Category Archives: Analysis Ideas

R and ggPlot

Plotting the Afghan war, via Open Source Tools Turn WikiLeaks Into Illustrated Afghan Meltdown Updated | Danger Room | Wired.com:

It’s one thing to read about individual Taliban attacks in WikiLeaks’ trove of war logs. It’s something quite different to see the bombings and the shootings mount, and watch the insurgency metastasize.

Even more Afghan visualizations thanks to WikiLeaks are available  at Visualizing Data.

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Filed under Analysis Ideas, mapping, visualization

Representing Directionality in Network Visualizations

Guess which link-map representation above is the most efficient for showing directionality? Information Aesthetics blog has an interesting article about the different techniques for showing the “from-” and “to-” of network charts.

Networks are often visualized using points and interconnecting lines, with triangular arrowheads at one or both ends to show any directionality between the different points. Although such a standard arrow representation seems intuitive, it can lead to problems in dense graphs that contain many incoming or outgoing relationships. Furthermore, since the arrowheads often have approximately the same size and aspect ratio as the small circles they connect, the graph as a whole might be perceived as cluttered with so much visual detail to the point of being distracting.

via What is the Best Way to Represent Directionality in Network Visualizations? – information aesthetics.

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Filed under Analysis Ideas, How-To, mapping, visualization

Endless possibilities

How many different user interfaces can you create for something completely banal? Read 1,000 Screens, 1,000 Dreams over on World Famous Design Junkies to see how something as simple and commonplace as scorekeeping for bowling can be complexified endlessly. Dozens of screenshots show the variations that can occur when you need to record a few columns and rows of numbers. What if this data was more complex?

Posts like this make me think that we’re only scratching the surface for Big Data visualization. How many ways can you envision a social network such as a series of cell phone calls? How soon before we transcend the boring lines-and-icons approach?

via World Famous Design Junkies » 1,000 Screens, 1,000 Dreams.

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Filed under Analysis Ideas, visualization

Ask a question first

Artemy Lebedev of Designer’s Block articulates the problem we’ve discovered after diving into big data:

There is no way to think up an original and extraordinary design—it can only come as a result of pursuing a given task. In the same way running down a list of words is different from making a narrative.

As FlowingData adds:

This applies to visualization too. When you don’t have a question to answer or a simple wonderment about something, you end up staring at a bunch of numbers with no clue what to do with them. Want to test this out? Go to data.gov and make something useful.

via Visualizing data: ask a question first.

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From the dating scene: Democrats Are Doomed

OKCupid continues to be the world’s best dating site, mainly because of their sense of humor and their willingness to play with their data in their analysis blog. Who can forget their article about how best to pose for your profile picture? (Hint: no duck-lips.)

Here they break down the dysfunctional Democratic Party:

Time and again in American politics, Republicans have voted as a unit to frustrate our disorganized Democratic majority. No matter what’s on the table, a few Democrats will peel away from the party core; meanwhile, all Republicans will somehow manage to stay on-message.

Thus, they caucus block us.

Here is your life

The Democrats Are Doomed, or How A ‘Big Tent’ Can Be Too Big « OkTrends.

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Density Mapping in Google Maps

Google API add-on lets you make heat maps inside a Google Map portal!

HeatMapAPI can be used over the Internet or as a .NET DLL that runs in a local environment and allows you to integrate heat map images into Google Maps or other GIS systems.  In this post we’re going to use HeatMapAPI to visualize the density of recent Starbucks store closures.  In a recent statement, Starbucks announced the closure of 600+ stores in the United States due to economic conditions.

In other news, we’d like to thank Starbucks for providing their easily-parsed list of closures. Most visualizations I’ve seen are using this dataset.

via Density Mapping in Google Maps with HeatMapAPI « GeoChalkboard.

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Filed under Analysis Ideas, mapping, Web tool

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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Filed under Analysis Ideas, visualization, Web tool