Visualising South Africa’s Imports and Exports

This is a great use of a tree map to show the breakdown of imports vs exports for South Africa. The last data point is 2012, but its still interesting to see. In 2012 we exported $20.4 billion and imported $10.3 billion worth of gold. Surely we could have just kept it half of it here and saved everyone a lot of time? Continue reading “Visualising South Africa’s Imports and Exports”

Visualising the London Underground

This is a great way to look at the total number of travellers on the London Underground on an average day. The audio that goes with it is very nice too! The one thing I would have liked to have seen would be the station entry/exit numbers to get a sense of the extent of an average journey. The data is here if you want to fiddle. Continue reading “Visualising the London Underground”

Data Visualisation Pioneers

There is quite a deep history of Visual SenseMaking and it seems a lot of the work in advancing and documenting data visualisation was done by engineers. Fine people engineers. This article gives an interesting review of some of the unsung pioneers of the discipline and small diversion about Isotypes. Continue reading “Data Visualisation Pioneers”

Really, REALLY Old Data Visualisations

I know it seems preposterous, but data visualistion predates the the computer. Its true! There were the pioneering people who used pen and paper and had enough free fingers to do the necessary calculations since they weren’t holding onto phones. No PowerBi or Tableau in sight. It was a better time. Things took longer but there was no Neflix, so people had more time to spare. Continue reading “Really, REALLY Old Data Visualisations”

Microsoft’s Big Data Art Exhibition

Microsoft have an art exhibit at Sandton City at the moment, running until 3 July, to try make big data more interesting without actually using any data. Like many art exhibits, its head scratchy stuff (or beard-strokey, if you have one) and you really have to stretch quite hard to see the relevance. In the context of what they were doing, I am disappointed in the execution of the art itself. While the exhibit is about Big Data and the art pieces have explanations relating to Big Data, it does not mean that they works automatically convey anything meaningful about the topic. Remember, coloration does not equal causation. Continue reading “Microsoft’s Big Data Art Exhibition”

The Reddit Universe

This picture of what interests reddit has been doing the rounds recently. Its a fairly large network graph showing the links between the different areas of interest of reddit users. The detail of the article is interesting on its own, but what this highlights for me is the difficulty with using large network graphs to convey information graphically. Since you have to keep zooming and moving around, you keep adding new location and context information to working memory fairly frequently, and something will fall out. Like when Homer Simpson’s took a wine making course. Continue reading “The Reddit Universe”

Cool new dashboard design

A colleague of mine sent me a link to a new web based dashboard designed by Sid Lee. In the book Information Dashboard Design by Stephen Few, there are many examples of how not to do it, and generally the idea of yet another dashboard does not fill me with any sense of excitement. This was one of those moments where I expected to click and run but this one really caught my eye.
While the effectiveness of the actually data communication techniques might not be as good as it could be, it is an order of magnitude more interesting to look at than the usual Excel pie chart brigade.
Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 10.39.06 AM