Dealing with Datasets

When we began our Communication Design Workshop: Data Visualization our first assignment seemed fairly easy. We were tasked with finding a publicly-available dataset, geographic in nature, that we thought could reveal something interesting when visualized in two- and three-dimensions.

Finding an interesting dataset was easy. Working with it? Not so much.

Baseball Nation

This visualization by Tom Giratikanon, Josh Katz, David Leonhardt, and Kevin Quealy shows us how far the actual territory of each MLB team reaches. The New York Times created this map with ZIP codes of people who ‘liked’ each team’s Facebook pages.

Data Exploration

In the field of design research, we use data visualization as an additional means to understand the context in which we propose design solutions. Similar to ethnographic research, interviews, secondary research and literature reviews, making sense of readily available data through visualization can serve as another mechanism to enhance our topic knowledge.

Fisk and Coe

When we think about maps, it is easy to think of them in two layers—the static physical features of the terrain and the changing cultural features we place on top.

Harold Fisk and Dan Coe are two cartographers who have challenged our conception of physical terrain as static and immutable.

Watch Dogs

This website is a great live visualization of spatial data for 3 cities: London, Paris and Berlin.

It was developed as part of a Ubisoft game Watch Dogs, which is set in Chicago and deals with the implications of smart city data being hacked into by protagonists and antagonists of the game.

Equatorial Orthographic Projection

This is the first post in a series of basic D3 tutorials aimed at visualizing different geographic projections. which are mathematical methods for flattening the sphere of the Earth onto a flat piece of paper or computer screen.

The first projection to be introduced is the equatorial orthographic projection. This is perhaps the most natural projection, as it depicts a hemisphere of the globe as it appears from outer space. We first saw our planet from this point of view in 1946, but this projection has been in use since the first century BCE.

Like all projections, the orthographic projection is not a perfectly accurate representation of reality. The shapes and areas of all landmasses are distorted — particularly near the edges — in an orthographic projection, which makes it unsuitable for visualization of navigation routes and comparative information.

Class 1: Introductions

Space and time are the backbone of our lives. We require information about our surroundings and events to function in the world. Access to digital data has fundamentally changed how we interpret the events occuring on our planet. Harnessing the information available to us by translating the computed ones and zeros into a digestible format can help us understand our surroundings, our world, in a larger context. This allows us to be thoughtful and active participants in society.