoramas. Reminding us that Photoshop techniques have origins in the physical world, each series is painstakingly incised and trimmed by hand. The three-dimensional works challenge perceptions of our everyday "orbits" through their creative use of representation.
More at the link.
If you've ever wondered which country was the most popular tourist destination, wonder no longer—this map shows which countries get the most visitors every year.
It might surprise you to find out that France is the most popular destination, welcoming in 81,400,000 visitors every years. That's nearly 20 million more visitors annually than the U.S. which comes second.
Find more information at the link.
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.
An artist has created a hand-drawn map of the Internet, where Google, Apple, and porn are continents.
The world of the Internet mirrors the real-world in myriad ways: there are members (we call them populations), websites (destinations to visit), acquisitions of companies (redrawn political boundaries). So what if the Internet could be visualized like our global politics?
That’s exactly what designer Martin Vargic did in this cartographic experiment which treats mega-companies such as Google, Microsoft, HP, and Apple like empires, on a classic world map. To explain the dominance and relationships of these entities, Vargic created a visual hierarchy that gives prominent treatment to companies with the most users (or sites with the most visitors), surrounding them with smaller states and townships named after adjacent businesses.
More details at the link...
This series of images by architectural rendering studio Hayes Davidson envisages how London's skyline might look in 20 years time.
Over 200 towers with a height of 20 storeys or greater are planned in the UK capital over the next two decades and Hayes Davidson has visualised how these new buildings will appear alongside existing skyscrapers such as Renzo Piano's The Shard and Norman Foster's The Gherkin.
The images were created for an exhibition opening later this year at New London Architecture (NLA) entitled London's Growing... Up! which will chart the growth of tall building construction in London since the 1960s and look at the impact skyscrapers will have on the city in the near future.
"As London's population gets bigger and bigger, and new development for London takes place within the constraints of the green belt, we have to increase the density of the city," said Peter Murray, who is chairman of NLA and the exhibition curator.
An in-depth look at how scientists are visualizing dark matter.
Though the Hayden Planetarium has been bringing visitors on visual voyages for years, its most recent space show celebrates both the known and unknown corners of life—from the matter that surrounds us to the anti-matter, or dark matter (matter that doesn't emit or absorb light, yet still has a gravitational force), which we're just beginning to understand. The program brings viewers from 3D-renderings of space crafts and the Milky Way, all the way into space 100 million light years away—the place where the Hubble Telescope first noticed that the universe is expanding due to dark matter. Dark Universe then offers viewers the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dive into the dark energy responsible for the cosmic growth of everything.
To see inside this (literally) universe-expanding work of art and science, The Creators Project took a look behind-the-scenes of Dark Universe, and interviewed the production specialists at at GOTO Inc, the 3D-modelers at HiFi 3D, and even celeb-scientists Neil deGrasse Tyson and Modecai-Mark Mac Low.
More at the link.
Sightsmap forms an aggregation of the most photographed buildings by integrating Google's Panoramio, which allows users to tag a location or attraction within their photo.
In a colorful gradient of purples, reds, and yellows, the website reveals the most photographed places around the globe. Broad patches of purple coincide with a lesser amount of photographs, while smaller clusters of yellow reveal the locations where people can't seem to put their cameras down. Unsurprisingly, the densest areas of yellow are the world's most popular tourist spots − including New York City and cities across Europe such as Istanbul.
Sightsmap is more than just a map of tourist destinations however; it also shows the close connection between architecture and what inspires people to take photos. Sightsmap forms an aggregation of the most photographed buildings by integrating Google's Panoramio, which allows users...
Here's a fun language web toy to while away your afternoon. Type in an English word, and you'll see a map of how that word translates in different parts of Europe.
James Trimble created the European Word Translator, which uses Google Translate to source its translated words. He notes that the system isn't perfect; some of the words may be incorrect, and sometimes it may pull words that are used in non-European dialects of the language. Plus, it only provides one translation per language per word—so watch those words that have more than one meaning in English. Still, it's a fun way to track similarities and differences across languages—and to find lots of quick translations.
Visit the link for more examples.
At this year’s CeBIT computer trade fair in Hannover, Germany, the world’s most impressive and eccentric new technology has been on display. But the massive data visualizations on display at the fair’s CODE_n exhibition in Hall 16 have turned heads with their artistry, execution and scale.
CODE_n bills itself as an international initiative for digital pioneers, innovators and groundbreaking startups. This year, it is focusing on big data. The elegantly complex visualizations that fill the exhibition hall’s more than 3,000 meters of wall space were designed to physically depict data on this immense scale.
More details at the link.
Robin Edwards, a researcher at UCL CASA, has created these stunning topographic maps using the high resolution elevation data provided by the British Oceanographic Data Centre. The transitions from black (high areas) to blue (low areas) give the maps a slightly ethereal appearance to dramatic effect.
Have you ever found yourself sitting on your flight, pondering your very existence in the grand scheme of things? Not necessarily on a spiritual level, but in terms of how small we really are. This stunning video by NATS.aero represents each plane flight as a tiny, speck, like a migration of glowing fireflies.
Science may be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be ugly. These images, from a new exhibit at the British Library, show how beautiful scientific data can be.
The exhibit features classic illustrations dating to 1603, including John Snow’s map of London’s SoHo that’s credited with revealing a contaminated water pump as the source of a 1854 cholera outbreak. There also are beautiful modern visualizations of data from satellites and gene sequencers. The exhibit, Beautiful Science: Picturing Data, Inspiring Insight, runs through May 26.
An experiment from Nairobi with implications for the urbanizing world.
As transit systems go, the "matatus" in Nairobi exist somewhere between underground gypsy cabs and MTA bus service. The minibuses themselves aren't owned by any government agency. The fares aren't regulated by the city. The routes are vaguely based on a bus network that existed in Nairobi some 30 years ago, but they've since shifted and multiplied and expanded.
Not surprisingly, many passengers on board know little about them, either. Riders who navigate the matatu system rely on it in parts, using only the lines they know and the unofficial stops they're sure actually exist. As for the network as a whole – there's never even been a map of it...
From up in the sky, the world that we know seems simplified, yet profound and the way architects and urban planners have shaped the earth comes sharply into view.
Astronauts have described this phenomenon as the "overview effect," citing the psychological impact of seeing the Earth from outer space. The Daily Overview, a new website launched last month, aims to share their sense of awe by posting one satellite photo of the Earth every day.
Founder Benjamin Grant and his team have chosen to focus on the built environment, "shining a light on the areas where our human activity—for better or worse—has shaped the landscape."
'One of our favorite annual traditions at Shutterstock is sharing our hard-earned design-trend data with the world. For this, our third annual infographic, we used data from our 350 million all-time downloads to explore recent and emerging trends from around the globe.
Check out the infographic at the link, and scroll on to view a lightbox featuring images showcased in the design.
Calendars are a fairly well-understood, unquestioned form of linear organization. Rarely is the format questioned or challenged, but once you see this new interactive circular calendar produced by creative agency Column Five and hosted by SportsInteraction, you’ll wonder how you ever thought you’d understand the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics without it.
The incredibly intuitive calendar sorts the Sochi events by sport and date. Each color represents a sport while each ring representing a day, all of which is completely interactive and has the events listed by an American time zone for our stateside convenience.
As the information becomes available, the calendar will have more country and competitor data listed, along with results being continuously updated.
Bristol-based creative agency Fiasco Design has put together aninteractive map of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
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.