Monthly Archives: February 2010

Graceful Timelines

We’ve all seen the unreadable timelines created by some analysis software. The hard lines, the veering connections. The mis-sized and aliased fonts. These might be sufficient for experts, but in the fullness of time, other more polished options will arise. Now you can make those veering connections into swooping connections.

The cartoon site XKCD.com did a few timelines for very complicated movie plots (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars trilogy, etc), modeling them after the famous “Napoleon’s Russian Campaign” chart. Sample:

Napoleon in Middle Earth

Anybody who has tried to write a mega-selling spy novel knows that the hardest part about plotting is getting all the interactions and conflicts on one page. Now we have a super online tool to help us do just that.

Introducing cs448b Data Visualizationhttps://graphics.stanford.edu/wikis/cs448b-09-fall/FP-OgievetskyVadim.

See the project description. Here is a sample poster.

The interface for the online tool (which is available here):

Plotting out the latest Mossad exploit? Wanting to show hookups in a crime family? This might be the tool for you. Project creator Vadim Ogievetsky says,

My main goal is to implement an efficient and effective layout algorithm that, with the users help, would generate results similar to the hand crafted images shown above. The layout algorithm will use combinations of genetic algorithms and simulated annealing to achieve the goal.

via FP-OgievetskyVadim – cs448b – Data Visualization.

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IDV Solutions Collision Watch

Absolutely beautiful: Zooming, interactive heatmap presenting all the traffic fatalities of 2007 in the United States where alcohol was involved.

This is a demo app for Visual Fusion software, which looks very interesting itself.

IDV Solutions Collision Watch.

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ClearMaps: Actionscript Data Visualization

From Sunlight Labs:

Despite the recent explosion of web based cartography tools, making effective maps for data visualization remains a challenge. While tools like Google Maps are great for helping navigate the world they are often poorly suited for thematic mapping, as many features like roads and cities only get in the way of telling compelling stories with data. In fact, even the distance between places can be a distraction – who cares how far away Alaska is when the goal is to make a simple comparison between US states?

Here’s the github project so you can play around:
http://github.com/sunlightlabs/clearmaps/

via Sunlight Labs: Blog – ClearMaps: A Mapping Framework for Data Visualization.

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OpenStreetMap and Haiti Relief

Here is a visualization of the efforts of an impromptu crowd community to produce accurate maps of Haiti following the earthquake. Each dot shows a volunteer contribution–and the blue dots show camps of displaced people. An astonishing amount of information, but then, many hands make light work.

via OpenStreetMap Edits Towards Haiti Relief | FlowingData.

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Palantir and Haiti Relief Efforts

The amazing Palantir analysis blog posting with video, talking about how relief organizations can highlight transient supply shortages using heat maps.

The Haiti blog post goes a step further, by allowing you to fire up an instance of the Palantir client, pre-loaded with all the Haiti data! To run the instance, visit this url: http://haiti.paas.palantirtech.com/.

Amazingness delivered via the web.

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Make a Treemap with R!

Tree  Maps are much more tree-like than Tree Diagrams. Here is another great “R” project from FlowingData blog.

Treemap uses proportional boxes to show size

Back in 1990, Ben Shneiderman, of the University of Maryland, wanted to visualize what was going on in his always-full hard drive. He wanted to know what was taking up so much space. Given the hierarchical structure of directories and files, he first tried a tree diagram. It got too big too fast to be useful though. Too many nodes. Too many branches.

The treemap was his solution. It’s an area-based visualization where the size of each rectangle represents a metric since made popular by Martin Wattenberg’s Map of the Market and Marcos Weskamp’s newsmap.

See SmartMoney’s live-updating Treemap of the stock market. (Health care and energy are big movers right now.)

via An Easy Way to Make a Treemap | FlowingData.

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One way to profile Facebook users

We’ve been wondering how to do analysis on Facebook users, given those pesky privacy settings that can lock out all the cheerful bots and scrapers of market researchers. If you can’t see a profile, you can’t… well… profile. Can you?

Freeze Pops group on facebookEnter FanPageAnalytics.com, which cleverly uses Facebook fan pages, and builds datasets based on who “Became a fan of…” various things. For example, who likes Freeze Pops? And what would an ambitious, cut-throat Freeze Pop executive give for a detailed profile of desert-dwelling fans?

From the About page: Fan Page Analytics uses over 100 million public profiles to offer detailed information on popular brands, bands, politicians and celebrities.

As a result you get gorgeous visualizations like this:

The data is already being used to make new borders for post-2012 North America, after the Mayan calendar has expired and the US government collapses:

The image above shows connections between locations which share friends. “For example, a lot of people in LA have friends in San Francisco, so there’s a line between them.” Given this beginning:

Looking at the network of US cities, it’s been remarkable to see how groups of them form clusters, with strong connections locally but few contacts outside the cluster. For example Columbus, OH and Charleston WV are nearby as the crow flies, but share few connections, with Columbus clearly part of the North, and Charleston tied to the South.

PeteSearch Blog: How to split up the US.

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