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Data Viz News [25]

The top news, articles and resources from throughout the Internet

September 21, 2013

If only every week was like this one. I mean, if you look at all the links we’ve put together, you’ll find so many interesting stuff that perhaps one weekend isn’t enough to process it all. New books, job opportunities, data viz challenges, online courses and lots of other data visualization / data journalism goodies – and that not to mention the amazing round-ups of interactive and print infographics about the main events of the week.

Also worth noticing is the number of job opportunities being published online. Besides the ones constantly posted on Lynn Cherney’s Daya Viz Jobs Google Group, places like Flowing Data and are also publishing openings related to data visualization, and if that’s not enough, Scott Murray just updated his list of places Where to Post and Find Data Visualization Jobs.

Here are this week’s recommended links:


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

The Online News Association and its academic partner, the School of Communication at the University of Miami, announced the finalists for the 2013 Online Journalism Awards. A group of 24 industry-leading journalists and new media professionals teamed up to review entrants and select finalists. Twelve of those judges, representing a diverse cross-section of the industry, conferred to determine winners from independent, community, nonprofit, major media and international news sites. The results will be announced at the 2013 ONA Conference and Online Journalism Awards Banquet on Saturday, Oct. 19, in Atlanta.

The World Bank has teamed up with the Open Data Institute and the Open Knowledge Foundation in a 3-year project designed to help policy makers and citizens in developing countries understand and exploit the benefits of open data. The project has three objectives: supporting developing countries to plan, execute and run open data initiatives; increasing the use of open data in developing countries; and growing the evidence-base on the impact of open data for development.

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americasfirst Massive Open Online CourseIntroduction to Infographics and Data Visualization” with instructor Alberto Cairo, will return for a third run in early October. The four-week course in English will begin on Oct. 6 and conclude on Nov. 2. Just like all of the Knight Center’s MOOCs, the course will be available for free to anyone in the world with an internet connection.

Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization” with instructor Alberto Cairo, will return for a third run in early October.
“Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization” with instructor Alberto Cairo, will return for a third run in early October.


Thomson Reuters has decided to cancel Next, the consumer-facing website that had been in the works for more than two years, Chief Executive Andrew Rashbass announced in a staff email. Additionally, Jim Roberts, the executive editor of Reuters Digital, is leaving the company. Mr. Roberts took a buyout from the Times in January and landed at Reuters in February.

Chrys Wu (who you’ll probably familiar with on Twitter as @MacDiva) talks about her new job in The New York Times, as the Developer Advocate.It’s a public-facing role and an extension of the work that she’s been doing, bringing people together at the various intersections of code, design and journalism.

Our friend Randy Krum, President of InfoNewt and founder of Cool Infographics, introduces his new book entitled Cool Infographics: Effective Communication with Data Visualization and Design!. The book is for anyone that wants to learn how to use infographics and data visualizations more effectively and it´s filled with tactics and tips that will help you create better infographics and effectively publish them online.

Introducing Cool Infographics, the book, available next month
Introducing Cool Infographics, the book, available next month


The Professional Qualification Program of the National Association of Newspapers (ANJ), as part of their first international training partnership established with the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, developed a online course in Portuguese “Introduction to Data Journalism“, for journalists interested in Computer Assisted Reporting (CAR) and data journalism. It will teach participants the basic concepts of CAR, the differences between CAR and data journalism, the basics of infographics and data scraping and some practical tools for data journalism and the creation of interactive maps. The course is designed for journalists that have some experience with electronic spreadsheets.

The team led by Gustavo Faleiros at just made available a new form of visualization of Global Voices stories about the Amazon rainforest. The platform, a project by Internews and Brazilian environmental website O Eco, was launched in June 2012 at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

The world-renowned chef Ferran Adrià and Telefónica I+D released HackingBullipedia, a unique global challenge to help build Bullipedia. The purpose of the project is to create an online gastronomic database of every piece of culinary knowledge ever gathered, and invites creative and talented people from around the world to contribute with their own ideas and concepts.



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

Dashboards and visual displays for the blind, a topic that Stephen Few addresses after an exchange of emails with a reader, who apparently believes that Stephen has been encouraging his clients to break the law by failing to teach people to design dashboards in ways that were accessible to the blind.

In this post, Brian Merchant talks about a new graphic representation of Earth’s temperature, spanning 10.000 years. The work was published by scientists at the University of Oregon in the journal Science – and just to compare, the famous ‘Hockey Stick’ graph, which describes the rapid rise in temperatures as assembled by paleoclimatologist Dr. Michael Mann, goes back a ‘mere’ 1.000 years.

A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years | Shaun A. Marcott, Jeremy D. Shakun, Peter U. Clark, Alan C. Mix
A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years | Shaun A. Marcott, Jeremy D. Shakun, Peter U. Clark, Alan C. Mix


The folks at Dashboard Insight revisited Michael Friendly’s 2005 paper on the milestones in the history of Data Visualization, Milestones in the History of Data Visualization: A Case Study in Statistical Historiography (pdf).

A couple of months ago,, in partnership with Accurat and Ben Willers, created The Startup Universe, an interactive visualization/tool that provides access to TechCrunch’s ChrunchBase of startups and their funding networks (we featured it here). Bryan Connor shares his thoughts about this work.

Partial screen capture of the interactive infographic Startup Universe
(The Startup Universe |, Accurat, Ben Willers)


As any Tumblr user can confirm, Gifs are here to stay, and Jon Salm shows in this post, how they can even be used for data visualization. Romain Vuillemot, Jeremy Boy and Marian Dörk conducted a study on how people use GIFs as a data visualization format. While many visualizations become short-lived due to software or compatibility issues, the researchers noticed that GIFs do not and have made a “sweeping comeback” among a wide variety of users, from journalists looking to inform to artists looking to entertain.

Data Viz gif

Another one of Kaiser Fung‘s chart and graphic analysis, pointing out better alternatives to visualize the data presented in a recent infographic about ‘Vanity Height’ – a ‘metric’ defined as the height above which the floors of a certain building are unoccupied.

After a year of research and collecting data, Chris Twigg began a series of posts where he’ll be making experimental data visualizations for a project his involved in – ‘The Hardest Target’ -, for eventual display at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre. For this first post, he shows a visualization detailing the aircrews and aircraft lost from RAF East Kirkby.

Partial screen capture of the interactive infographic Aircrews and aircraft lost from RAF East Kirkby
(image: Chris Twigg)



Ranging from ancient charts to modern digital cartography and GIS technology, here you’ll find the best links of the week:

The most recent work with the ‘hand’ of Eric Fischer is this visualization of OpenStreetMap‘s community, by generating a color for each road segment from the user ID of the mapper who last edited it. here’s the result:

OpenStreetMap's Contributor Community visualized
OpenStreetMap’s Contributor Community visualized


Citizen science is a very effective method by which scientists can exploit the power of the crowd to collect and analyse data. Keir Clarke compiled some great examples of crowd-sourced or citizen science interactive maps using the Google Maps API.

This year at the Open Source Geospatial Foundation‘s annual meeting, mappers from around the world have entered their work in a contest. A panel of map experts will select the winners in the categories of best data integration, best software integration, best cartographic display, best static map (digital display), best anti-map, best web map application and most unique map. There’s also a people’s map category in which you can vote.

FOSS4G Digital Cartography Collection
London Galaxy by Charley Glinn | FOSS4G Digital Cartography Collection



The most recent articles with tips, insights and best practices around data journalism.

“Corrections are an inherent part of journalism and we have standards for issuing them in traditional narrative reporting. It’s part of the process.” Jake Harris shares his thoughts about when and how to issue corrections for data journalism in this.

A long insightful overview, by Gregory Ferenstein, of Evan Williams’ plan to shift our daily reading habits away from consuming incremental news bites and towards engaging with enlightened ideas curated by an intelligent algorithm.

The recent visit of Jeff Bezos to the Washington Post was all over the news, and Reg Chua, Editor, Data and Innovation at Thomson Reuters, gives his opinion about the issues raised by the Post’s new owner and his plans for the next years.

Liliana Bounegru, media researcher at the University of Amsterdam, spoke earlier this year about data journalism at a conference at Stanford University, focused on sourcing practices in data journalism. here’s the presentation:



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

The Twitter’s Observability team detailed, in a recent post, the software stack for monitoring the performance characteristics of software services. Ben Lorica walks us through this distributed, near real-time system that simplifies the collection, storage, and mining of massive amounts of event data.

Brad Llewellyn, a Statistician, Data Miner, and Visualizations Expert from Charlotte, NC, begins a series of posts comparing two of the top self-service BI tools on the market, Tableau and Power Pivot.

Lots of interesting comments in this provoking article by Cathy O’Neil, about the misunderstandings about big data and business analytics.

There’s an essential difference between true big data techniques, as actually performed at surprisingly few firms but exemplified by Google, and the human-intervention data-driven techniques referred to as business analytics.


With all the rising hype around Big Data, it’s natural that some companies still struggle to fully understand what tools to use for their reality. As Chris Stucchio points out, for a 600 MB data base, Hadoop might not be the right choice.



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

Like we mentioned in the introduction, Scott Murray updated his list of resources for those wanting to advertise or land open data visualization positions.

A tutorial introducing the U.S. Census Bureau’s Flows Mapper tool, which maps the flow of people from one county to another using data from the 2006-2010 American Community Survey.


In this post, Nelson Ray explores the related problems of accurate estimation of quantiles and building histogram visualizations that enable the live exploration of distributions of values.

A new series of posts to help those set to begin in the world of graph visualization. Sébastien Heymann explains what this series is about, and how it will teach you how to create, read, and interpret graphs visually.

Ecologist Eric Berlow and physicist Sean Gourley apply algorithms to the entire archive of TEDx Talks, taking us on a stimulating visual tour to show how ideas connect globally.

One of the article e featured last week was Cole Nussbaumer‘s post about displaying survey results. John wrote this detailed article with several different ways of displaying that type of data, usinf Excel.

Chief Social Scientist at Connected Action Consulting Group, Marc Smith, is also the Director of the Social Media Research Foundation and while at Microsoft developed NodeXL, a free Excel Add-in to visualize your social networks. Here, he talks about the different types of network structures, ways to see how people are talking about your brand/product, and what it could mean for your business.



An updated view at the Events Calendar we have available here on Visual Loop.

Data viz events
Data viz events calendar


That’s it for another Data Viz News. Like we said before, 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.