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40 videos about data visualization

Our selection of keynotes, TED Talks and interviews by some of the top names in the field

October 29, 2012
(The Joy of Stats, by Hans Rolling, one of the must-see videos)

After the success of our collection of data visualization presentations a few weeks ago, we decided to push even further our research of multimedia resources and take the risk of selecting some videos. And we say risk, because the abundance of data visualization videos on the Internet is simply mind-blowing.

Just think about it: How many events are there about information visualization? Dozens, maybe hundreds every year. Then, add the documentaries, interviews and educational videos, and soon you’ll realize, like we did, that this list could easily be up to one hundred or more.

That means that a lot of good stuff was left behind, so apologies for that – but feel free to leave your recommendations in the comments section. Also, please note that some of these videos are over one hour long.

[Update: We are receiving some great suggestions of other videos worth watching, so we’ll keep growing this list. If you have an additional reommendation, drop us a message on Twitter.]

Journalism in the Age of Data

The famous video by Geoff McGhee. Watch the full version with annotations and links at

The Data Journalism Handbook

A project coordinated by the European Journalism Centre and the Open Knowledge Foundation, launched at the Mozilla Festival in London on 5 November 2011.

Shan Carter | Geoff McGhee | Edward Segel at Data Vis Meetup

Shan Carter of the NY Times, Geoff McGhee and Edward Segel of Stanford spoke one year ago at Trulia for the Data Visualization meetup group at an event around Telling Stories with Data. More about the event here.

Hans Rosling: Stats that reshape your worldview | The Joy of Stats

Two of the most important videos coming by the hand of Hans Rosling, the co-founder and chairman of the Gapminder Foundation. Data visualization rose to another level among the public after this first talk, back in 2006. Since then, he has been a frequent guest at TED (you can check more of his inspiring talks here.) And what else is there to say about the Joy of Stats, the one-hour lenght documentary in which Rosling explores the history of statistics and how they can help society today?

David McCandless: The beauty of data visualization

Another classic. David McCandless‘ TED talk is arguably one of the most seen videos about data visualization – and one of the most controversial as well.

Tim Berners-Lee: The year open data went worldwide

The father of the Internet on open data. ‘Nuff said.

Jer Thorp: Make data more human

Back in 2011, at TEDxVancouver, Jer Thorp shared his moving projects, from graphing an entire year’s news cycle, to mapping the way people share articles across the internet.

Designing Data Visualizations with Noah Iliinsky

In this two-hour talk, Noah lays out a framework for how to determine what question you are actually trying to answer, what data you need (and what you don’t) in order to answer that question, and the steps to take through effective visualization to convey the bottom line.

Scientific Visualization: Seeing the Unseeable

In this 2008 lecture, Wes Bethel presents an overview of visualization and computer graphics, research challenges, and future directions for the field.

Interview of Ben Shneiderman

This year’s Vizweek Visualization Career Achievement Award winner, Ben Shneiderman, has been one of the most important voices in the field for decades. In theses 2009 videos, he was interviewd by Alan Macfarlane.

Information Visualization for Knowledge Discovery

A one hour talk again by Ben Shneiderman, exploring the ongoing progress for visual exploration of large time series data applied to financial, medical, and genomic data.

The Value of Visualization

A quick motion graphic created by Column Five describing the value of visualization.

Why Infographics are evil!

BBC’s Click tech reporter Kate Russel talked in September at The Pod Delusion’s Third Birthday Do in London about the invasion of Infographics.

How to Create Viral Infographics Creative Director Jess Bachman dissects what makes an infographic become ‘viral’.

Visual Thinking Is…

An introduction to show what visual thinking is, with examples of types of visual thinking, benefits of visual thinking and promoting the VizThink community.

How to tell a story with data

The process of data visualization summarized by Nathan Yau, from FlowingData.

Designing for visual efficiency

A quick, but useful talk by Ryan Coleman given at Ignite Toronto 2 years ago. ‘Designing for Visual Efficiency‘ looks at the process of how we see and how that knowledge allows you to create designs that are visually efficient.

Ben Fry: Keynote on Visualizing Data

In this keynote talk – part of VIZBI 2010, the EMBO workshop on visualizing biological data – Ben Fry discusses principles of graphics design and of dynamic visualization that can improve the insight gained from data.

Manuel Lima – Visual Complexity and Mapping Complex Networks

One of the several talks by Manuel Lima available on the Internet, in which he tries to leverage the existing pool of knowledge from his website Visual Complexity to convey a portrait of network visualization.

RSA Animate – The Power of Networks

Taken from a lecture given by Manuel Lima as part of the RSA’s free public events programme. The full talk is available here.

Kevin Quealy, New York Times Graphics Department

Another full talk by a New York Times graphics department staff member, Kevin Quealy.

The New York Times illustrators

This one is not a talk, presentation or keynote. But it’s such an amazing trip through the history of the illustrations of The New York Times that we couldn’t leave out.

Santiago Ortiz

An interview with Santiago Ortiz, who we had the pleasure to have also here on Visual Loop.

Tamara Munzner: Keynote on Visualization Principles

Professor Tamara Munzner presents some useful guidelines for creating effective visualizations, and talks about the advantages of 2D representation and drawbacks of 3D, immersive, or animated visualizations. This talk was a part of VIZBI 2011.

(Thanks to Noah Iliinsky for sending this one to us!)

Additional resources

This compilation would not be completed if we didn’t mention the Eyeo Festival 2011 and 2012 Vimeo channels. Some of the most inspiring data visualization experts made their appearance in one of the most prestigious conferences of the field.

The Big Data Week YouTube Channel has some valuable talks about the field, like this one, from Francesco D’Orazio, CIO of Facegroup:

Another amazing place on YouTube is the O’Reilly Media Channel. There you can find some gems like the 5 minute ‘Data Viz: You’re Doin’ it Wrong‘, presented by Noah Iliinsky at Strata Ignite 2011 or the ‘Designing Data Visualizations‘, also from Noah with Julie Steele. This year, Kathryn Hurley & Simon Rogers, Ben Goldacre, Jake Porway and Kim Rees were some of the names talking about data journalism and visualization at the Strata Conference London 2012.

As an additional resource if you speak French, here’s a set of 35 vídeos, averaging 4 minutes each, with simple explanations about infographic techniques. The collections is part of the Idiko project, which aims to spread the fundamental  information design concepts  among design students. You can learn more about it  here.

Also, for those interested in developing interactive infographics, here’s a list of 15 TED Talks Every Web Designer Should Watch, compiled by Designmodo. You’ll see that many of the insights presented in this talks can be easily applied to data visualization.

Other interesting places to find more videos about data visualization: the Vimeo Channel created by Benjamin Wiederkehr of (where we found many of the videos presented here); Christopher Cover’s YouTube playlist with 100 videos, including several tutorials; and Tableau’s  YouTube Channel, especially the ‘Which Chart or Graph Is Right for You?‘ playlist.

Like we said, this is a list far from being absolute, and we probably missed some amazing videos. So, we’d love to get your help, sharing your own favorite videos about data visualization and infographic in the comments section.

Written by Tiago Veloso

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