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Data Viz News [24]

The top news, articles and resources from throughout the Internet

September 14, 2013

Until the ‘subtle’ announcement on Twitter that the company was filling the documentation for the IPO, the week on data visualization was pretty much all about Tableau Customer Conference 2013, held in Washington D.C. The upcoming Tableau 8.2, set to be released early next year, will include native support for Mac, and the reactions were, as expected, quite positive.

There were other interesting developments in the journalism community. For instances, Newsweek’s new owners named Reuters’s Jim Impoco as Editor-in-Chief, data journalist John Burn-Murdoch left The Guardian to join The Financial Times team, and Italian information designer Francesco Franchi just published Designing News: Changing the World of Editorial Design and Information Graphics, that looks pretty impressive.

Today’s list includes many other links to resources, interviews, tutorials and videos, and we also bring you an updated view of our events calendar, just to show you how crazy the next two months will be.

And before we move on to the +40 recommended reads for the weekend, a reminder that you can send us your suggestion of links to include in the upcoming weeks. Just let us know on Twitter (@visualoop).



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

One of the highlights of the week and certainly one of the most expected features for many Tableau users was announced at TCC2013: Tableau Desktop for the Mac – and that means Tableau Public too – will be available in Tableau 8.2, early next year.

Tableau Desktop for the Mac, as announced by the Company at TCC2013
Tableau Desktop for the Mac, as announced by the Company at TCC2013

After Twitter’s announcement, The Wall Street Journal put together a special interactive page with the significant events in the company´s history, along with interviews with the CEO and news that first broke on the service during these seven years of existence.

Partial screen capture of the interactive Twitter page
(image:The Wall Streeet Journal)


Carleton University’s Fraser Taylor, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC) and 
Distinguished Research Professor
in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, is the first Canadian cartographer to receive the Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal, which honors cartographers of outstanding merit who have made significant contributions of an original nature to the field of cartography.

Kyle Ellis, a designer at CNN Digital and Digital Director of the Society For News Design, led the project management and visual redesign of the institution’s website. This redesign features more editorial content, a mobile-friendly design, a new jobs board and improved navigation.

(image:  Society For News Design)
(image: Society For News Design)


With over 1,200 submissions from around the world, the second annual Innovation By Design Awards chose 54 finalists as “the brightest beacons for the future of design”.The winners of each category will be announced at FastCo’s Innovation By Design Conference on October 2, in New York City.

Livefyre, a social media curation and conversation platform, has announced the acquisition of Storify. Livefyre enterprise users will be able to curate Storify content from within the dashboard they use to manage all of their social and user-generated content.

The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) has reported a decline in industry ad revenues every three months since a modest gain in the second quarter of 2006. An now, without announcement, they have stopped compiling and releasing quarterly figures, according to this report by Rick Edmonds.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched an interactive web-based mapping tool that provides the public with access and information on Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) filed with EPA for major projects proposed on federal lands and other proposed federal actions. You can access the tool here.

Professor of visualization and virtual reality at the University of California San Diego’s Qualcomm Institute, Falko Kuester, and his team of researchers, received funds to design and build a new 3D display technologies for visualizing big data from macroscopic to microscopic scales, called project SCOPE.

The South China Morning Post as just created a new infographic gallery on their website, making it easy to browse and explore the quality work of folks like Adolfo Arranz and others. We mention it previously here.

The big picture, infographic by Adolfo Arranz | South China Morning Post
(image: Adolfo Arranz | South China Morning Post )



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

Robert Simmon finished his epic series of posts about the use of color in data visualization, with this list of sources that inspired and informed this series. The list includes books recommendations, online portfolios and Twitter users that are a must-follow on this topic.

“There should be logic in the order in which you display information.”, With this sentence, Cole Nussbaumer starts this article in which she shows how to leverage order for categorical data in a horizontal bar chart, using a real-life (bad) example and Excel.

Ben Jones talks about Fanalytics, a series of events aiming to unite passionate data-lovers to encourage the continued sharing of interactive visualizations on the web. The first one was held in London this past June, and the second was held earlier this week in Washington D.C., at TCC2013.

More than 5 million tweets have mentioned ‘syria’ in the past month. With the work presented in this post, Pablo Barberá shows how Twitter data can be a useful source of information for the systematic study of public opinion from a comparative perspective.

Kaiser Fung shows the flaws of a chart published on the Information is Beautiful blog, with a comprehensive explanation and an alternative (better) way of displaying that same data.



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

In this paper, Sidonie Christophe and Charlotte Hoarau discuss the notions of aesthetic response, objective and experience proposed by Kent (2005), and their relevance for making more expressive personalized maps.

Pete Warden writes about the misuse of Google’s Geo API, and makes a case for other open-source options that can help achieve the same, if not better, results.

For this post, Keir Clarke as put together a fun list of Google Maps Driving Games with different types of driving, vehicles and visualizations.

The French journalist and cartographer Philippe Rekacewicz shared his insights about the concept of Radical Cartography, in a recent TEDx presentation:



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

Taking as an example a recent visualization by The New York Times (one we’ve featured here), Alberto Cairo wonders if there’s a some kind of ongoing change in the style of its infographics. Folks like Andy Kirk contributed with their own opinions in the comment section.

Paul Bradshaw started this new series of posts on is blog, extracted from a draft book chapter on ethics in data journalism. It includes several recommendations for journalists that are beginning to work with data journalism and visualization. Readers are invited to share their experiences with ethical dilemmas, best practice, or guidance.

Another ‘mistaken’ graphic published in newspapers (this one from Austria), and another post pointing out the implications of these type of situation. Vienna-based Michael Bauer wrote this article.

Washington Post’s Emily Show invites to look at the making of The perils at Great Falls interactive infographic (featured a couple of weeks ago here). The project included good old fashioned reporting (Bonnie Berkowitz), cartography (Laris Karklis), illustrations (Todd Lindeman), and motion graphics/visual effects (Sohail Al-Jamea), besides Emily’s contribution with interactive/web design.

Partial screen capture of the interactive infographic Great Falls Park map
(image: The Washington Post)


Allison McCartney is an editor at the PBS NewsHour, and in this post she takes on the growing importance of data in the new online journalism landscape,and some of the perils behind it.

The challenge to editors, producers and executives, then, is not listening to or using data — that’s already happening — but rather to approach data with editorial judgement, determining when to use it and when to ignore it for the sake of journalism, journalism innovation and the good of the organization’s reputation and goals.


According to news industry analyst Ken Doctor, this new generation of newspaper owners like Jeff Bezos or Robert Allbritton (Politico owner, who Has just bought Capital New York) might be the answer to the desperate situation of most publications, providing them with the much-needed financial room to build a long-term strategy.



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

Data giant Acxiom is aiming to quell concerns with a little transparency in the hopes it will pacify lawmakers threatening to curb the industry’s practices and preempt heightened consumer concern about data security and privacy. Kate Kaye gives a general overview on this topic, one of the hottest surrounding Big Data.

New surveys point to a faster adoption by corporations of big data tools and skills, as Gil Press points out in this article – regardless of the growing chorus of doubters in the general media and by the revelations about the NSA’s big data indulgence.

In this post, Kunal Jain highlights some of the key trends and changes happening in the way we visualize data, and provides some resources to use so that you can start capitalizing on these changes.

Scott Gnau, President of Teradata Labs, brings some perspective in to the limitations of data, the growing expecations around machine learning and the dangers of over-reliance on data.

We are decades, at least, away from developing machines that can holistically and continuously index the ever-changing world around us as fast as our five simple senses can. And, in fact, we may never get there. So, the human element of intuition, our ability to understand context and ask the right questions is essential in making the best decisions possible.


Information Week’s Ellis Booker talked with several experts such as Francois Ajenstat, Tableau‘s director of product management, Woopra CEO Elie Khoury and David McCandless, data journalist, information designer and author of Information is Beautiful, about the major trends in business analytics and visualization.



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

Andy Betchel spoke with Charles Apple, Focus page editor at the Orange County Register (and a regular presence in our This is Visual Journalism round-up). A great read to better understand how the focus pages go from idea into print, from one of the most respected and engaged visual journalists out there.

Meghan Louttit, multimedia editor at The New York Times and the dedicated Web producer for the investigations desk, talks about her experience at the newsroom that became the benchmark for all other publications, and leaves some advises for reporters who are learning to code.

A long and enlightening Q&A with Professor Michael Mann, about his book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars.

If you take a sober look at the impacts of climate change as they’re unfolding, as you allude to, in certain cases the changes are happening even faster than we projected them to. Ironically, my fellow climate scientists and I are often called ‘alarmists’ by our detractors.


Brian Suda‘s interview for the virtual seminar Data Visualizations that Pack a Punch, recorded in August, 2013. In it, Brian outlines the different types of meaningful data visualizations, from charts and graphs to more interactive models, and also discusses the importance of using the right tools and exploring newer technologies and higher resolution displays as they emerge.

Interview with our friend Simon Ducroquet (who has been designing infographics at Brazil’s Folha de São Paulo newspaper since 2008), in which he tells a bit about the paper’s innovative projects, what kind of work goes into an animation and how the standards for storytelling are shifting. Here’s one of Simon’s most notorious works:



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

Scott B. Weingart put together this page with all of the examples of diagrams of knowledge from his upcoming talk about the history of knowledge structures. It’s a work in progress, but it has already a very reasonable amount of detailed information to check out.

The first annual White House Safety Datapalooza highlighted innovators from the private, nonprofit and academic sectors who have utilized freely available government data to build products, services, and apps that advance public safety in creative and powerful ways.

Partial screen capture of the website White House Safety Datapalooza White House Safety Datapalooza
White House Safety Datapalooza talks now available |


Another fantastic post by Excel-master Jon Peltier, this time to teach how to escape the dreadful temptation of using 3D bar charts.

This post by Gregor Aisch explains how you can create your own multihue color scheme, using two new features of chroma.js: Bezier interpolation and automatic lightness correction.

A very detailed tutorial by Roberto Mensa showing how to easily create a dynamic slopegraph chart using Excel.

Mehmet Süzen, Ph.D. in Physics at the Goethe University, Frankfurt, talks about the responsibility of ensuring the quality and correctness of statistical or scientific software in general, by implementing unit tests for the functionality of te R code.

This article explains all aspects of the BirdWatch application, witch is a reactive web application for consuming the Twitter Streaming API for a selection of terms. Matthias Nehlsen walks us through the details of this project.

Studio NAND explores interactions between society, science and technology using design as a methodology to craft engaging experiences, stories and visualizations. They consult and work with private and public sector organisations with the aim to identify new ways of using design and upcoming technologies, and this is the video of their presence at Resonate 2013:



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

A lot will be happening in the next months
A lot will be happening in the next months


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.