Create infographics

Data Viz News [14]

The top news, articles and resources from throughout the Internet

July 6, 2013

Next week we’ll be a quiet one, in terms of data visualization events. Actually, July and August are traditionally slow months for the field – the quiet before the storm that will be September, if you look at our data viz events calendar. However, the lack of events doesn’t mean that there weren’t any new developments or fresh content worth reading.

Before we head to our list of suggested links, we invite you to check out our Job Board, updated with new career opportunities from BBC, Datameer and Infogr8. You can send us your data visualization related job opening for free, and we’ll be more than happy to add it to the current positions available, besides spreading the word on Facebook (including our Group), Twitter and Google+. Also, we’d like to publicly thank all of you who congratulated us for our first anniversary. You guys rock.

Now, hope you enjoy our list of recommended reads:



Latest product launches and business announcements, career moves, data visualization competitions and general news.

A “re-imagination of”.  That’s how Kyle Ellis described the new phase of the organization’s digital presence. The first move is already in place, with the announcement that Katie Myrick of The Washington Post will be serving as editor of, focusing specifically on community engagement strategies.

The American Statiscal Association members elected David Morganstein, from Westat, and Jeri Mulrow (National Science Foundation) as their Board of Directors President and Vice-President. See the full list of elected members to all the available positions here.

Two interesting promotions in The New York Times, with Steve Duenes becoming Associate Managing Editor for Visualization, and Aron Pilhofer as the new Associate Managing Editor for Digital Strategy. Good luck for both in their new challenges.

Those interested in submitting papers for the Communication Complexity international Design conference (2CO) now have the full guidelines available in this link. But you must hurry: the abstracts’ submission deadline will be July the 15th.

The Land Registry in the UK has made its historical price paid records available to download for free as part of its new open data programme. According to the press release, “this will allow developers and property related businesses to use and reuse one of the world’s largest property datasets, comprising over 17 million residential cash and mortgage sales in England and Wales.”



A selection of recent articles published by experts in data visualization, cartography, business analytics and visual journalism, among other topics.

Twitter’s data editor Simon Rogers (@smfrogers) asked how to explain data visualisation to a non-technical audience. He received a series of answers that he compiled in this post. Includes contributions by Santiago Ortiz (@moebio) and Alberto Cairo (@albertocairo), among others.

In the July/August/September 2013 article for his Visual Business Intelligence Newsletter, author and consultant Stephen Few shows how bar graphs or dot plots can be wrapped across several columns in a way that optimizes screen space. The discussion thread is highly recommended.

Data visualization expert and Social Content Manager at Tableau Software, Andy Cotgreave, shares his thoughts on Stephen Few’s Wrapping Graphs to Extend Their Limits article, that we mentioned above.

Another very interesting project coming out the MIT Media Lab, Immersion is an application that arranges your email history into a visual network of the people you communicate with. The video below explains how Daniel Smilkov, Deepak Jagdish and César Hidalgo developed it.


Enrico Bertini invites us to share our thoughts and experiences with data visualization courses, either as a teacher or as someone who’ve attended some of those courses. As expected, it generated a fascinating comment thread, with well-known experts as Andy Kirk (who also wrote about this discussion in his blog), Jorge Camões and, of course, Alberto Cairo giving their valuable opinions.

Alberto Cairo’s review of Visualizing Data Patterns with Micromaps, by Daniel B. Carr and Linda Williams Pickle. Alberto shows some examples, including one from his own book, The Functional Art, and leaves a great tip: Linked Micromaps, an online tool by The National Cancer Institute to build this type of visualization.

An inside look at Phototrails — a joint venture between the University of Pittsburgh, the California Institute for Telecommunication and Information, and the Graduate Center at CUNY. The team led by Dr. Lev Manovich analysed over 2 million Instagram photos from 13 different cities, showing how each city has its own unique “visual signature,” which is the visual preferences of its citizens.

Maxime Marboeuf writes about the time he spent at Le Monde‘s newsroom, in France, and how the local journalist are using data visualization to tell stories.

Although not so data visualization-related, this piece by Nicky Woolf is nevertheless interesting, as it provides an interesting glance at the top English-language newspaper websites, including the impact of the NSA/Prism scandal revealed by The Guardian. According to figures given exclusively to The Atlantic, the day after Snowden revealed his identity on The Guardian’s website, was the biggest traffic day in their history, with an astonishing 6.97 million unique browsers.

A post by Andrés Monroy-Hernández and Emma Spiro with several graphics and charts analyzing how Twitter was used during the protest in Brazil, including the one below:

Shapes of interaction networks over the course of 8 days (June 15th to 22nd)
Shapes of interaction networks over the course of 8 days (June 15th to 22nd)


Another post about Brazil, but this time by Daniel Santini and André Campos, from the NGO Repórter Brasil. They explain how they created Slaughtering People, an interactive visualization that shows the poor working conditions at Brazil’s meat exporters.

Slaughtering People, an investigation/data visualization by Reporter Brasil
Slaughtering People, an investigation/data visualization by Reporter Brasil


Tate Watkins, Editor of Medium for Haiti, tels the story of how Haitians are using a crowdsourced map to chart their own country, and its development, by riding motorcycles with handlebar-mounted GPS units.

Using Google’s trend information about the interest over time in terms related to data visualization and visual thinking, Jeff Bennett shows how the ‘infographic explosion’ has been taking over the Internet since 2010. Click on the image to access the Google Trends interactive report.

Partial screen capture of the interactive infographic Google Trends visual thinking
(image: Google Trends)



Recent articles related to the wide range of data visualization applications for business analytics, as well as content surrounding the “Big Data” buzz.

Faced with the ongoing confusion over the term ‘Big Data’, Timo Elliott put up together a guide to some of the key definitions that you might see out there.

John Foreman, the data scientist at, makes an unexpected, yet effective, analogy between data science and crack addiction, to alert the data scientist community that there’s still a long way to assure that their role is guaranteed, in this ever-changing corporate landscape.

Data science is more like crack. Businesses want more not when it’s held entirely out of their reach but when they’ve been allowed to successfully smoke a little. Then they’re hooked. But for some SMBs, the upfront cost of hiring a data scientist before they see value in analytics is too high a cost to commit to


Another post by Andy Cogreave, this time in his monthly column at Huffpost Tech UK. In it, Andy highlights the importance of using the right data visualization tools to answer questions quickly and in the most efficient way.

The impacts and applications of Google Glass technology, by Bruno Aziza (author of “Drive Business Performance” and Vice President of Marketing at SiSense), with special emphasis on Big Data.

The truth about Google Glass is not that it will marginally improve the experience we already get from other devices like our phones and tablets. Google Glass can revolutionize humanity and the company shouldn’t be shy about presenting the project in these terms.

This keynote was presented at Hadoop Summit 2013 on June 26, 2013 by Sid Anand and Hien Luu of LinkedIn.


Insights from well-known names in the data visualization field, published during last week.

The Pew Research Center recently launched a new data journalism platform, Fact Tank, and Moran Barkai talked with Alan Murray, president of the Center, about this new initiative.

Denise Malan, formerly a investigative and data reporter at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, explains in this interview how a new collaboration between the Investigative News Network and Investigative Reporters and Editors will help small news organizations, among other topics. The interview was conducted by Caroline O’Donovan.

 A lot of what I’m going to be doing with IRE and INN is working with the INN members in helping them to gather the data and analyze it and inform their local reporting.


Ranging from tutorials and presentations, to lists of tools and practical guidelines for creating effective data visualizations.


Andy Kirk describes his scrapping data experience when trying to pull out all the Texas ‘Death Row’ execution data into a “nice, neat workable format”. He made the Google Spreadsheet publicly available, and you’re invited to visualize the data.

On May 23, 2013, Caltech, JPL and the Art Center College of Design held a one-day symposium on Data Visualization from Data to Discovery, and Bruce Berriman shared the links to the talks recently posted on YouTube.

A slideshow with interactive data visualizations and websites to find, analyze and visualize publicly available data that you can use in your own materials.

In this video, The Economist’s data editor Kenneth Cukier talks about three recently released data visualization books: Simon RogersFacts are Sacred, The Infographic History of the World, by James Ball and Valentina D’Efilippo, and Nathan Yau‘s Data Points: Visualization That Means Something.

Andrew Hill of Vizzuality gave a rapid how-to on collecting data using CartoDB and Google Forms to create dynamic, real-time maps, or field based collection tools, at the Geo NYC June Meetup.


Friedrich Lindenberg is a Knight-Mozilla Fellow working as a technologist in the newsroom of Spiegel Online. In this post he looks at some of the tools that can be used to text mine large collections of documents.

A list with several downloadable PSD and AI elements and kits that can be helpful (as in time saving) in infographic and presentations design.

An exploratory ‘R’ tutorial by Tyler Rinker, on how to map the Supreme Court decisions. It includes a step-by-step explanation on how to grab and clean data, as well as how to plot and visualize it.

Swiss radio and TV station SRF asked Henk van Ess if data journalism can ruin someone’s name, and in this keynote he tries to give it an answer:


Thanks for joining us for another Data Viz News. As always, feel free to let us know if we missed some interesting resource, and don’t forget to join us on our Facebook Group or, where we share many of the links mentioned above.

Written by Tiago Veloso

Tiago Veloso is the founder and editor of Visualoop and Visualoop Brasil . He is Portuguese, currently based in Bonito, Brazil.