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Data Viz News [41]

Articles, news, tutorials and interviews that you can't miss

January 25, 2014

It’s great to see things getting back to ‘business as usual’, now that 2014 is definitely on the go. New products and updates are being launched, the juries and keynote speakers for the major events are being announced, and the amount of quality articles being published keeps increasing.

So, what can we say about this week? Well, if we had to pick one leading story to summarize the past few days, it had to be the “Princeton vs Facebook” face-off. In case you’ve missed this, researchers from Princeton University caused waves on the internet when they published a paper claiming that Facebook would lose 80% of its users between 2015 and 2017. Facebook reply came by Mike Develin, a Data Scientist in the company, who wrote in a public note on the site debunking the research.

Apart from that, also worth mentioning the coverage (here and here) that the work of two of our friends at The Times of Oman and Al Shabiba, already featured on our Portfolio of the Week section, had along the week: Marcelo Duhalde and Antonio Farach. Congratulations, guys!

And while we’re in ‘congratulations mode’, a word for the jury of Malofiej 22, with several familiar face like Alessandro Alvim and Robert Simmon. The announcement was made this week, and we open our huge list of recommended reads precisely with that story.

Hope you enjoy!



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

It’s almost time for another edition of Malofiej, the prime event of journalistic infographics that happens in Pamplona, Spain. Malofiej 22 will take place between the 23rd and the 28th March, and the jury was announced this week. Among them, John Tomanio (National Geographic), Alessandro Alvim (O Globo), Scott Klein (ProPublica), Flor Abd (La Nación), Robert Simmon (NASA), Jonathan Corum (The New York Times) and Claire Carrard (Courrier International).

The jury of Malofiej 22 was announced
The jury of Malofiej 22 was announced


For the third time, the Global Editors Network will be showcasing the most impressive work in data journalism from all over the world. Eight prizes for a total of 16,000 euros are awarded in 8 categories – and judging by the quality of the past winners, we’ll be probably seeing some great projects this year too.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced funding for 24 new projects out of the Knight Prototype Fund, which helps innovators explore early-stage media and information ideas with $35,000 in funding. Prototype Fund investments allow people to experiment, learn and iterate before moving on to the more costly stage of building out a project. The Knight Prototype Fund accepts applications quarterly; the next application deadline is Jan. 31, 2014. Visit for more information, and congratulations to all the winners!

Starting with eight high-quality plugins, MapBox announced this collection of great libraries that developers can add to their maps by simply hotlinking to the source files. This makes it easy to mix and match features and build fast.

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is expanding its open education offerings in the area of data science, with a structured and comprehensive Data Science Specialization offered through Coursera, a provider of Massive Open Online Courses.The series of nine MOOCs are now open for enrollment and free to anyone, according to the university. Instruction in the first three courses will begin on April 7, 2014; all nine courses will be open for instruction by July 7, 2014.

The Information Lab, Tableau EMEA partner of the year 2013, is now supporting Mapbox services. “Combining Mapbox & Tableau brings a whole new level of mapping capability to our customers.” says Tom Brown, Director at The Information Lab, quoted in the official announcement post.

Chartio has raised $2.2 million from Avalon Ventures and added some new features to its data visualization platform that blends data sets and does complex calculations. With the funding, Chartio will continue to develop its platform for analyzing data sets without the need for building data-warehouse environments. Chartio had previously raised a $4.4 million Series A round from Avalon in 2011.

Twitter has provided a basic analytics tool for all users since June 2013, and this week the company released Analytics For Twitter Cards. The dashboard shows impressions, URL clicks, and app installs of a publisher’s tweets and mentions by other users, as well as easy ways to measure favorites, retweets, and follows.



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

As we mentioned here, this month on Tableau is dedicated to data blogging, and this time, Mike Klaczynski shares some tips on how to actually start blogging.

A new series of posts by Robert Kosara, about the purpose, importance and flaws of academic paper reviewing. At this time, this series has five posts, but it’s almost sure that more are to come.

Slopegraphs are quite popular among data visualization experts such as Alberto Cairo and Andy Kirk, and in this article Jon Schwabish writes about a possible use of this form of visualization using the data of Neil Freeman’s map of the electoral college, published in The Washington Post.

An article by Dan Montgomery sharing his own experience with Blogging, also in the midst of Tableau’s Data Blogging Month.

Benjamim Starr talks about one of the infographics created by our friend Marcelo Duhalde (featured on our Portfolio of the Week section a back in June). Marcelo is currently working as a deputy editor at the Times of Oman, and the infographic in question was featured on a previous edition of This is Visual Journalism.

GDP Euro Zone, Infographic by Times of Oman
(image: Times of Oman)



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

A mention by Kenneth Field to Jon Nelson‘s awesome poster format print map of all known Hurricanes and tropical storms since 1851 from the NOAA archive.

(image: Jon Nelson)


We’ve mentioned this list of The New York Times’ most viewed content in the latest edition of Digital Cartography. The most visited of all our content was the interactive “How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk” and the map of the Boston marathon bombing was also among the top ten. Conclusion? Interactive maps are here to stay.

A provocative post by Keir Clarke, that caused lots of reactions – just see the comments section. After MapBox announcement that we mentioned above, Clarke makes the point that the last major innovation of note from the Google Maps API team was back in June 2012, and that developers are increasingly using MapBox and LeafletJS.

The trend in online mapping at the moment seems to be towards both ever more powerful data visualizations and towards story maps.


An article by Quentin Hardy about Eric Rodenbeck‘s work, together with his team at Stamen Design. It also includes quotes from Douglas van der Molen, a former Google designer who created visualizations for ClearStory Data, and Tomoko Ichikawa, senior lecturer of design at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s design school.

A compilation of maps that reveal different aspects of the US society. Every one measures a distinct historical, socioeconomic, or cultural milestone. This post was written by Tom McKay.

Stefan Geens managed to match the views of Earth in “Gravity” with equivalent views in Google Earth to reconstruct the orbital path of the astronauts. Awesome.

Gravity on Google Earth


A week ago, Eleanor Lutz posted screenshots of a woodcut inspired map. A lot of people asked for an interactive version, so she spent some time polishing the map for the entire world.

Woodcut World Map | Eleanor Lutz
Woodcut World Map | Eleanor Lutz



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

“What if the kind of media organization the Times represents vanishes in the future?” Alberto Cairo expresses his thoughts – and questions – about the future of professional journalism, mentioning examples from The New York Times, ProPublica and

Posted by Liz Hannaford, this article is an edited version of a chapter from “Data Journalism: Mapping the Future”, and it focus on the panel discussions at the August 2013 Conference for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, in Washington DC. The topic in hand: “Why all your students must be programmers”.

Ever since 2013, Chicas Poderosas (leaded by our friend Mariana Santos) have developed great journalistic ideas and projects that bring together the best of research and data. Int his post, Mariana talks about what we can expect from this project in 2014.

This post by Jackson Solway is a summary of the lessons learned by Medium’s team, when exploring new visual narratives for storytelling. It starts here with a bit of theory, and then continues with guides to the two most effective visual storytelling techniques currently in use on Medium.



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

As mentioned in the introduction, this was one of the most controversial topics of the week. By combining “engagement trends” from Google search data with statistical models predicting the spread of infectious diseases, Pinceton researchers claimed that Facebook had effectively “peaked” and was set for a swift decline. Don’t miss the reply by Mike Develin.

According to Mark van Rijmenam, the specific ways in which big data are going to affect your own company culture are dependent on the type of data you have, and what you intend to do with it. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure: “if big data isn’t affecting your company culture, you aren’t using it correctly”.

A blog post released by the White House suggests the fallout from leaker Edward Snowden’s disclosures last year about the National Security Agency’s widespread surveillance projects will spread far beyond questions about government monitoring. As Tom Simonite explains, a presidential working group is to examine how large-scale data collection and analysis by the private and public sectors for purposes outside of intelligence or law enforcement are affecting privacy. The goal is to identify areas in which new policies might be needed to restrain the technology and business of “big data”

A post by Tony Cosentino, in which he shares the key areas on his “2014 analytics research agenda”. It includes a specific focus on business analytics and methods like discovery and exploratory, big data and predictive analytics.

A look at industry research that provides three key reasons why most organizations need a Big Data and ana­lyt­ics strategy now. It was written by Tim Waddell, director of product marketing for Advertising solutions within Adobe’s Digital Marketing Business.

Michele Nemschoff shares seven examples of how businesses across many industries are leveraging Hadoop to reach multiple business goals.



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

Enrico Bertini and Moritz Stefaner review what was big and major trends in 2013 and what to expect in 2014, together with Robert Kosara and Andy Kirk – you should read Robert’s overview here and Andy’s here, both featured on previous editions of Data Viz News. And you’re now invited to contact Enrico and Moritz with suggestions for future episodes, via Twitter, Facebook or email: [email protected].

If you follow our weekly This is Visual Journalism column, you’re probably familiar with the work being done by the team at Times of Oman and Al Shabiba. have produced stunning infographics for years on all types of topics. Infographics director (and featured Portfolio of the Week) Antonio Farach talked with Jonathon Berlin about some the team’s recent projects – a team that also includes Marcelo Duhalde.

A great interview by George Aranda with Andy Kirk, about his work and book Data Visualization: a successful design process. You might also appreciate this interview with Andy, from 2012.

Making the visible, invisible concerns the design choices and execution. Good visualisation avoids creating barriers, causing delays or invoking confusion in the process of drawing interpretations.



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

Excel visualization master John Peltier is back with a fresh tutorial, this time to teach us how to create a simple interactive chart. As usual, extremely detailed and well explained.

Martin Hawksey provides us with the tools and code necessary to create a Twitter Hashtag Contributor Map, using the The result for #rhizo14 to explain how it’s done.

A list of articles related to examples of ‘leaky’ information. It was compiled by Jo Brodie, and you’re invited to add other articles in the same subject.

Andy Kriebel asked Joe Mako to help out with an issue related with Tableau’s date slider quick filter. Quite well explained, and a fantastic example of collaboration between tow of the most renowned Tableau Zen Masters out there.

Some of the most well-known tools to create data visualizations, alongside 15 examples of recent projects, compiled by the folks at the CSS Design Awards.

These are the slides from Andy Cotgreave‘s Oxford Geek Night talk on 22 Jan. Great resource for those in the early stages of their learning curve.



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

Data Viz events calendar
Data Viz events calendar


That’s it for another Data Viz News. As usual, feel free to let us know if we missed some interesting resource, and don’t forget to join us on our Facebook Group, 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.