Data Visualization: Modern Approaches

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Data presentation can be beautiful, elegant and descriptive. There is a variety of conventional ways to visualize data – tables, histograms, pie charts and bar graphs are being used every day, in every project and on every possible occasion. However, to convey a message to your readers effectively, sometimes you need more than just a simple pie chart of your results. In fact, there are much better, profound, creative and absolutely fascinating ways to visualize data. Many of them might become ubiquitous in the next few years.

So what can we expect? Which innovative ideas are already being used? And what are the most creative approaches to present data in ways we’ve never thought before?

Let’s take a look at the most interesting modern approaches to data visualization as well as related articles, resources and tools.

1. Mindmaps

Trendmap 20071

Web Trends 20072

Informationarchitects.jp3 presents the 200 most successful websites on the web, ordered by category, proximity, success, popularity and perspective in a mindmap. Apparently, web-sites are connected as they’ve never been before. Quite comprehnsive.

2. Displaying News

Newsmap4 is an application that visually reflects the constantly changing landscape of the Google News news aggregator. The size of data blocks is defined by their popularity at the moment.

Newsmap5

Voyage6 is an RSS-feader which displays the latest news in the “gravity area”. News can be zoomed in and out. The navigation is possible with a timeline.

Voyage7

Digg BigSpy8 arranges popular stories at the top when people digg them. Bigger stories have more diggs.

Digg Big Spy9

Digg Stack10: Digg stories arrange themselves as stack as users digg them. The more diggs a story gets, the larger is the stack.

Stack11

3. Displaying Data

Amaztype12, a typographic book search, collects the information from Amazon and presents it in the form of keyword you’ve provided. To get more information about a given book, simply click on it.

Amaztype13

Similar idea is being used by Flickrtime14. The tool uses Flickr API to present the uploaded images in real-time. The images form the clock which shows the current time.

Flickrtime15

Time Magazine16 uses visual hills (spikes) to emphasize the density of American population in its map.

Where we live17

CrazyEgg18 lets you explore the behavior of your visitors with a heat map. More popular sections, which are clicked more often, are highlighted as “warm” – in red color.

CrazyEgg19

Hans Rosling TED Talk20 is a legendary talk of the Swedish professor Hans Rosling, in which he explains a new way of presenting statistical data. His Trendalyzer software (recently acquired by Google) turns complex global trends into lively animations, making decades of data pop. Asian countries, as colorful bubbles, float across the grid — toward better national health and wealth. Animated bell curves representing national income distribution squish and flatten. In Rosling’s hands, global trends — life expectancy, child mortality, poverty rates – become clear, intuitive and even playful.

Hans Rosling21

Three Views shows three views of the earth, in which each country is represented by a circle that shows the amount of money spent on the military (size of circle) and what fraction of the country’s earnings that uses (colour). Compact and beautiful presentation of data.

Three Views

We Feel Fine22 shows human feelings, calculated from a large number of weblogs.

We Feel Fine23

Visualizing the Power Struggle in Wikipedia24 displays the most popular articles and the most frequent search queries in the heatmap.

Wikipedia25

Wikipedia26

Websites as graphs27. An HTML DOM Visualizer Applet, which displays sites as graphs depending on the amount of links, tables, div tags, images, forms and other tags.

Websites as graphs28

Interactive History Timeline29 presents the history of Great Britain, divided into interactive data blocks. The density of events is displayed on the map.

Timeline30

Winning Lotto Numbers31 is supposed to present the frequency of appearance of every number from one year to the next one. This graph is definitely not one of the most clear ones.

Lotto32

Elastic Lists33 demonstrates the “elastic list” principle for browsing multi-facetted data structures. You can click any number of list entries to query the database for a combination of the selected attributes. The approach visualizes relative proportions (weights) ofmetadata by size and visuzalizes characteristicness of a metadata weight by brightness. Author’s blog34 regularly informs about new experiments in the area of data visualization. Nice to observe, useful to bookmark.

Elastic Lists35

The JFK Assassination Timeline36An Ajax-based approach vor visual presentation of historical events. John F. Kennedy assassination as timeline with numerous presentation options. The related article37 with further examples38.

4. Displaying connections

Munterbund39 showcases the results of research graphical visualization of text similarities in essays in a book. “The challenge is to find forms of graphical and/or typographical representation of the essays that are both appealing and informative. We have attempted create a system which automatically generates graphics according to predefined rules.”

Text similarities40

Text similarities41

Text similarities42

Burst Labs43 suggests similar or connected items to your search queries (favourite artists, tv shows, movies, genres etc.) in a bubble. Not really new, but still inspiring.

Burst Labs44

Universe DayLife45 displays events, connections and news as circles which gravitate around the topic they are related to.

Universe46

Musiclens gives music recommendations and presents your current mood and musical taste as a diagram.

Musiclens

Figd’t Visualizer47 allows you to play around with your network. You interface with the Visualizer through Flickr and LastFM tags, using any tag to create a Magnet. Once a Tag Magnet is created, members of the network will gravitate towards it if they have photos or music with that same Tag. Available for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux. Alpha-version.

Fidgt48

What have I been listening to?49: Lee Byron describes his approach of creating a histogram about his music listening history.

Last.FM50

Shape Of Song51: What does music look like? The Shape of Song is an attempt to answer this seemingly paradoxical question. The custom software in this work draws musical patterns in the form of translucent arches, allowing viewers to see – literally – the shape of any composition available on the Web.

Shape Of Song52

Musicmap53: connections are represented as connected lines; they create a web.

Musicmap54

Musicovery55 displays music taste connections and lets you listen to the song and browse through similar songs.

Musicovery56

Lanuage Poster57 proves that even simple lines can be descriptive enough. The History of Programming Languages as an original timeline.

History of Programming Languages58

5. Displaying web-sites

Spacetime59 offers Google, Yahoo, Flickr, eBay and images in 3D. The tool displays all of your search results in an easy to view elegant 3D arrangement. Company promises that the days of mining through pages and pages of tiny thumbnails in an effort to find the item you are looking for are over.

Spacetime60

UBrowser61 is an open source test mule that renders interactive web pages onto geometry using OpenGL® and an embedded instance of Gecko, the Mozilla rendering engine.

UBrowser62

6. Articles & Resources

  • Visualcomplexity.com63
    Screenshot64
    The project presents the most beautiful methods of data visualization as well as further references and book suggestions. The gallery has over 450 entries.
  • In his article Infosthetics: the beauty of data visualization65 Andrew Vande Moere, well-known through his blog Infosthetics66, discusses the aesthetics of data visualization and modern apparoaches in this area. Creative design ideas combine form and content and generate fascinating graphs – is it a new area in the art of next generation?Infosthetics67Infosthetics68Infosthetics69The article presents 13 new techniques of data visualization, with examples and further references.
  • 16 Awesome Data Visualization Tools70
    “From navigating the Web in entirely new ways to seeing where in the world twitters are coming from, data visualization tools are changing the way we view content. We found the following 16 apps both visually stunning and delightfully useful.” An extensive overview by Mashable.com.
  • Dataesthetics71
    Eric Blue provides some references to unusual Data Visualization methods.
  • infosthetics – information aesthetics
    72Screenshot73
    Andrew Vande Moere about data visualization, latest development and design ideas.
  • Visualizing Delicious Roundup
    An overview of Del.icio.us tools you can use to visualize your bookmarks.
  • Periodic Table74
    A periodic table of visualization methods.
    Periodic Table75

7. Tools and Services

  • You can create your own timelines with Xtimeline76 and Circavie77.
  • IBM Many Eyes78
    Screenshot
    79
    This Java-based service visualizes data online and helps to create pie charts, diagrams, tree maps, bar charts and histograms. Registration is required. Some examples80 are simply amazing.
  • prefuse | the prefuse visualization toolkit81
    Presents the beta-version of a Java-based toolkit for programming of application with integrated data visualization methods
  • Swivel82
    This service creates pie charts, diagrams and histograms “on the fly”. It also provides a Swivel API83 you can use to improve already existing visualization methods.
  • You can find even more tools for designing your own diagrams and charts online in our article Charts and Diagrams Tools84.

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.informationarchitects.jp/ia-trendmap-2007v2
  2. 2 http://www.informationarchitects.jp/ia-trendmap-2007v2
  3. 3 http://www.informationarchitects.jp
  4. 4 http://www.marumushi.com/apps/newsmap/
  5. 5 http://www.marumushi.com/apps/newsmap/
  6. 6 http://rssvoyage.com
  7. 7 http://rssvoyage.com
  8. 8 http://labs.digg.com/bigspy/?popular
  9. 9 http://labs.digg.com/bigspy/?popular
  10. 10 http://labs.digg.com/stack/
  11. 11 http://labs.digg.com/stack/
  12. 12 http://amaztype.tha.jp
  13. 13 http://amaztype.tha.jp
  14. 14 http://www.hottoast.org/convexstyle/flickrtime/
  15. 15 http://www.hottoast.org/convexstyle/flickrtime/
  16. 16 http://www.time.com/time/covers/20061030/where_we_live/
  17. 17 http://www.time.com/time/covers/20061030/where_we_live/
  18. 18 http://www.crazyegg.com
  19. 19 http://crazyegg.com/
  20. 20 http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/92
  21. 21 http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/92
  22. 22 http://www.wefeelfine.org/movements.html
  23. 23 http://www.wefeelfine.org/movements.html
  24. 24 http://www.abeautifulwww.com/2007/05/20/visualizing-the-power-struggle-in-wikipedia/
  25. 25 http://www.abeautifulwww.com/2007/05/20/visualizing-the-power-struggle-in-wikipedia/
  26. 26 http://www.abeautifulwww.com/2007/05/20/visualizing-the-power-struggle-in-wikipedia/
  27. 27 http://www.aharef.info/2006/05/websites_as_graphs.htm
  28. 28 http://www.aharef.info/2006/05/websites_as_graphs.htm
  29. 29 http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/interactive/timelines/british/index.shtml
  30. 30 http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/interactive/timelines/british/index.shtml
  31. 31 http://www.microsiervos.com/archivo/azar/loto-estrella.html
  32. 32 http://www.microsiervos.com/archivo/azar/loto-estrella.html
  33. 33 http://well-formed-data.net/experiments/elastic_lists/
  34. 34 http://well-formed-data.net/
  35. 35 http://well-formed-data.net/experiments/elastic_lists/
  36. 36 http://simile.mit.edu/timeline/examples/jfk/jfk.html
  37. 37 http://simile.mit.edu/timeline/
  38. 38 http://simile.mit.edu/timeline/examples/
  39. 39 http://www.munterbund.de/visualisierung_textaehnlichkeiten/essay.html
  40. 40 http://www.munterbund.de/visualisierung_textaehnlichkeiten/essay.html
  41. 41 http://www.munterbund.de/visualisierung_textaehnlichkeiten/essay.html
  42. 42 http://www.munterbund.de/visualisierung_textaehnlichkeiten/essay.html
  43. 43 http://www.burstlabs.com
  44. 44 http://www.burstlabs.com
  45. 45 http://universe.daylife.com/
  46. 46 http://universe.daylife.com/
  47. 47 http://www.fidgt.com/visualize
  48. 48 http://www.fidgt.com/visualize
  49. 49 http://megamu.com/lastfm/
  50. 50 http://megamu.com/lastfm/
  51. 51 http://www.turbulence.org/Works/song/gallery/gallery.html
  52. 52 http://www.turbulence.org/Works/song/gallery/gallery.html
  53. 53 http://www.dimvision.com/musicmap/
  54. 54 http://www.dimvision.com/musicmap/
  55. 55 http://www.musicovery.com
  56. 56 http://www.musicovery.com
  57. 57 http://www.oreilly.com/pub/a/oreilly/news/languageposter_0504.html
  58. 58 http://www.oreilly.com/pub/a/oreilly/news/languageposter_0504.html
  59. 59 http://www.spacetime.com
  60. 60 http://www.spacetime.com
  61. 61 http://ubrowser.com/
  62. 62 http://ubrowser.com/
  63. 63 http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc/
  64. 64 http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc/
  65. 65 http://pingmag.jp/2007/03/23/infosthetics-form-follows-data/
  66. 66 http://infosthetics.com/
  67. 67 http://pingmag.jp/2007/03/23/infosthetics-form-follows-data/
  68. 68 http://pingmag.jp/2007/03/23/infosthetics-form-follows-data/
  69. 69 http://pingmag.jp/2007/03/23/infosthetics-form-follows-data/
  70. 70 http://mashable.com/2007/05/15/16-awesome-data-visualization-tools/
  71. 71 http://eric-blue.com/blog/2006/10/dataesthetics_the_power_and_be.html
  72. 72 http://www.infosthetics.com/
  73. 73 http://www.infosthetics.com/
  74. 74 http://www.visual-literacy.org/periodic_table/periodic_table.html
  75. 75 http://www.visual-literacy.org/periodic_table/periodic_table.html
  76. 76 http://xtimeline.com/index.aspx
  77. 77 http://www.circavie.com
  78. 78 http://services.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/home
  79. 79 http://services.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/home
  80. 80 http://services.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/browse/visualizations
  81. 81 http://prefuse.org/
  82. 82 http://www.swivel.com/
  83. 83 http://www.swivel.com/api/early_access
  84. 84 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2006/09/01/test-aosu/

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

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  1. 1

    Awesome! Whoa, didn’t think math could be so pretty :o

    Wonder if any of these are open source and easily applied to other projects….

    0
  2. 3

    Very cool indeed. I’d love to replicate some of them. ‘Experimental’ might be a better word than ‘modern,’ until they catch on and show their utility above a more standard (‘traditional’) approach.

    I don’t know if any are open source but some of the visuals are made with the help of Processing, which you should check out if you’re interested in doing something similar without a ton of programming.

    3
  3. 4

    Wow! That’s a great list! I’d never seen a lot of those before! Thanks for putting it together – can’t wait to look into them some more!

    0
  4. 5

    Nice list guys! Great work!
    This is a pretty cool project to I found a couple weeks back, Human Brain Cloud, not quite as extensive as some of the above examples, but cool none the less.

    -1
  5. 6

    one more time a nice list…

    Keep going!

    0
  6. 7

    Holy crap! That flickr clock is wicked and the Ubrowser is tripped out. Nice find on these.

    0
  7. 8

    Until this article I was really unaware of how big “data visualization” was…to be honest…I’d never really heard the term. Great work!!

    0
  8. 9

    Amazing! Where to learn some methods of data visualisation?

    1
  9. 10

    i think you have put a wrong screenshot for musiclens ?

    0
  10. 11

    Great!

    0
  11. 12

    Another great piece on Smashing :)

    0
  12. 13

    This is a pretty good list! I wasn’t aware of many of these sites. I also posted a collection of unique data/infoviz links last year:

    Dataesthetics: The Power and Beauty of Data Visualization

    0
  13. 14

    Balakumar Muthu

    August 2, 2007 3:17 pm

    great!

    0
  14. 15

    Brilliant list. I had no idea there were such ideas floating around. This isn’t just a smart way of displaying data but I think it is rather inspirational for other mediums.

    0
  15. 16

    back in 90x – http://textarc.org/
    Java applet representing most usable words in book by it’s size. Before tag clouds were invented (discovered).
    Check it out.

    0
  16. 17

    i never knew data visualisation was such a big thing. We are manipulating so much of data daily [more the data, more happy we are :) ] and i never thought about its options…..

    wonderful resource. so much to learn and understand. you have been doing a very nice job. its blocked here[they say you are a 'download' site :P ], sometimes i have to use a proxy site. but its worth.

    thanx a lot :)

    0
  17. 18

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    August 2, 2007 5:30 pm

    2Angga: thank you, fixed!

    0
  18. 19

    Absolutely great!

    0
  19. 20

    A really nice list of graphic data models and interactivity.
    Congrats!

    1
  20. 21

    It exists a french search engine which corresponds to your article subject:
    Kartoo

    KartOO is a metasearch engine with visual display interfaces. When you click on OK, KartOO launches the query to a set of search engines, gathers the results, compiles them and represents them in a series of interactive maps through a proprietary algorithm

    0
  21. 22

    Very good article, thanks all

    0
  22. 23

    Superb. Your best list yet.

    0
  23. 24

    Uuuuu, great article..

    0
  24. 25

    Whenever SmashingMagazine so much as coughs it makes it to the Digg homepage, Delicious popular and generates hoards of comments and linkbacks.

    Very nice!

    1
  25. 26

    Stunning collection – thanks for all the work you put into it…

    0
  26. 27

    You guys just don’t stop! Nice research, you guys dig like them google folks.

    0
  27. 28

    There was a visualization of the history of Linux distros…
    http://www.cyberciti.biz/tips/linux-kernel-history-and-distribution-time-line.html

    And also about the Linux kernel…
    http://funhouse.bubble.ro/569/3D_View_of_Linux_Kernel/

    0
  28. 29

    I loved this stuff, I think if will be a tremendous resource for K-12 teachers especially for learning disabled students, please try to present this material in teachers conventions and teachers publications.

    1
  29. 30

    Wow! All sorts of ways to render data impossible to read! Fantastic!
    “As you can see by this picture, Chicago’s got a bigger circle than Boston. How much bigger? I’m not really sure. Pretty big. That means Chicago’s like 50 billion times betterer than Boston when it comes to widgets in the scuzzypond. Are widgets good or bad? I don’t know, but they’re represented in funny circles with hard-to-read overlapping text, so it MUST mean something important!”

    The only thing these graphs show is what data looks like when it is completely disorganized. Quit acting like this is a revolution in data representation.

    1
  30. 31

    Wonderful post, I love inventions in the field of data visualization. I think I will have to write a post referring to your post — it’s a great read!

    0
  31. 32

    Excellent article!! I worked on a Hurricane Katrina data-visualization project last year for my agency in New Orleans. It’s an oral history with compelling, raw video that offers an unedited look at people’s memories of the storm and the fallout. As each video plays, a simple visual device displays recurring themes by keyword; commonalitites between experiences are presented via lists of names headed by recurring topics. Thought your readers might be interested.

    0
  32. 33

    If any are interested in the Hurricane Katrina data-visualization project, here is the url:

    http://livesconnected.com

    0
  33. 34

    Smashing is the best!

    0
  34. 35

    Thank you, these are grrreat!

    0
  35. 36

    That is a fantastic list, very impressive.

    0
  36. 37

    Kunal Anand also wrote a cool Python script for “Visualizing my del.icio.us tags

    0
  37. 38

    Despite the fact that my head exploded looking at some of these, thanks for the list :D

    0
  38. 39

    Thank you, these are great visualization&(great view point). We”l live and see.

    0
  39. 40

    Traditional graphics are dead, because they can’t handle the vast amounts of data we have today and they must be replace by a new set of tools.

    There are some interesting examples here, but a large majority is more a form of art than useful tools, visualization -wise. We need data density, context, interaction and data integrity. Do they provide that? I am not sure.

    0
  40. 41

    Andrey Kostenko

    August 3, 2007 6:18 am

    One more cool site for link visualization is a Walk2Web. It makes cool graphs of incoming and outgoing links. Every link has screenshots, tags, rating…

    0
  41. 42

    fascinating collection. thanks for taking the time to pull it together.

    0
  42. 43

    Dennison Uy - Graphic Designer

    August 3, 2007 2:15 pm

    This is the first time I’ve been to some of these sites. A lot of them like Newsmap totally blew my mind!

    0
  43. 44

    I thought by the title that this one would be a bit boring..How wrong I was! Facinating and sometimes beautiful stuff. Cheers

    0
  44. 45

    Good list.
    Those interested in search visualization could find searchCrystal of interest, since it lets you search and visually compare multiple engines in one place. You compare, remix and share results from web, image, video, blog, tagging, news engines as well as Flickr images or RSS feeds.

    0
  45. 46

    Perhaps you most ineresting and compelling post yet.

    0
  46. 47

    Beautiful stuff! Thanks for your interesting article. I also did datavisualisation as part of my degree in graphic design. Take a look at Data visualisation of a social network.

    0
  47. 48
  48. 49

    I love the Trendmap 2007! Cool! Keep up the good post!

    0
  49. 50

    great list!

    I always thought that Etsy had some cool tools to explore their site http://www.etsy.com/time_machine.php and http://www.etsy.com/color.php

    0
  50. 51

    wow. absolutely impressing!!!

    0
  51. 52

    Marcus | Culturemaking

    August 4, 2007 7:21 am

    Love it. Nice one

    0
  52. 53

    Again a great collection of wonderful “Must see’s” out on the internet. I didn’t know that data can be such faszinating. Thank you for your great work, folks – I’m new to this blog but I must say: I really like it :-)

    All the best from Salzburg, Austria

    0
  53. 54

    Too many advertisement on this site. Won’t read it again. Sorry.

    0
  54. 55

    Wow, I wonder how long did it take to pull that list. Thanks for the resources.

    0
  55. 56

    interesting as always, but show some fucking restraint.

    the outrageous magnitude of content in one article renders the entire thing useless. give us highlights of what you think is the best, not a list of everything under the sun.

    0
  56. 57

    Outstanding list!

    0
  57. 58

    Excellent list, The musicovery link is awesome!

    0
  58. 59

    Another good site for data visualization is Radical Cartography, which is not so much radical as informative. Example: mapping income to population of the largest 25 metro areas shows that some cities have “income donuts” of wealthier suburbs surrounding a poorer city core, while others have wedges that radiate out from one area:

    http://www.radicalcartography.net/?cityincome

    0
  59. 60

    thanks a lot! this list is a dream of PR-manager doing a couple of presentations a week)))

    0
  60. 61

    Wow that was brilliant,a good piece of collection.

    0
  61. 62

    Check out a few ‘old visualizations’ dating 1997 (1rst year post grad year …fooling around experimenting with stuff)

    some viz look digg big spy

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3wcLHMWd_Y

    implemented in good old javascript

    0
  62. 63

    Wow, this is an amazing resource. I have recently become interested in this field, and I am very excited about the directions that it is going.

    0
  63. 64

    rssvoyage is beatiful!

    0
  64. 65

    Cristian Ionitoiu

    August 6, 2007 9:33 pm

    Hi,

    I’ve been passioned by data visualization for quite some time. Thanks for putting together this data, it’s quite useful to me. I think that you should add the Idea Line of Martin Wattenberg: http://www.whitney.org/arport/commissions/idealine.shtml
    to the list.

    This is a very beatiful and concise method to display chronological information.
    Best Regards,

    Cristian

    0
  65. 66

    Juan Manuel Lemus

    August 7, 2007 5:08 am

    Good, this is fantastic for design inspiration and turn-off for convensional design.

    0
  66. 67

    Wow!!
    thanks for this list !!
    simply fab!

    0
  67. 68

    Bravo !!!!

    0
  68. 69

    One I liked very much was this one: mapping all sorts of data to a world map, sizing countries to show the values for each country: http://www.sasi.group.shef.ac.uk/worldmapper/index.html

    0
  69. 70

    Excellent list – thank you

    0
  70. 71

    Robert Christensen

    August 9, 2007 11:46 pm

    This is an excellent site for visual information. What I don’t see is something like FYI Visual or Fractal Edge. These would make for nice additions.

    Along these lines, I have been noting a lone ranger with an axe to grind out in the blogs, who appears to consider himself keeper of the visual display…

    What I mean is FYI Corporation has developed some interesting technology for displays of massive amounts of information. While it’s not an all encompassing visual technology (meaning it requires additional visual support for some kinds of information, particularly where proportion is important), it enables anomalies to become readily apparent from dense displays.

    Seems there is a lone ranger out there with an axe to grind against this company and its product, and has single handedly launched a tirade and personal attacks against even its employees. It is unclear why he has such a personal vendetta against FYI Corporation, but it’s clear that he does.

    I contacted FYI Corporation employees and they told me that when challenged, the lone ranger was unable to show example data they provided in dense form on a display, and instead retreated to the common convention of low density dashboard configurations. For instance, they said that when asked to show hundreds of multidimensional values on a single screen with his approach (as can be done with FYI Visual) he was unable to do it. An FYI Visual representative said that they invited him to participate in a study to compare his approach to showing 850 generators consisting of 6 metrics to their way he refused to participate. I think I see why…

    He relies completely on anecdotes and references to other people’s work because he appears to be ill-equipped to address the problem. He appears to hold himself out to be an expert, but his education is in Religious Studies, which makes sense given his Crusade against FYI Visual.

    We have been using FYI Visual for two years and the problem it solves is unparalleled by any other technologies we have examined for high display density of time-sensitive information -the kind that does not fit onto a dashboard or shown with hundreds of lines on a graph.

    When ever I read such personal attacks as that of this lone ranger, I consider the source, and in this case, the source seems quite dubious.

    I enjoy sites like this one that provides examples and let’s consumers pick what works for them.

    0
  71. 72

    very useful resource.. I am wondering if there are similar input mechnasims as well!

    0
  72. 73

    Wow, a great collection of stunning visualizations! One of the best blog entries I have ever read!

    0
  73. 74

    inspired by Digg BigSpy -> http://www.ainews.org

    0
  74. 75

    If you digg this, you will also love http://infosthetics.com/

    0
  75. 76

    In reply to FYI Visual and Robert Christensen:

    Yeah, I ran into that flaming rhetoric too (what’s up with that guy? -does anybody take him seriously? What a rant without a cause) –what caught me was that the “lone ranger” as you call him wrote in his paper that dashboards have two important characteristics to situational awareness: 1 Their visual nature, and 2 their integration into everything you must keep track of onto a single screen. I looked at the examples he gives and we cannot fit our metrics on a single screen using his suggestions either. His suggestions are obvious to 3rd graders. I will check out your suggestions about FYI Visual and Fractal Edge to see if those help us. The lesson here is that it’s easy to be a critic, not so easy to produce a solution. There are really great examples on this website too that we are going to try also. Thanks for the tip!

    0
  76. 77

    I like shape of song (aesthetically) but cannot figure out what that is supposed to represent?

    0
  77. 78

    That’s a fantastic list – thanks.

    0
  78. 79

    Looking good but not all of them seem to be convenient.

    0
  79. 80

    Excellent thanks for the list. THe resource section is very valuable as well :)
    keep up the good work!

    0
  80. 81

    Absolutely fantastic. Mind opening. Thanks.
    _Marc

    0
  81. 82

    Totally amazing! Thanks for your effort

    0
  82. 83

    Interesting list. After spending the last few months studying Edward Tufte’s “The visual display of quantitative information” and related works – I wonder what he would have to say about some of these?

    Everybody’s mind works differently, and I suspect that men & women would find different aspects of these graphs intriguing,

    I must be getting old. I found the websites and bubble-ups/mash-ups too hard to follow.

    tom mayo
    grand rapids, mi

    0
  83. 84

    See this article on cartograms (another interesting visualization technique) and a related challenge.
    http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2007/07/17/visualizing-the-2d-world-with-cartograms/

    0
  84. 85

    Go beyond the math and look at the science of visualization. Here is a periodic table of visualization techniques, categorized into different areas of specialization.

    http://www.visual-literacy.org/periodic_table/periodic_table.html

    It’s a great reference guide when trying to come up with the right diagram for a doc or presentation!

    0
  85. 86

    It’s really an interesting list! Thanks for your hard work on it.

    0
  86. 87

    This is a terrific list. Thank you. For finding data and traditional graphs of data, as well as a tool for displaying graphs of data in slideshow format, we have built Data360.

    http://www.data360.org

    Best regards, Tom Paper

    0
  87. 88

    Great list.

    0
  88. 89

    I can not believe it ! Even after I’ve look at it ! It’s so amazing ! Wonderful work !

    0
  89. 90

    There’s a lot happening in the geosciences too – for example, 3D visualization of raw geological data to show the location of faults, seams of ore, mine shafts and vents etc. such as that produced by the FracSIS software from Fractal Technologies.

    0
  90. 91

    Re: Comment #91: In the interests of full disclosure, I work as a contract technical writer for The Runge Group, the owners of Fractal Technologies and the FracSIS software product.

    0
  91. 92

    Two more related projects (by myself):

    Base26 an interactive 4D visualization of all english four-letter words.

    0
  92. 93

    Heres a Name Wall that I made. Sadly it only works in FF:
    http://tnw.animenetworx.net

    0
  93. 94

    I agree with Blix. It should be noted that Data Visualization in itself is a Modern invention. But a great collection of examples none the less.

    0
  94. 95

    With these techniques, and by combining certain ones of them, we edge closer to bringing to life the Glass Bead Game of Hermann Hesse…

    0
  95. 96

    excellent posts! I have translate it into Chinese. I post it to my blog.Thank you very much.

    0
  96. 97

    (eye)nspiring.

    0
  97. 98

    These are great visualization examples! Check out also the following approach to visualization of a 1-week weather forecast for any location in the United States at .

    0
  98. 99

    Great article. I’m also very interested in these ideas, as they really bring together social science, math, software and programming, and art. Interacting with data means a lot more than passively seeing it (like a standard chart) — you start to bring your own ideas and interests into what’s being collected and displayed. With so much information available, having holistic and dynamic ways of showing *your* interests is becoming more and more interesting :: Learning 2.0.

    If anyone is interested in creating things like this, or if you like to work with sound, video, 3D, or MIDI, do yourself a favor and check out the program Max / MSP / Jitter. Originally designed around music and MIDI, with recent additions for manipulating video and images, this graphical programming environment deals with all data very simply and in an abstract fashion. That means one can route, mix, display, and save your data in any form you want, leading to all kinds of new understandings.

    I used to work with code-based languages but have gladly made this switch — it is a graphical, interface-based environment, with the “programming” created in a flow-chart design for your data and logic “streams”. Since you have control over the media, the logic, and the interface objects, you quite literally can build just about any kind of application without knowing a line of traditional code. Particularly good at real-time interaction, tinkering of any parameter you want, and being able to record or generate activity, Max is a must-try for anyone with any interest in these wide areas of art, music, data, and math. If that isn’t enough, it also provides integrated support for Java, Javascript, and C, so that those things better done by text-based code can be used too — right in the midst of your interface.

    The much-anticipated release of Max 5 — called by the company as “Max for the next 20 Years” — is slated for April 2008!

    http://www.cycling74.com/products/maxmsp

    0
  99. 100

    Very interesting !!
    However, even here, I have not yet found what I saw 3-4 years ago – and have been actively hunting for – without success.
    It was (sort-of) similar to the “Musicmap” above, but was displayed on a globe (sphere), and you could click a node and drag it around and explore the ‘mind map”.
    It was visually quite impressive, definitely rather innovative… I’m looking for something like this to present some node linked data from a knowledge structure/database I’ve created.
    Any comments, hints appreciated.

    0
  100. 101

    Anyone know of any data visualization tools that will generate printable (press quality) results?

    0
  101. 102

    I love this article! Especial the graphs which shows connection between things are fascinating. Regarding to this entry I have created a graph with moowheels and have written about this in my blog (Link).

    Thanks again for this great and inspiring article!
    Tobi

    1
  102. 103

    Hey have you heard the hottest reggae singer Ava Leigh’s new single called mad about the boy? .It’s available on I Tunes and at HMV.

    -23
  103. 104

    Thanks for putting together this comprehensive collection of links

    0
  104. 105

    Thank you very much. Perfect.

    -1
  105. 106

    Gonzalo Álvarez Marañón

    October 28, 2008 1:22 am

    Thank you for this post. I’ve discovered many data visualization approaches I didn’t know of at all. Some of them might be very engaging for presentations to the audience. Years ahead of pie charts and bar charts.

    -1
  106. 107
  107. 108

    Is this data visualization really useful. Looks like scientific art. I just can’t think of any application of the information as presented.

    -1
  108. 109

    reading above about the ‘Lone Ranger’- you should see the scathing article about his book! It’s an interesting read…you can view it at: http://www.fyivisual.com
    titled: Information Dashboard Design- The Emperor Has No Clothes

    Enjoy!

    0
  109. 110

    Most of these visual representations look fit for a presentation in Narnia. Data is generally presented to people who care about the data, not to people who care about abstract art. There are very few examples above that represent data in a meaningful way, IMO.

    Time Magazines visual hills look good tho – anyone know what software was used to do that?

    1
    • 111

      I totally aggree.
      What I expect of an infographic is to see at a glimpse the most important info of a data analysis, research etc and have my attention captured as much to go into detail.

      I have also used infographics for some freelance tutoring I did and it had very good learning effects. I got the same feedback from my students: it has to be INFOgraphic…

      -1
  110. 112

    I agree with BK, lots lovely beautiful ways to present data, but users of data need it to have more structure to it, to be able to report on their findings for different audiences – there is a showcase of examples on a site called instantatlas. I think there is a lot of practicle examples there of data represented geographically

    -1
  111. 113

    chartjunk! chartjunk! chartjunk!

    0
  112. 114

    Very interesting ;)

    0
  113. 115

    In Second Life, 3 online virtual world, I have a Data Visualisation display/exhibition at
    SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/International%20Schools/28/89/25

    This area lists resources and landmarks relevant to Data Visualisation …. including importing data into Second Life to build 3D models in real time.

    In this area you can also take several (free) 3D graphing boards that I’ve made and cubes that have a script in them to allow for easier stacking/building of 3D graphs in-world.

    This area is on International Schools Island in Second Life
    http://internationalschoolsisland.info
    in the entrance of the Technology Tower

    0
  114. 116

    Christine Sutherland

    December 21, 2008 3:31 pm

    These are certainly attractive, and can be useful in comprehending large chunks of data in a meaningful way.

    But of course there’s a double edge (or maybe several double edges). The value of any chart is constrained not just by the accuracy of the data, but the validity of the data, and even the simplest chart can mislead. When a chart is visually compelling, the capacity to mislead might be exponential.

    So while I think these charts are lovely, I’d like to see function win out over form, and I’d like to see much more attention to the critical thinking that produces the most useful data.

    The greater capacity for error or misinterpretation, the greater need for the higher development of critical thinking skills which underpin the data selection on which the charts are based.

    These things over-ride every other consideration bar (no pun intended) purely artistic ones.

    -1
  115. 117

    When I saw Voyage, I could help but think of http://www.gecko9.com/, which was done years before.

    0
  116. 118

    Great article. The most innovative use of heatmap I have seen: http://www.scoregrid.com . These guys create heatmaps from the data derived during a soccer game.

    0
  117. 119

    I don’t think these impressive visualization techniques help people
    to solve real problems. It is normally pretty easy to come up with a different
    fancy ideal to render/present data differently, but it costs a lot of resources
    to implement and market them.

    -1
  118. 120

    Does anyone have suggestions for neat ways to represent family history / genealogical data?

    Family Tree Maker is the most popular tool on the market. However, its built in tools for presenting a family tree are really low-budget. It is also very difficult to customize the family tree in a “high-design” way. Large data sets result in absolutely huge diagrams (30, 60, + pages of printed material).

    The standard genealogical format is GEDCOM. I’ve been trying to create a contact list of living cousins, that also shows how we are connected via a single ancestor. I want the list to be printable on a single page. This is impossible to do on FTM, and I don’t want to type all the data again into a design tool like Adobe Illustrator. I’ll look at the tools here, but I’m guessing none of them support GEDCOM.

    In addition, I’d be interested in how to best present this type of information online. The Elastic Lists thing looks promising.

    -1
  119. 121

    Can someone update this list? It would be nice to see what applications are now available to organize unstructured data.

    -1
  120. 122

    hey,,,great

    -2
  121. 123

    Very inspiring article. I love it. Worked with visualizing data a little bit in the past, but these are fantastic applications. I’m really curious to see where this moves to in the future. Away from our typical cloud tags, but into other forms of visualization that are equally compelling.

    Along the lines, I came across this site today: http://www.congressspeaks.com
    It it’s a data visualization tool, but sort of a hybrid as well. The site lets the user compare states and congress persons and how many words were used and what was said. A little cheeky too.

    2
  122. 124

    Awesome visuals! A lot of great sites I hadn’t heard of. To respond to a comment above, to make your own graph or map type visualizations you can use the (free) software http://www.sacmeq.org/statplanet/
    its quite straightforward but you cannot use it to program your own visualizations. For that you could use something like Graphviz http://www.graphviz.org

    2
  123. 125

    A cool data visualization project that was presented at SIGGRAPH 2009 Information Aesthetics Showcase was STOC (Stock Ticker Orbital Comparison) data visualization. There is a demo at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J47OJ7scP-Q and you can download a fully functional demo of the program at http://www.uniformchaos.org/stoc.php

    2
  124. 126

    holy ballz, i can lern so moch frum deez

    also, if you’re free thursdays, come to McHiggin’s Bar, and ill do ya right.

    -3
  125. 127

    Hey, Max Burr this is a serious website and comments like those are not appreciated.

    2
  126. 128

    I for one would love to meet you Max Burr, and see your butt

    -4
  127. 129

    For interesting tools that can be used for a variety of visualizations try http://www.caida.org/home/ and look at the tools section. Walrus is my favorite for studying graph relationships.

    -1
  128. 130

    This article serves as a useful reference to write following article! Thanks!
    http://analyst.8maki.jp/2009/11/24/how-do-they-display-it-very-plainly-in-web/

    -1
  129. 131

    i visited many site for web site development, but one thing everybody will accept that smashingmagazine.com is outclass website on the internet having all solution for webmasters, even i tired finding even a good css form for my site and finally got a solution ….
    Brilliant work, brilliant efforts ……..

    2
  130. 132

    Great job…………….keep going……………….

    1
  131. 133

    This one is nice as wel: prezi.com/

    -1
  132. 134
  133. 135

    Wow man, what really cool stuff could be done when you bring data to info graphics!

    -1
  134. 136

    Some examples of other data intense visual representations of datasets can be found at http://www.drasticdata.nl

    2
  135. 137

    This post is awesome. if you are interested we have a short post about tips about getting the most out of your data visualizations. you can read it here: http://bimehq.com/data-visualization/data-visualization-secrets/

    0
  136. 138

    IDV Solution’s Visual Fusion: Empowering the Insightful Enterprise http://www.idvsolutions.com/demos_videos.aspx

    0
  137. 139

    Great post.
    Point this: http://cloudz.es
    An HTML5 webapp that offers interactive graphical visualisation for http://delicious.com feeds.

    0
  138. 140

    Terrific document, well crafted I have to admit.

    -1
  139. 141

    Hi, this article was very interesting. I am a market researcher and we do a lot of presentations and creating new visuals would be wonderful. Do you know which program for windows would be best to great interesting modern graphs, charts, etc other than power point?
    I would appreciate any thoughts.

    Thanks

    -2
  140. 144

    Excellent work

    -1
  141. 145

    Excellent post!

    -1
  142. 146

    Great post. Well implemented design.

    -1
  143. 147

    Great post.I really appreciate your work.Could you provide more detail about the two articles you reference in this posting?
    mlmleadsystempro

    -1
  144. 148

    cool stuff~

    0
  145. 149

    Smashing compilation, thank you!
    Communications professionals often receive assignments to present info graphics both for print and the web. Do any of these tools provide high-resolution output for printing?

    -1
  146. 150

    Hello dear.
    Great post.I really like it.Awesome design.Please share more detail about it.Thanks.

    -1
  147. 151

    This is simply fantastic! I’m a newbie starting off with data visualization research – and this seems like a fantastic place to start! But its slightly over-whelming, leaving me clueless as to where to begin. Any suggestions for beginners?

    -1
    • 152

      Bill Droogendyk

      June 30, 2011 7:31 am

      Haria; Beginners and experienced people can benefit a lot from people like Edward Tufte, Stephen Few, Garr Reynolds, Nancy Duarte, Rolph Hichert and Hans Rosling. Look them up – study and learn. Implement!

      -1
  148. 153

    Finn Fitzsimons

    May 18, 2011 1:31 pm

    You should check out numberpicture.com – a site that crowd-sources new ways to visualize data. People make templates by typing Processingjs code and then anybody can use them by copying and pasting from excell – worth a look at – so cool!!

    -1
  149. 154

    Arunmozhi (@tecoholic)

    July 23, 2011 9:23 pm

    Wonderful article, but the link at the bottom for the Charts and Diagrams Tools is broken.

    Kindly fix it I would be glad to go through those tools.

    -1
  150. 155

    great job done, specially introductory part is awesome.

    -1
  151. 156

    This is so detailed, really appreciate for your compilation

    -1
  152. 157

    Absolutely love this round-up, Vitaliy. Great stuff. I might try Crazy Egg for a project this month… looks promising. Your little bio made me laugh.

    -1
  153. 159
  154. 160

    Thank you, I’ve recently been looking for information approximately this topic for a while and yours is the greatest I’ve discovered so far. However, what about the conclusion? Are you sure about the source?

    -1
  155. 161

    nice job!

    -1
  156. 162

    Great to see the contents

    many many wishes for the kind and knowledge sharing human being

    -1
  157. 163

    Some of the examples are “Infographics” and not “Data Visualization”

    There are differences.

    Whatever i type on google about specific mediums, i see a post of Smashing Magazine most of the times. By trying to act like you handle all the aspects of Design world, you sometimes give people false informations. Because of “Pop Magazine-like” communities like you, people get a wrong idea of what is design and they hang around with their sweet brushes and effects.

    -2
  158. 164

    Very nice article on yet another emerging opportunity for graphic design driven by data. Very exciting!

    -1
  159. 165

    I agree with BK, lots lovely beautiful ways to present data, but users of data need it to have more structure to it, to be able to report on their findings for different audiences – there is a showcase of examples on a site called instantatlas. I think there is a lot of practicle examples there of data represented geographically

    Obat Herbal Darah Manis Pada Anak

    -1
  160. 166

    You can try also to use http://slik.io

    0
  161. 167

    I’m modifiying google search engine,as i am willing to represent the searched results graphically,plz tell me which graph approach willl be best for this purpose…custering is on of my choices…

    0

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