Data Visualization

The Cost of War.

I love it when someone takes data, and crafts a well designed, well thought out informative piece. The video below and the interactive website for “The Fallen of World War II” is one of those pieces. Designed and animated by  Neil Halloran, this data visualization breaks down military and civilian casualties in the 6 year conflict and compares them to other military conflicts past and present. The information is presented in a straightforward fact driven way, that hooks the viewer and draws them in. Especially when you see the numbers in comparison to each country, and presented on the timeline. The interactive site, has a ticket price for admission. The recommended price is $2.50, and is completely worth the experience if you are into history, numbers, and data. The animated documentary runs just under 20 minutes, but is really worth watching. It’s a great lesson on the human cost of war, and mans inhumanity to man. It also points out some very interesting facts about who is fighting with whom since World War II ended.

More Than The Score.

I never saw this promo air during the US Open. It might have played locally, but since I tend to mute, pause and skip, or record then blast past ads, I probably just missed it. Produced by BUCK for IBM and Ogilvy & Mather, the animated short features loads of data visualizations done up in an entertaining way, set to the beat of Andrew W.K’s “I Love New York City”. In typical fashion BUCK nails the animation and brand styling for IBM. It’s worth watching all the way through if for no other reason than the facts they present about the US Open and New York. Oh they get extra points for going with a square format for the finished piece.

The World is Going to End. Let’s Have a Drink.

The world is a wonderful and scary place at times, and the folks over at Information is Beautiful want to show you that. This morning while doing a bit of research on data visualization, I came across 2 infographic pieces that have nothing to do with each other directly, but made me want to post both of them.

The first deals with the distant future and the fact that everything is going to die. Yes it looks way into the future of planet earth, all the way up to the point where it is consumed by the sun and dies. The second makes you feel all better by providing you with drink recipes broken down by proportion, so you can drown your sorrows as you reflect on the inevitability of earths ultimate demise. Now I’m not going to lie, some of the drinks recipes seem a bit off to me, and there are some classics that are missing. None the less, I’ll be printing this out for future reference. click on the image to view larger.

Juan Velasco on Infographics

Former National Geographic Art Director Juan Velasco sat down with Gestalten last fall for an interview following his two day workshop on data visualization and infographics. In the video below he talks about the differences between visual journalism and written reporting. In addition he explains his process for developing clear narratives and talks about the ever evolving field of infographics and data visualization. It’s a pretty interesting little video, even if you aren’t an infographics or data visualization creator.

“Feel The Reel” with Real-Time Emotional Response.

I love it when a group pushes technology to create something new and exciting. Case in point, Satchi and Satchi’s new directors showcase at Cannes this year. Using wristbands with biometric sensors embedded in them, they were able to capture emotional responses to work being shown in real-time. The data that was being collected was displayed on a secondary screen in the theater as a real-time visualization of the audiences emotional response to what they were watching. This allowed the audience to see how others were responding in relation to themselves as well. It’s a great little experiment, and one that I could see being applied to study groups to gauge a more realistic emotional response content, product, ui/ux design etc.


The Shape of Music. Martin Wattenberg’s Arc Diagrams.

Data visualized as art, art visualized via data. This is what Martin Wattenberg does with music.  Wattenberg created a visualization method called an “arc diagram” that highlights repeated sections of music–or of any  audio sequence–with translucent arcs tat represents the audio waveforms.

On his website there are a number of these images that range from classical classics like Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, to modern classics like The Talking Heads “And She Was”. The images are quite beautiful, and if you would like to read either a complex or simple explanation of his work, click here. Oh and if you are really ambitious, you can upload a MIDI file and have him run it through the process here.

Moonlight Sonata, Beethoven

Moonlight Sonata, Beethoven

A full set of converted songs.

A full set of converted songs.


“Translate”, Alexander Lis Visualized Languages.

This is a fun little Monday visualization from Alexander Lis, in Frankfurt Germany. The video below is a visually generated Hindi translation created from Google Translate. I don’t have a whole lot to say about it, except that it is pretty cool. Detailed info can be found on Lis web site. If you click through to Vimeo, there are more translations in German, French, and English.