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Data Viz News [8]

The resources, articles and news that made the headlines in the data viz community

May 25, 2013

Another week is practically gone, and that means it’s time for our suggested reads for all of you interested in data visualization, visual journalism, business analytics and information design in general. And this was a  particularly interesting week for Open Data, with several projects being released, such as The Open Geography portal, Pew Research Center’s Fact Tank and

Here you have all the recommended links for the weekend:


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

The British Office for National Statistics has released The Open Geography portal, unlocking a world of digital geographic data, from postcodes and boundaries to area codes, mapping, and aerial imagery.

BBVA invites journalists and non-journalists alike to its InnovaData data challenge to create the best unpublished written works (article, report or news item)and displays (graphics, videos, computer graphics, etc.) based on open data from various sources.

Data Journalism gained a new ‘home’ with Pew Research Center’s Fact Tank, a new, real-time platform dedicated to finding news in the numbers.

With 2.2 million layers of data, allows users to see geographically located real-time visual information of all kinds. It was developed under the coordination of Dr. Kevin Montgomery.

SIGGRAPH has posted their Technical Papers preview trailer, showing some of the great stuff they’ll be presenting:

Earlier in the week, Processing 2.0b9 was released, and this post by Peter Kirn gives a quick review of the new features.

Leo Burnett has launched a SimCity-style strategy game, Run That Town, using census data collated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Here’s the video-teaser:



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

The latest ‘side project’ by Mortitz Stefaner, Stadtbilder (“city images”), explained in detail in this article.

Stadtbilder, Motritz Stefaner latest data visualization project,
(Stadtbilder, Motritz Stefaner latest data visualization project, is an attempt to map the digital shape of cities)

Former technology editor at Bloomberg Businessweek, Barret Sheridan talks in this article about the urgent need for for newsrooms to adapt their interactive visualizations for mobile devices.

A nice summary of the 22nd International World Wide Web Conference that took place in Rio de Janeiro earlier this month. It was written by Daniele Quercia, a social media researcher at Yahoo! Labs in Barcelona

Andy Kirk, from, talks about the importance of applying the right techniques of data visualization, in order to create a successful final result.

‘Margins of Error’ is an event the took place on 14 May 2013, in London, with the purpose of examining the public understanding of statistics in an era of big data. This article provides us with an overall idea of what was discussed there.

In this age of Visual content, Maria Popova presents the book released in 1978 by Jacob Drachler (1909-1998). This Brooklyn-born artist and poet displayed, in that book, “a visually gripping suite of 44 graphics that captures in a beautifully abstract, ethereal yet tangibly coherent way the essence of the dense Joyce classic.”

One of the co-founders of Column Five, Jason Lankow, wrote this article on the (right and wrong) use of automation in infographic design.

What all of us should pay attention to when using data correlation, and an alert about all the ‘fun’ – and often misleading – relationships being published out there.

Nicolas Kayser-Bril gives us an overview on how companies and individuals could create revenue streams from data-driven journalism, including a comparison between the situation in Europe an the US.

Another well-known figure in the information design ‘realm’, the former Director of Information Graphics at Newsweek magazine and The Associated Press, Karl Gude, leaves his opinion on what makes an infographic ‘cool’.

Ben Welsh on making data journalism work with that time-honored strategy, the “news peg” – a jargon for something out there in the world—a dominant news story, a ritual event, a long-anticipated development—that people are interested in.

In this article for Design Modo, Nataly Birch showcases a collection of websites that have built-in infographics and statistical data blocks.



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

Data-mining analytics expert Shankar Ranganathan leaves some advises to help businesses transform the non-stop stream of information into meaningful and actionable insights.

Bob Zurek gives his opinion on what we might see emerge in the Big Data ecosystem.

Doug Henschen, the Executive Editor of Information Week, shares his opinion about the soon-to-be released Hadoop 2.0.

While Tableau is very much in the news, thanks to a successful IPO the folks at KDNuggets put together a list of other Data Visualization companies worth checking out.

An article by award-winning reporter Kim S. Nash, discussing how multiple industries can adjust inventories and marketing schemes by analyzing a wealth of weather information.

Saul Sherry, Editor of Big Data Republic, published a list of 20 must-follow tweeters from their #bigdata100 PeerIndex ranked list of big data oriented Twitter accounts.

In this post, Rob Knies unveils some of the details behind the data visualization work being done by the Visualization and Interaction for Business and Entertainment (VIBE) team at Microsoft Research Redmond.

A personal historical retrospective by Gil Press, picking his top three events in the history of the IT industry.



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

Just before Tableau’s IPO, Amber Harris caught up with the company’s Software Director of Visual Analysis, Jock Mackinlay, who, in this interview, provides some great insight on the skills required for data visualization today, among other topics.



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

Data Storyteller Tony Hirst shows a few examples on how to use SQL – the Structured Query Language – to ask questions of a dataset contained in a small database.

At The Next Web Conference Europe 2013, Kenneth Cukier gave a keynote talk detailing just how much impact ever-growing big data sets will have on the world. Here’s the video:

This talk by Bret Victor was recorded at the Stanford HCI seminar, back in February. It presents a tool for drawing dynamic pictures — creating data-driven visualizations, like D3, but via direct manipulation of the picture itself, like Illustrator.

John Burn-Murdoch is one of The Guardian’s data journalists and in this presentation he gives an general view on the importance of this form of journalism for both reporters and newsrooms.

Stephen Turner shows how to use ‘R’ to take advantage of Twitter’s stream of information. Particularly useful since after the company decided to game its own API, a few months back.

Inspired by the new index card effect in Google Maps, Keir Clarke writes about his “little Sunday hack”, trying to replicate some of the features included in the recent update.

Not the New Google Maps, a 'Sunday hack" by Keir Clarke
(Not the New Google Maps, a ‘Sunday hack” by Keir Clarke)

A project by Nelson Minar, this vector tile map of American rivers is based on the NHDPlus dataset and has a readable source.

A new survey conducted by Consumer Goods Technology (CGT) and sponsored by Cognizant explores how consumer goods companies are approaching data management strategies and usage.

The 3rd in a three part series outlining the basic tools to get started with data visualization for the web. This talk focus on using Google Refine to manipulate data and d3 to generate some impressive visualizations with minimal effort.



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

As one of the most prestigious competitions of its kind, the European Inventor Award each year pays tribute to the creativity of inventors. This year’s ceremony will take place in Amsterdam, and you can get all the details here.

In this event, participants will learn how to find, extract, and analyse public data, using powerful forensic tools, to tell better informed stories. It will take place at the GIMPA School of Technology, in Accra.

This event will bring together journalists, developers, designers, nonprofits and the community to create projects using open data on immigration, code and technology. More info here.

Chicago MigraHack
Chicago MigraHack


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.