Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘data visualization’

25 NOVEMBER, 2011

A Mosaic Time-Lapse Visualization of the Sky for an Entire Year

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Syncing the celeste, or how to touch the fabric of time.

Since ancient times, the sky has been an object of fixation for humanity. Just recently, we’ve explored some delightful DIY guides to cloudwatching and stargazing, but artist Ken Murphy has taken it to another level. For the past 365 days, he’s pointed his lens to the sky, using a custom camera rig affixed atop the Exploratorium museum on the edge of San Francisco Bay, and captured an image every 10 seconds. The result is A History of the Sky — a mesmerizing mosaic of time-lapse movies, each containing a 24-hour period, synced and arranged chronologically in a (slightly more mathematically convenient than the 365-day calendar) grid of 360 total rectangles.

(Full-screen is your friend here.)

Time-lapse movies are compelling because they give us a glimpse of events that are continually occurring around us, but at a rate normally far too slow to for us to observe directly. A History of the Sky enables the viewer to appreciate the rhythms of weather, the lengthening and shortening of days, and other atmospheric events on an immediate aesthetic level: the clouds, fog, wind, and rain form a rich visual texture, and sunrises and sunsets cascade across the screen.” ~ Ken Murphy

The project is a living piece — the camera continues to collect images and integrate them with the mosaic daily, resulting in a different visualization every day reflective of the most recent 360 days.

For more astounding art based on the weather, don’t forget TED Fellow Nathalie Miebach’s striking musical weather data sculptures.

via The Creators Project

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03 NOVEMBER, 2011

Stefanie Posavec on Her Obsessive Analog Data Visualization

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Inside the brain of one of today’s most creative information patternists.

There are no words to describe how much I heart the work of information designer Stefanie Posavec, whose Writing Without Words project remains one of the most poetic pieces of visual meta-storytelling you’ll ever see and who last year generously visualized the best of Brain Pickings. In the age of computational data visualization, part of what makes Posavec’s work so remarkable is that so much of it is code-free, done entirely by hand, with pencil and paper, extracting fascinating data patterns from ordinary subjects.

This wonderful feature by Protein offers a rare glimpse of Posavec’s creative process and a priceless tour of the wonderland that is her mind:

I spend lots of time reading and rereading text and counting words or counting numbers or just going through a subject matter repeatedly until I have all the data in a notebook, and then I use that data to create my graphics. By reading and rereading these texts, I’m able to understand more about a specific text or a specific subject matter than I would otherwise, than I would if I wrote a computer program to analyze that text for me.” ~ Stefanie Posavec

via feltron

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25 OCTOBER, 2011

Visual Storytelling: New Language for the Information Age

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We now live in a world where information is potentially unlimited. Information is cheap, but meaning is expensive. Where is the meaning? Only human beings can tell you where it is. We’re extracting meaning from our minds and our own lives.”

These words of wisdom come from legendary inventor and futurist George Dyson, who in a recent interview contemplated the growing disconnect between information and meaning in the age of data overload. Over the past several years, our quest to extract meaning from information has taken us more and more towards the realm of visual storytelling — we’ve used data visualization to reveal hidden patterns about the world, employed animation in engaging kids with important issues, and let infographics distill human emotion. In fact, our very brains are wired for the visual over the textual by way of the pictorial superiority effect.

It would be ridiculous to try to express by curved lines moral ideals, the prosperity of peoples, or the decadence of their literature. But anything that has to do with extent or quantity can be presented geometrically. Statistical projections which speak to the senses without fatiguing the mind, possess the advantage of fixing the attention on a great number of important facts.” ~ Alexander von Humboldt, Political Essay on the Kingdom of Spain, 1811

Visual Storytelling: Inspiring a New Visual Language, from the fine folks at Gestalten, gathers the most compelling work by a new generation of designers, illustrators, graphic editors, and data journalists tackling the grand sensemaking challenge of our time by pushing forward the evolving visual vocabulary of storytelling.

Vahram Muratyan: Paris vs. New York: L’obsession

Peter Ørntoft: Information Graphics in Context, a project illustrating a ranked list of social concerns in Denmark

Peter Ørntoft: Information Graphics in Context, a project illustrating a ranked list of social concerns in Denmark

Gregory Ferembach: The Movies Flowcharts

Gregory Ferembach: The Movies Flowcharts

Carl Kleiner's 'Homemade Is Best' IKEA cookbook

Part of the 'Oceans' campaign for Greenpeace, showing the devastating effects of FADs (fish aggregation devices) used in commercial tuna fishing

An infographic showing the details that go into a Formula 1 event, from traveling furniture to vodka to spare engines

Jan Schwochow, Katharina Stipp, David Weinberg: A graphic comparing highway speed limits in countries around the world and showing the number of traffic deaths per 100,000 inhabitants

Road Map of the Eye, part of Katja Günther's Cartographic project visualizing information by mapping relevant elements

Orenzo Petrantoni: Piece was commissioned by the Wall Street Journal for an article about the countries, themes, and characters involved in the Gulf crisis

Alexandra Muresan: The Paper Pie Chart; various paper products such as tissue, cardboard, writing paper, and newsprint are used in corresponding amounts to make a pie chart representing the breakdown of paper production in the united states in 2000

From hand-drawn diagrams to sophisticated data visualization, by way of graphic design, illustration, photography, and information architecture, this magnificent volume of contemporary and experimental visual storytelling explores what it means to convey information with equal parts clarity and creativity, speaking with remarkable aesthetic eloquence about the things that matter in the world today.

Every field has some central tension it is trying to resolve. Visualization deals with the inhuman scale of the information and the need to present it at the very human scale of what the eye can see.” ~ Martin Wattenberg in The Economist, 2010

Wataro Yoshida: Composition of Mammals, a fictional exhibition using fictional places to study the anatomy of mammals with displays of taxidermy and skulls and accompanying informational posters about the complex structure of each mammal's body

Wataro Yoshida: Composition of Mammals, a fictional exhibition using fictional places to study the anatomy of mammals with displays of taxidermy and skulls and accompanying informational posters about the complex structure of each mammal's body

Lucas Van Vuuren: Lunch, a thorough decision tree

David Garcia Studio: MAP 001 Antarctica, part of MAP (Manual of architectural Possibilities), a publication that aims to merge science and research with architectural design

David Garcia Studio: MAP 002 Quarantine

Stunning, ambitious, and thoughtfully curated, Visual Storytelling is part high-concept dictionary for a language of increasingly critical importance, part priceless time-capsule of bleeding-edge creativity from the Golden Age of information overload, the era we call home.

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