Scott Klein of ProPublica has written a great story about an early use of data in journalism, and Horace Greeley, the colorful journalist behind it. Greeley found an issue and then gathered the data to show the extent of the problem. This is not unlike today.
In Greeley’s case, the issue was how much money members of Congress were paid for their travels to their home states, despite modern conveniences like railroads that made those journeys much faster than they had been in the past.
The story is very well written and represents an important piece of history and context for today’s practice of data journalism.
In watches, a complication is anything that goes beyond the basic function of showing the current time: alarm time, moon phase, etc. I think the term should be adopted in user interface design and visualization. Continue reading Complications
I’ve written a short piece about the Tapestry conference for the Graphically Speaking column in Computer Graphics and Applications. The article talks about the reasoning behind Tapestry, how it’s different from academic conferences, and gives a few examples of talks. It even includes anecdotal evidence to show that the conference has enabled actual knowledge transfer. Continue reading Link: CG&A Article on Tapestry
Showing data isn’t always about trying to convey an insight, or giving people the means to understand the intricacies of data. It can also be a tool to communicate a fact, an amount, or an issue beyond just the sheer numbers. Data illustration is poorly understood, but it can be very powerful. Continue reading The Value of Illustrating Numbers
The Graphic Continuum is a poster created by Jon Schwabish and Severino Ribecca (the man behind the Data Visualisation Catalogue). It lists almost 90 different chart types and organizes them into five large groups: distribution, time, comparing categories, geospatial, part-to-whole, and relationships. Some of them are connected across groups where there are further similarities.
The poster is printed very nicely and makes for a great piece of wall art to stare at when thinking about data, and maybe to get an idea for what new visualization to try.
An article in the Publications of the American Statistical Association by the Joint Committee on Standards for Graphic Presentation laid down some standards for how to create good data visualizations. In 1915. The chairman of that committee was none other than Willard C. Brinton, author of the highly opinionated (and much more complete) Graphic Methods for Presenting Facts. Andy Cotgreave is collecting some tidbits and highlights from Brinton’s books.
In this talk, Nigel Holmes talks about the value of and use of humor in communicating visualization. He also has some interesting criticism of academic visualization research (and also some more artistic pieces). It’s a fun and interesting talk, as always with Nigel Holmes.
The paper Becksploitation: The Over-Use of a Cartographic Icon by Kenneth Field and William Cartwright (free pre-print PDF) in The Cartographic Journal describes the Harry Beck’s famous map of the London Underground and what makes it great. It also offers a collection of misuses of the superficial structure, and critiques them. I wish we’d had papers (and titles!) like this in visualization.
The paper is available online for free for the next twelve months, along with a selection of other Editor’s Choice papers (including Jack van Wijk’s Myriahedral Projections paper – watch the video if you haven’t seen it). Continue reading Link: Becksploitation: The Over-Use of a Cartographic Icon
When visualizing data, we often strive for efficiency: show the data, nothing else. But there can be tremendous value in redundancy to make a point and drive it home. Two recent examples from news graphics illustrate this nicely. Continue reading Spelling Things Out
Tapestry 2015 will take place March 4 in Athens, GA. This is the third time we are holding the conference, and it is again taking place on the day before NICAR. As in the past years, have a kick-ass line-up of speakers. The keynotes will be given by Hannah Fairfield (NY Times), Kim Rees (Periscopic), and Michael Austin (Useful Fictions). We also have a great set of short stories speakers: Chad Skelton (Vancouver Sun), Ben Jones (Tableau Public), Katie Peek (Popular Science), RJ Andrews (Info We Trust), and Kennedy Elliott (Washington Post).
On the website, you can watch a brief video summary (click on See what Tapestry is all about) or see all the talk videos from last year. We have also posted information on how to get there, and there will be a bus to take you to NICAR after the event.
Time is running out to apply for an invitation if you want to attend. Attendance is limited, and we’re trying to keep the event small and focused.