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Data Viz News [37]

Keynotes, interviews and other videos, in this best of 2013 special edition

December 14, 2013

Like we said last week, these next two issues of Data Viz News are dedicated to feature some of the best content published in this regular column, since it started, back in April. Every week, we deliver dozens of links with the latest news and resources about data visualization, cartography and data journalism, and that has been an exciting journey – eache edition feels almost like a one-day course!

Our first round-up of the best content of Data Viz News 2013 is actually a follow-up to one of our early ‘hits’ here on Visual Loop: 40 must-see videos about data visualization and infographics. Posted in October, 2012, it contained keynotes, TED presentations and interviews around the fields of data visualization and visual journalism, and during 2013 we kept a constant eye opened for more videos, sharing them regularly on Data Viz News.

Today, we bring you many of those videos, as a way of looking back in to what happened in 2013. You’ll see keynotes and interviews, of course, but also product demos, launches and tutorials. We didn’t brought, although, video-infographics, similar to the ones we publish every day, but you can browse through hundreds of those here. So, get ready for hours and hours of knowledge, insights and – why not? – some fun!

And in case you missed it, we’ve already started our 2013 Top 100’s compilations. Check out our picks for interactive maps, print infographics and data visualizations, and keep watching this space next week, when we’ll publish the second part of each one of those posts.

And, now, the videos:

To start our selection, Noah Iliinsky‘s Keynote address at the OCLC Symposium at ACRL 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.


The Z-Axis Seminar Series seeks to honor individuals who have made a profound impact and to engage conversation about the future of Human Computer Interaction. On April 10, 2013, one of those honorees, Aaron Koblin, spoke at the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon.


Data journalism is evolving at a rapid pace. This playlist includes the sessions of the School of Data Journalism organised in association with European Journalism Centre and Open Knowledge Foundation, and features, among others,  Dan Sinker (director Knight-Mozilla Open News), Guido Romeo (Wired), Aron Pilhofer (ed. interactive news New York Times) and Lucy Chambers (Open Knowledge Foundation).


In this SDW Free Friday Tech Talk, Douglas Welton, MAC OS developer and SDW Tech Talk regular, takes us through myriad questions related to visualizing data over time.


The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the journal Science created the International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge to celebrate the grand tradition of science visualization and to encourage its continued growth., and released this promo video.


Professor Peter Bol describes in this video his Hauser Grant project (Geospatial education at Harvard: A new course in mapping and spatial perspectives) where he plans to develop a new course on spatial reasoning, cartography, and geographic analysis.


In 2013, Microsoft announced the preview availability of project codename “GeoFlow” for Excel 2013. GeoFlow is an  addition to Excel 2013 that lets you plot geographic and temporal data visually, analyze that data in 3D, and create interactive “tours” to share with others. Here’s the public video preview:


This session, again part of the School of Data Journalism organised in association with European Journalism Centre and Open Knowledge Foundation, is all about precision journalism and how to use simple tools like spreadsheets to analyse government data for patterns that lead to stories. The instructor was Steve Doig.


Over 2.700 people from 47 countries have signed for the new Knight Center’s Data Journalism MOOC in Spanish. It was a five-week course, and was ministered by the Argentinian journalist Sandra Crucianelli.


We’ve  mentioned several times the PBS video, The Art of Data Visualization, and this is the post where Stephen Few criticizes the lack of consistency displayed in the message. Here’s the video:


Former investigations executive editor of The Guardian David Leigh was at #dataharvest13 to discuss his participation in ICIJ’s Offshore Leaks project.


As expected, Google announced what turned out to be the biggest change ever made to Google Maps since its launch, eight years ago. Here’s the video Google released with a brief overview of all the changes.


WSJ’s Ben Rooney takes a look at how “big data” can be used to make art and social commentary:


A useful video-tutorial covering how to collect data with Google Forms and have it inserted directly into a CartoDB table.


SIGGRAPH‘s Technical Papers preview trailer. The SIGGRAPH Technical Papers program is the premier international forum for disseminating new scholarly work in computer graphics and interactive techniques. SIGGRAPH 2013 brought together thousands of computer graphics professionals, 21-25 July 2013, in Anaheim, California, USA.


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


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 gives an general view on the importance of this form of journalism for both reporters and newsrooms.


Written by Scott Sullivan, a user experience designer at Involution Studios, this article challenges designers to embrace coding -a after all, “How can you design something if you don’t know how it works?”. It includes a couple of videos, like this simple processing walkthrough:


Big news from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR). The George W. Donaghey Emerging Analytics Center (EAC) will be headed by Dr. Mary Good. It will be located on the fourth floor of UALR’s Engineering and Information Technology building, featuring data visualization systems that are among the first of their kind in the world. The (2-hour long) video below provides some details about the project:


For the past few months, Pete Smart and Rob Hawkes have been working on ViziCities, a 3D city and data visualisation platform — the project is about bringing cities to life using the power of open data and the Web. Find out more about the recent developments in this post (includes several videos like the one below).


A total of 16 keynotes presented at the 2013 OpenViz Conference are available on Bocoup’s YouTube channel. Below you have the playlist with names like Santiago Ortiz, Amanda Cox and Kim Rees sharing precious insights.


A video tutorial by Doug Finke using the Data Explorer and GeoFlow for Excel. In this example, Doug uses data from the USGS about earthquakes to create a 3D visualization.


In this session, presented at the State of the Map US – San Francisco 2013, Andrew Hill demonstrates how CartoDB can be used to store, manage, and sort OSM data, and then be used to combine dynamic data with OSM layers to create real-time maps.

Andrew Hill - Using OpenStreetMap Data to Build Your Dynamic Maps


Tapestry’s blog was updated several times with the ‘short story’ presentations, from the inaugural Tapestry Conference in February 2013. Bryan Connor of The Why Axis presented the talk “Critics, Critique and Critical Visualization”, and Hannah Fairfield presented “The Art of Honest Theft”. The slides are also available for downloading here.


Back in June, the geojournalism platform InfoAmazonia completed one year and as part of the celebration, they created a small promo video to show the features of tool. Once more, congratulations to Gustavo Faleiro and team for such a great job.


In his blog, the head of the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews project, Daniel Sinker, announced the opening of applications to become a 2014 Knight-Mozilla Fellow. The project places developers and technologists with news organizations for 10 months of hacking, experimenting, and building new open-source tools for journalism.


For Brent Tully’s 70th birthday, a group of his friends and collaborators teamed up to throw a conference celebrating his work. They released a video of his cosmic map in 3D, showing not only all the visible structures but also the unseen dark matter, and illustrates the dynamic behavior of the whole universe.


Using highly detailed vegetation index data from the VIIRS sensor aboard the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP, scientists at NOAA generated some animations highlighting our ever-changing planet:


Jukka Niiranen, a Microsoft Dynamics CRM specialist, shares an interesting YouTube video tutorial created by Ed Martinez that walks you through the steps needed in order to connect your Excel 2013 to a Dynamics CRM Online OData feed:


Voices is a new tool from IntelliResponse (which sells virtual agent technology), that translates common customer queries into theme-based bubbles with labels like “credit limit” or “online banking.” Prior to Voices, IntelliResponse would analyze data coming from virtual agents and generate reports for bank clients. Here’s a short video on the making o Voices:


An inside look at a personal data visualization project by Jed Carter, a London-based graphic design student. By linking 64 public-access web cameras across Europe, Jed recorded images of the colour of the sky. This post explaining his creative process comes with a video showing the final results:


In the video game WATCH_DOGS, the city of Chicago is run by a Central Operating System that uses data to manage the city. Because this isn’t that far from happening in real life, specially in big cities, WATCH_DOGS WeareData was developed to be the first website to gather publicly available data about Paris, London and Berlin in one location. Watch the following video:


A demonstration video on the use of Altmetric Explorer to track the conversations around articles online. The Explorer app pulls data from Twitter, Facebook, blogs, newspapers & magazines and more, and lets you discover interesting new papers while conveying a broad sense of research impact through multiple metrics. It’s free for librarians.


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.


Again from Andrew Hill, 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.


Affectionately given the title 2.1, this release CartoDB 2.1 was, above all, a major step forward for the platform, with the addition of new features, design and usability improvements, and most of all, multilayer support. The video below gives more details about this new release:


A quick talk by Nicholas Felton for the Felton gave a two-day workshop in May:


An impressive demonstration of imMens, a system designed to support interactive visual exploration of large data sets with billions or more elements. The team behind it published a full paper at EuroVis 2013, available here, and shared the video below:


In one of the most well-received Eyeo talks of the year, Giorgia Lupi shares her personal story and describes a self-taught method which enables her imagination to wander through the world and find visual inspiration in everyday life and experience. Check out other Eyeo videos on Vimeo.


In this OpenNews Learning special, Jonathan Stray presents an equation-free statistics talk on data and the shape of randomness. This lecture was given as part of the 15th Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists at the Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting, Rhode Island.


RetailNext, Euclid, Brickstream, Nomi, WirelessWerx, Mexia Interactive, and ShopperTrak are just a handful of services that provide brick-and-mortar stores with analytics by tracking customers movements. In this post, Sarah Kessler talks not only about the current gorwth of this type of solutions, but also about the concerns around the potential of this technology.


A panel of data viz experts (New York Times Graphics Editor Amanda Cox, Facebook Data Scientist Tye Rattenbury, and Data Solutions Architect Chris Whong) discussed several topics related to data journalism and its future, open data, big data, and the intersection between qualitative and quantitative data, at a panel moderated by Huge’s Analytics Lead Dylan Spencer.


Jonathan Lansey used Google maps to measure the time it takes to get from Cleveland circle to anywhere in Boston, both by bike and by the T, and has just published a post explaining how he created it.


Bret Victor gave a talk at Dropbox’s DBX conference last July, called The Future of Programming, and has now shared the links and quotes from some primary sources he used, as well as additional resources where you can learn more.


Ray Daly, of The Washington Post, spoke in May at JSConf about “JavaScript journalism”. The video of his talk was just posted to YouTube and the slides are available here.


One of the most awaited features for all CartoDB users has finally arrived. According to the company’s blog post, “you can start adding legends to all your existing visualizations or add them to new ones in the future.” They also released this video:


An inside scoop at one of the latest projects by Jan Willem Tulp: a visual analytics tool that gets a sense of the trends in the Dutch used-car market which allows – a Dutch online marketplace where users can buy and sell practically anything -, to make proper adjustments to the occasion section of their website.


News Exchange’s Matt Cargill speaks to multimedia journalist and Guardian US Interactive editor Gabriel Dance about how interactive news features and data infographics can be used to tell stories to new audiences, and his time at the world’s first iPad-only newspaper, The Daily.


Moritz Stefaner was one of the speakers at the European Communication Summit 2013, that took place in Brussels, on the 27th and 28th of June. He just shared the video with his talk.


One of the signs that a online video went ‘viral’ is the amount of tweets posted about it, and now you can visualize how that ‘viral effect’ happens, thanks to this post by Gordon MacMillan, showing three well-known examples.


Graham Roberts, a familiar name in the data visualization community for his work as Graphics/Multimedia Editor at The New York Times, gave an online class, September 4th, about the use of animated infographics . Here’s Skillshare‘s video promo:


As a follow-up on the Barcelona Beats (a real time map of what’s going on in real time around the city of Barcelona), the folks at Outliers Collective have prepared a short video with some highlights from a whole month (April 2013) of digital and physical life in the Spanish city, including: Traffic density, Foursquare check-ins and Biking (public bike system) Data.


David Sarno, a former journalist who spent eight years reporting on technology for the Los Angeles Times, founded a new start-up called Lighthaus – a new venture that applies game design principles to create touchable interactive graphics — graphics which can help bring important stories to life. The article written by Liz Shannon Miller includes this video of a recent talk by Sarno


Professor Kirk Borne, a leading voice in Big Data, believes that “the volume, complexity, and speed of data today are vastly different from anything that we have ever previously experienced, and those facts will be even more emphatic next year, and even more so the following year, and so on.” He mentions a couple of interesting links, including a TEDx talk he gave back in April, titled Big Data, Small World:


In this short talk, Nuno Vargas explains the collaborative tool he began developing during his Knight Fellowship, that enables newsrooms to quickly create stories that incorporate visuals, datasets and other elements.


As incredible as it sounds, ZMap is an open-source method that allows to scan the entire Internet in less than an hour. According to the report by Luisa Rollenhagen, ZMap manages to survey every IP address on the Internet- a process that usually can take months – in about 45 minutes, all from a single machine, while approaching incredible speed. Here’s the explanatory video:


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


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:


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:


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.


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.


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.


Jenny Beorkrem, a graphic designer, began Ork Posters with just a few sales on Etsy, back in 2007. It now offers 26 maps, with the Bronx just added recently.


Mark Horvit, executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), shared his thoughts on how data has changed investigative reporting and how IRE fits into the future of journalism. Here’s the short video:


From Google, came a resource called Analytics Academy, aimed to be a new hub for digital marketers and analysts to stay up-to-date. The site also features free community-based video courses about digital analytics and Google Analytics, like this one:


This project by Jennifer Maravillas, 71 Square Miles, was all over the Internet. Maravillas was working on a map of Brooklyn, but instead of using traditional material, she was compiling it entirely out trash found throughout the borough.


The 3rd edition of the EUhackathon took place on the 24h and 25th of September 2013 in Brussels. This 30-hour event with 24-hours coding brought together nearly 30 participants of 13 nationalities to create visualizations about government surveillance. The winners were awarded €5.000.


Bora Beran presents one of the most exciting new features in Tableau 8.1: R integration, as shown in the following video:


Foursquare designer Matt Healey explains to John Paul Titlow how he created the stunning Pulse visualizations of check-in data that the company showed off in 2013.


Laurie Petrycki sat down with Scott Murray, Assistant Professor of Design at the University of San Francisco, Code Artist and author of ‘Interactive Data Visualization for the Web: An Introduction to Designing with D3‘, to talk about creating interactive data visualizations.


We’ve mentioned several times RAW, the new data visualization tool from Density Design that transforms text from your clipboard to D3.js. For those yearning to access RAW from R, here is an easy way to do it.


The European Journalism Centre (EJC) launched the Doing Journalism with Data‘, a free online course with 5 leading experts. This free 5-module online introductory course gives you the essential concepts, techniques and skills to effectively work with data and produce compelling data stories under tight deadlines. Its set to start in early 2014.


Prof. Winfried Gerling, together with a whole network of media researchers, creators and students, will teach in this MOOC the basics of storytelling, such as antagonist/protagonist relationships, narrative/narrated time, how to analyze how they are designed and executed based on aforementioned basics and discuss how (and if) new online tools and formats change the way stories are told and perceived. The 8-chapter course starts on October 25th, 2013 and ends on December 20th, 2013.


Twitter’s Data Visualization Scientist, Nicolas Garcia Belmonte, spoke at the data visualization meetup heald in Twitter HQs. He shared both the slides and the 18m video.


This huge YouTube playlist (59 videos) is a comprehensive Excel 2007 class taught by Mike Girvin at Highline Community College with a review of Excel basics and then move on to intermediate and advanced topics in Excel.


‘Semi di Futuro’ is an exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Politecnico di Milano and taking place at the Triennale Museum of Design, Milan. The folks at Density Design contributed to the project with an interactive installation showing the present of the university through three points of view: the research brought on by the students, the internationalization and the relationships with other universities around the world and the presence on the national press. The exhibition will be hosted until December 22th – and the entrance is free.


Pure map-awesomeness, courtesy of Wired’s Liz Stinson, presenting the work of Peter Bellerby. He began constructing globes out of his house, curtaining off his dining and sitting rooms with plastic so they’d be protected from the casting process. He quickly learned that hand making globes requires some intensely technical skills that are equal parts reliant on perfect math and artistic execution. Just watch the video:


Inspired by a Bryan Pierce‘s post, Andy Cotgreave made a short video of how to create cycle plots in Tableau, and also shows a couple of other ways you can quickly look for seasonality in your data.


Joseph Rickert shares his impressions of Dan Cerone‘s presentation at NESSIS 2013, “State of Transition: Estimating Real-Time Expected Possession Value in the NBA with a Spatiotemporal Transition Model and Player Tracking Data”, which describes how he and his fellow researchers are using an optical tracking data a system developed by STATS, and scheduled to be installed in all 30 NBA arenas, to build predictive state transition models.


This video was quite popular, even outside the data viz/maths community. “Beauty of Mathematics” from Yann Pineill and Nicolas Lefaucheux shows how much of what we see every day can be described by a series of symbols and relationships, through math. Amazing.


Matt Waite, journalism professor at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, told Poynter that, despite the continuing layoffs depleting traditional newsrooms, reporters with skills in data journalism are being snatched up by news organizations.


A 13 minute presentation by John Havens, founder of The H(app)athon Project, a contributing writer for Mashable, The Guardian, and the Huffington Post, and author of Hacking Happiness.


Dominikus Baur attended the Data Science Day in Berlin, organized by The Unbelievable Machine Company. In his talk ‘Big Pictures in the Small’, Dominikus focused on a more high-level picture of why visualization will go mobile and what form that will take.


This is a beginner level introduction to the CartoDB style wizards for point data. In the tutorial you will see how to create Simple, Categorical, Bubble, Intensity, and Density Grid style visualizations all using point data in CartoDB.


After the Four Pillars of Visualization, the second video of Noah Iliinsky‘s series about the basics of good information design. The goal of this talk is to provide ideas, and to show that there are alternate structures available that will highlight different aspects of data.


And one to make us smile: Neuroscience students at the University of California, San Diego made a music video parody of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” Thanks to Nathan Yau for sharing.


A new data visualization released on the first day of the plenary negotiations at the UNFCCC’s COP-19 in Warsaw pushes policymakers to respond to a new narrative on climate change. Produced by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and Globaia, and funded by the UN Foundation, the 3-minute film uses stunning visuals to unravel exactly what the IPCC’s climate probability ranges mean for societies.


The ongoing project Labour in a Single Shot, initiated back in 2011 by Antje Ehmann and Harun Farocki, is one of those websites you just have to love. In a series of workshops all over the world, participants were invited to produce videos of 1 to 2 minutes, framed in a single shot, about the general topic ‘labour’. This one comes from Aily Nash, and it’s about data visualization.


A retrospective video of the 2013 Society For News Design annual conference, featuring appearances and cameos by Rob Schneider, David Kordalski, Larry Buchanan, Melissa Angle, Jennifer Daniel, Ryan Hildebrandt, Michael Renaud, Chris Courtney, Michael Whitley and Harris Siegel.


A team of IBM researchers have built a program that uses math, chemistry, and vast quantities of data to churn out new and unusual recipes. To build their algorithm, the researchers modeled the steps that we might go through to develop creative ideas. Aatish Bhatia tells the story.


Keynote speaker at the Big Data viz Management Seminar, where he talked about visualizing big data sets, Moritz also gave this short interview:


The book Around The World is filled with remarkable stories and helpful infographics collected from countries spanning the globe. Here’s the official video:


The “Look Up” campaign designed by Ogilvy Group UK for British Airways was also all over the Internet. The campaign includes digital billboards in London’s Piccadilly Circus and Chiswick that seem to show a boy get up and point to a real plane flying over. Programmed to know exactly when a BA plane flies by, the billboard then display the flight number, destination, and eventually, even the lowest fares currently available to that destination, as Jennifer Miller explains in this post.


Posted by Will Stahl-Timmins, this article explains the process behind a visualization project at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health. This series of three graphics was produced to accompany the paper Potential Changes in Disease Patterns and Pharmaceutical Use in Response to Climate Change, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B: Critical Reviews, 16:5, 285-320.


Nicola Hughes is the media partner manager at She also launched a blog called Data Miner UK. In this interview, she talks about the crucial role of data scraping and gives some advice on data journalism.


With each step in the evolution of Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE), Oracle has added powerful new data visualization capabilities that turn raw data into insightful information. With that power comes great responsibility. This session explores the far corners of OBIEE’s presentation options and demonstrate best practices for the creation of BI content.


A six-person Cambridge startup called Exaptive is working on creating a collection of visualization “building blocks” that can be assembled in different ways to get new views into datasets. The startup has already been collaborating on data visualizations with early users at Harvard’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, the Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis, and geoscientists at Penn State.

Video demo is below, as is a screenshot of Exaptive’s software used to explore a scientific research dataset related to multiple sclerosis.


DataViva is a project developed in part by media lab Professor César Hidalgo, with the Brazilian state government of Minas Gerais. It aims to make a wide swath of government economic data usable with a series of visualizations apps.


Created with the open source programming language Processing, German artist duo Moritz Schell and Frederic Seybicke explore in their own cold logic version of Rock-Paper-Scissors, a Sisyphean exercise in which two MacBooks battle each other in an inescapable game of chance, forever.


A video animation with a chronological view of the 36.000 french administrative boundaries (at commune level) during the 5 years of their integration in OpenStreetMap.


The term “data journalism” is nearly as prevalent as the term “big data.” With more and more access to data, improvements in technology, and the transformation of traditional print journalism, today’s readers are expecting a different type of reading environment than ever before, which often includes data visualization.


Crop circles aren’t really a visual representation of information, but their have a profound impact in our collective imaginary. And if they’re underwater and made by a five inches long puffer fish, well, that is just something that awakes our inner-science geek, no matter if you’re into to visualization or not. Enjoy the video, and read the article by Lisa Raffensperger.


Hope you enjoyed this huge post and let us know what other 2013 video/keynote should be added to this list! We’ll be back next week for the final Data Viz News of 2013, this time to bring you the best presentations of the year!!

Written by Tiago Veloso

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