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visual data
learning, conceptualizing + communicating data with infographics, visualizations, etc...
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Solarium: Enter the Sun in New NASA Video Installation

Inside the Solarium, a video installation by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), you can enter the belly of the sun without worrying about frying to a crisp. In fact, the dynamic visuals of the giant star’s turbulent gas atmosphere exploding and erupting on the walls of the Goddard Space Flight Center's Visitor Center are surprisingly serene.

Since Feb 11, 2010, SDO has been watching the sun, taking one picture a second, and collecting data to trace how materials enter into the layers of the corona, the massive aura that surrounds the sun. Paired with audio crafted from 40 days of data from the now-defunct Michelson Doppler Imager, the creators adjusted SDO’s vast collection of solar images to “elicit a calming, soothing and mesmerizing experience,” with each minute of footage taking around 10 hours to complete. 

From records of images as binary code, through computer translations of the data into black-and-white pictures, a coloring process that highlights different wavelengths of ultraviolet light, and finally motion graphics and video softwares, bringing the Sun to the Earth was no easy feat—but Solarium was well the effort.

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Get Lost in Endlessly Repeating GIFs Based on Mesmerizing Math

There’s mesmerizing art hidden in math and physics, and Dublin-based physics student David Whyte is revealing it for us. His Tumblr site Bees & Bombs is chock full of creations that will delight you with their cleverly looping geometry in motion.

Whyte started his blog to create quirky GIFs he’d created himself – but when he started experimenting with Processing (an open source programing language created with the purpose of teaching the fundamentals of computer programming in a visual context), that’s when his creations really started to dance.

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6 Sources of Data – and Inspiration – for Your Visual Content

6 Sources of Data – and Inspiration – for Your Visual Content | visual data |

Six in ten of us are visual learners: people who learn best when information is delivered through the eyes; by looking at images or videos, or reading. That’s just one of the reasons why visual content is so important in today’s content marketing world.

But constantly churning out visual content presents a challenge: you need to find meaningful data to fuel that content and, more importantly, you need to find stories within that data that tie into your brand’s values and strategic goals.

VIsit the link for six easy ways to find your next standout piece.

Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, May 16, 2014 8:49 AM

Make it visual and be seen.

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This Interactive Sochi Calendar Completely Reinvents How We Understand Scheduling

This Interactive Sochi Calendar Completely Reinvents How We Understand Scheduling | visual data |

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.

Patrice Mitrano's curator insight, February 13, 2014 4:36 AM

lien vers le calendrier interactif :

Andreas Maniatis's curator insight, February 13, 2014 8:23 AM

Self explicit! The actual interactive visualization module cannot be accessed from sites in Greece, though, as it is hosted on a Games gambling site, blocked at least by our provider. Pitty.

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Use Infographics To Boost Your Credibility And Traffic

Use Infographics To Boost Your Credibility And Traffic | visual data |

According to Wikipedia, infographics are “graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly.”

Simply put, it means taking data, organizing it, and making it visually digestible by converting it into graphs, charts, maps, and visual stories. Without having to read large amounts of text, the viewer can easily process the information that is being shared and is given the chance to explore a topic in a highly engaging way.

Visit the link to learn why and how infographics work, the benefits of infographics and the process behind creating them, including best practices and examples...

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These Interactive Maps Compare 19th Century American Cities to Today

These Interactive Maps Compare 19th Century American Cities to Today | visual data |

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.

Gordon Shupe's curator insight, September 3, 2013 8:24 AM

I love interactive maps, and history is fascinating... let's take a look!

Sue Bedard's curator insight, September 5, 2013 8:09 AM

Great for comparrison and reasoning

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Design Resources: Web-Based Color Tools

Design Resources: Web-Based Color Tools | visual data |

One of tne of the most important things designers work with is color. Every element they draw, type, or generate with a computer, gets a color. It is impossible to create anything visual without making color decisions. And to make things harder, estimates of the total number of discernable colors range from one hundred thousand to ten million. Add issues of human perception and color vision deficiency, and you could get a headache doing anything with colors, let alone building a color scale for data.

Luckily, you have some great tools at your disposal to help with color decisions. These tools incorporate different approaches, so each one is good at slightly different things. There are two main classes of tools for dealing with color. The first class is intended to help with design decisions, and the second class covers data driven color scales.

Ehab Roufail's curator insight, July 31, 2013 10:49 AM

Great online tools for colour selection with a difference.

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The Future of Infographics: Better Ways to Present Content

The Future of Infographics: Better Ways to Present Content | visual data |

In terms of visual data and design, instead of making the content or story fit into an infographic, we need to consider what is the best way to present the data or story.

What medium does the content best lend itself to?

To make this shift in finding better ways to present content, we need to change our mindset and our language. When we talk about infographics, we should categorically refer to them as creative pieces to help being confined to a predetermined content format. These formats can include videos, quizzes and other interactive elements that will make the infographic stand apart from the masses.

Visit the link for some strategies and examples of infographics that are on the right path and take an approach that is different than most of the infographics on the web.

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The Past & Future of Infographics

The Past & Future of Infographics | visual data |

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...

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Which infographic is right for you?

Which infographic is right for you? | visual data |

That’s right, there’s more to infographics than a scrolling image full of facts and figures. Different types of infographics are consumed differently.

The right kind of infographic should match your data to your narrative and ensure that people take away your message after reading it.

While infographics may not come in that many shapes or sizes (600 x 1,800 pixels is the norm), that doesn’t mean there’s a stock standard infographic for you.  

Use the flowchart to help you decide which infographic is right for you...

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Infographic: Shutterstock’s Global Design Trends 2013

Infographic: Shutterstock’s Global Design Trends 2013 | visual data |
Explore Shutterstock's annual design trends infographic to find out what the biggest trends of the year will be.

Shutterstock licenses more images than anyone on the web, allowing for some pretty insightful trend forecasting.

After creating the first design-trends infographic last year; this year's incorporates increased data and images, and provides a more in-depth look at what to expect in the year ahead.
Check out the full infographic at the article link, then read on for 10 favorite takeaways...

Minna Kilpeläinen's curator insight, April 13, 2013 11:46 AM

Nice infographic about design trends in different countries. In some way these trends tend to be somewhat predictable.

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Under the Radar: Keeping Ads from Ruining a Great Infographic...

Under the Radar: Keeping Ads from Ruining a Great Infographic... | visual data |

There’s no mystery here: companies want to sell things. Increasingly, they’re turning to infographics to do it. But overt advertising undermines everything infographics do best. Instead of informing and delighting the viewer with valuable data portrayed with graphical verve, ads cheapen and annoy. More often than not, they land the project deep in the Internet’s vast wasteland of unshared content.

Infographics aren’t just ads dressed up in new shoes, they’re something else: a refreshing, informative, fun, and shareable tool for communication that we can actually enjoy consuming. Also, when done right, infographics can still help bolster a company or product’s public image.

Here are some oh so subtly advertorial infographics that show you how to get the balance right...

Aurélia-Claire Jaeger's curator insight, March 21, 2013 12:52 PM

Il n'y a aucun mystère: les entreprises veulent vendre. De plus en plus, elles se tournent vers l'infographie pour le faire. 
Mais l'intention publicitaire trop clairement affichée couplée avec une réalisation à l'économie nuit souvent à ce que l'infographie peut faire de mieux. Au lieu d'informer et de ravir le "spectateur" avec des données précieuses dépeintes avec brio, de nombreuses publications ennuyeuses ou banales vont simplement rejoindre la vaste friche de contenus non partagés sur internet.

Nous sommes inondés de publicité tous les jours, partout où nous regardons. Les annonces sont si répandues qu'elles ont perdu beaucoup de leur pouvoir. Les Infographies ne sont pas simplement des publicités habillées de nouveaux costumes, elles sont quelque chose d'autre: un outil informatif, rafraîchissant, amusant et partageable. 
Lorsqu'elles sont bien faites, les infographies peuvent encore contribuer à renforcer une image ou un produit. Voici quelques exemples qui vous montrent comment obtenir le bon équilibre.

(Traduction faite maison)

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Infographics: Harnessing the Power of Visual Communication

Infographics: Harnessing the Power of Visual Communication | visual data |

Is there any way to explain why a traditional post on Twitter containing text information obtains approximately 60 Tweets, while the same data displayed with infographics receives close to 600 Tweets?

Research has proven that the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. We decode language in a linear (and therefore slower) manner, yet we are able to process multiple images simultaneously. There are physiological reasons why we prefer visuals: the human retina comprises over 150 million cells. The neurons we use for vision make up 30% of our grey matter; neurons for touch comprise only 8% and neurons for hearing, a mere 3%.

Every single infographic has the potential to reach some 15 million people, especially when linked to the world’s most powerful social networking sites, and marketing professionals are fully aware that when it comes to emotionally connecting and engaging clients, visuals are the way to go...

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A 100-year Old Debate: Science or Art in Data Visualization?

A 100-year Old Debate: Science or Art in Data Visualization? | visual data |

When did people first start writing about effective ways of visualizing data?

Your answer might go back to the 1980s (Edward Tufte, perhaps) or even further back into the 1960s (Jacques Bertin, maybe). Few people would go back so far as 100 years ago. That’s right: one hundred years ago...

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A Visual History of Satellites

A Visual History of Satellites | visual data |
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.

Patrice Mitrano's curator insight, May 27, 2014 8:07 AM

Frise chronologique très impressionnante et détaillée (par type d'orbite de satellites) !

paul babicki's curator insight, July 25, 2014 7:21 PM

An incredible graph!

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The History Of Graphic Design, In Icons

The History Of Graphic Design, In Icons | visual data |

Pop Chart Lab's latest poster pays homage to the most important eras in graphic design.

Start at the top, left-hand corner, of A Stylistic Survey of Graphic Design, and read from left to right. Each era (say, Arts & Crafts or Art Nouveau) is represented by a rectangular box that includes several squares that graphically represent the style described. The Modern movement, one of the largest movements depicted here, includes Bauhaus, Vorticism, De Stijl, New Typography and Istotope, Constructivism, Suprematicsm, and Futurism. Pop Chart creates, within each stamp-sized box, a visual representation of that particular style, with the design elements that prevailed at the time. So the Constructivism box echoes the intense Soviet Party posters from the 1920s, the Futurism box has a bold, attention-grabbing arrow on it, and so on.

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How Does Data Visualization Work?

How Does Data Visualization Work? | visual data |

Data visualization is an amazing tool. The data we deal with daily would be almost entirely inaccessible when locked up in numerical formats. Luckily, data visualization can help us to extract information, insights, or even knowledge from that data. It relies on the remarkable human visual system that turns visible light into meaningful semantics that inform our decisions.

More details on the human visual system, visual metaphors, visual context, exploration and presentation at the article link.

Gordon Shupe's curator insight, November 18, 2013 9:53 AM

Excellent overview - this is a resource to save and use!

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To Go from Big Data to Big Insight, Start with a Visual

To Go from Big Data to Big Insight, Start with a Visual | visual data |

Although data visualization has produced some of the most captivating artistic displays in recent memory, some of which have found their way into exhibits at the New York Museum of Modern Art and countless art installations around the world, business leaders are asking: is data visualization actionable?

Advanced digital R&D teams are figuring out how we can draw actionable insights from big data by documenting every tweet, retweet, and click from Twitter and Facebook that points to New York Times content, and then combining that with the browsing logs of what those users do when they land at the Times.

Asking important questions is essential to moving forward effectively with big data. Without visualization, we are much less efficient in getting to the questions whose answers teach us something. That's why visualizing data must be one of the most important tools for data scientists.

More at the link...

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40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World

40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World | visual data |

If you’re a visual learner, then you know maps, charts and infographics can really help bring data and information to life. Maps can make a point resonate with readers and this collection aims to do just that.

A few of these maps are important to know, some interpret and display data in a beautiful or creative way, and a few may even make you chuckle or shake your head.

If you enjoy this collection of maps, the Sifter highly recommends the r/MapPorn sub reddit. You should also check There were also fantastic posts on Business Insider and Bored Panda earlier this year that are worth checking out. Enjoy!

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Infographic: A Beautiful Calendar Designed Around 12 Different Types Of Measurement

Infographic: A Beautiful Calendar Designed Around 12 Different Types Of Measurement | visual data |

Calendars come in all sorts of forms, from the purely functional apps on our smartphones to the propped-up desktop ones that are mostly just a means of delivering a new Far Side joke every day. The Units of Measure Calendar Poster, as its name suggests, isn’t the most straightforward one to categorize. Or even one that’s easy to recognize as a calendar at all.

It doesn’t leave any room for you to jot down appointments, though it does include all 365 days, which you can notch off one by one. Mostly, it’s just an exquisite graphical compilation of 12 different units of measurement, a tightly packed collection of diagrams and conversion tables and other neat looking things of the sort.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, July 27, 2013 8:34 PM

Useful for thinking about measurement AND its limitations.  ~  D

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These Wonderful 3D Infographics Are Taller Than You

These Wonderful 3D Infographics Are Taller Than You | visual data |

Belgian studio Coming Soon is all about making it big. Their Hand Lettering creations filled a giant chalkboard with letters in a variety of fonts and styles. And with Infographics XXXL, they’ve taken actual graphs and blown them up to a huge size for a client that specializes in the research of nanobodies.

The result is that, instead of casually glancing at the same old pie chart or bar graph, shareholders have something to keep their gaze on the numbers, like a blurry scientist walking by human-size bars or holding up a literal piece of the pie.

See a selection of Coming Soon’s giant infographics at the article link.

Jennie Munson's comment, May 1, 2013 10:57 AM
very cool
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Visual Design: Understanding Color Theory and the Color Wheel

Visual Design: Understanding Color Theory and the Color Wheel | visual data |

Sometimes the toughest step in building a new website or redesign can be the conceptual ones. Selecting a color palette is one of them that can be tough if you don’t have the right tools. So where do you start?

It all comes down to basic color theory and the color wheel. That same tool that teachers used in school really is the basis for how designers plan and use color in almost every project from the simplest web page to expansive brands with multiple sites and campaigns...

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A Guide to Infographic Elements

A Guide to Infographic Elements | visual data |

When it comes to visualizing data, it’s important to pick the right graph and the right kind of data range. Make it too detailed, and information gets lost and the reader leaves confused. Too simplified, and your data’s integrity is weakened.

Choosing the right infographic element shouldn’t be an art but common sense. After all, it’s an infographic – readers should get the gist of things at first glance and not have to get crossed-eyed in making sense of things...

Lauren Moss's insight:

General reference for basic visualization design elements, applications, and best practices...

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Seeing Color Through Infographics and Data Visualizations

Seeing Color Through Infographics and Data Visualizations | visual data |

Color is a crucial part of our visual experience.

It indicates many things in our lives, from the ripeness of a banana, to how someone is feeling, to which subway line we should be on.

Not everyone sees colors the same way, and colors have drastically different meanings in different cultures, but one thing we all have in common: color is important. These visualizations all show us different things about colors.

Visit the original article for over a dozen infographics and links related to color psychology, trends and various uses and applications.

Sylvie Mercier's curator insight, March 27, 2013 6:32 AM

Très joli !

Sara McLean, Allied ASID, CMG's curator insight, April 17, 2013 11:49 PM

visualizing color in unique ways is always a treat for the senses

Robin Martin's curator insight, April 28, 2013 8:26 PM


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Infographic: An App That Maps The Web In Real Time

Infographic: An App That Maps The Web In Real Time | visual data |

Mankind loves making maps, and the world wide web, densely interconnected and phenomenally complex, always makes for a nice visual.

Typically these take the form of neon blobs floating against black backgrounds, like frames captured from old Winamp plug-ins, and while they’re always nice to look at, they don’t always do much in the way of helping us understand the massive global network we traverse every day. This latest effort, however, is a little different. Called simply Map of the Internet, it’s as informative as it is beautiful.

The map, which takes the form of a free app for Android and iOS, features 22,961 of the Internet’s biggest nodes--not individual websites, but the ISPs, universities, and other places that host them--joined by some 50,000 discrete connections. The app gives you two ways of surveying it all: geographically, on a globe, or by size, which rearranges the nodes into a loose column of points. Both views are interactive; instead of showing the Internet as a static neon blob, the app lets you explore the neon blob in the round, with all the familiar multitouch gestures. It may not look like the Google Maps app, but it instantly feels like it, which makes exploring the underbelly of the web all the easier...

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