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Data Viz News [9]

All the links you'll need for a true 'data viz' weekend

June 1, 2013

Yet another busy week comes to an end for all of us interested in data visualization, and if you were unable to keep up with all the interesting articles, news and resources published during the past 5-6 days, well, you just came to the right place. Today, we selected more than 40 links, ranging from tutorials to product launches, presentations, videos and in depth articles.

So, without further ado, here’s the list with all the recommended reads of the week:



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

Another confirmed translation of The Data Journalism Handbook, a free collaborative book that shows journalists how to use data to improve the news. This initiative follows similar efforts in Russian, Portuguese, Chinese and Spanish.

A group of researchers from Columbia and Stanford have created a method for turning complex cellular datasets into visualizations that map the similarities between tens of thousands of cells within a tissue sample.

With an expert jury that includes Jan Schwochow (Golden Section Graphics), Dr. Friedrich Schwandt (Statista) and Prof. Michael Stoll, this competition will award in prizes. The deadline for submissions is August, 31, 2013.

Partial screen capture of the website German Infographic Prize
(German Infographic Prize | Deutscher Infografik preis)

Prize winners in the $3million Heritage Health Prize competition will be announced by Heritage Provider Network at the Health Datapalooza Forum in Washington DC., on Monday, June 3. The prize challenged entrants to create an algorithm that predicts how many days a patient will spend in the hospital.

With almost 3.7 million chart visits in May, popular chart creation website Datawrapper crossed the mark of 10 Million in 2013. According to the post, the team is working on a series of updates and fixes, including new and extended modules, a better user interface and more chart types.

Big data enterprise search marketing company BloomReach has ‘acqui-hired’ the founders of ShopLogic, an AngelPad-backed big data startup that helps ecommerce businesses optimize the discounts they offer to maximize profits.



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

Wired’s Jeanne Bourgault talks about several data journalism projects around the world, their impacts in society and what has to improve in order to make the widespread adoption of data journalism both for journalists and for their audiences easier – and faster.

Data-driven journalism is opening windows onto previously dark corners and giving people the information they need to understand and take action on the issues they care about.

The second (long) article by Alberto Cairo for Peachpit, this time with an overview of the work of some of his personal references in data visualization, and why “we should also be wary of potential modern myths and heroes” in this field.

A set of maps showing the geotagged tweets since 2009. We talked about this one here.

Geotagged Twitter Map - New York City
(image: Geotagged Twitter Map – New York City | Twitter)

Brilliant article by Tim Hafford about the ‘camouflage’ used to hide non-relevant – or worse, bad – information in ‘beautiful’ visual displays.

Five experts in different fields such as environment, visualization and philosophy, were invited by the BBC to comment on Michael Markieta‘s images depicting flight paths across the planet.

We featured The Washington Post‘s Sea of Steel visualization here on Visual Loop, and the team just published a post detailing the process behind its creation.

Partial screencapture of the interactive infographic Sea of Steel | The Washington Post
(image: Sea of Steel | The Washington Post)

How NPR made its ‘Arrested Development’ graphic | Poynter

Another visualization featured here recently, NPR’s Arrested Development graphic quickly made its way into Internet popularity. Adam Cole explains how the team decided to create this news app.

While many U.S. classrooms are preparing for state adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), in which evolution and common ancestry are central, Jean Flanagan explains why students will need to become competent in the “surprisingly tricky skill” of “tree thinking.”

A fascinating post by infographic designer Xaquín G.V., who’s part of The New York Times‘ team behind ‘Snow Fall‘. He talks not only about this particular work and what it means to journalism in general, but also a bit about his career and what’s like to work in the Times’ Graphic Desk.

A straight-to-the-point article by Vince Buffalo, a bioinformatics programmer working in the Dubcovsky Lab at the Department of Plant Sciences, UC Davis, on why Visualization is a skill worth investing time in, if you’re a programmer.

UK-based education tech firm Flurrish developed an app to gather data on which multiplications are actually the hardest. Over 60.000 answers from 232 children – pupils at Caddington Village School in Bedford -, were collected and The Guardian Data Blog shares the insights found in that data.

While Big Data career openings are rising fast in the modern corporate environment, “Data Visualization” as a job requirement it’s still in its infancy, as you’ll see in this article by Tam Harbert.

An article by Kirk Borne about the enormous challenges for the long-term curation of scientific data brought by the “big data avalanche”, and the role of “collaborative annotation”, in which Humans and machines work together to produce the best possible classification label(s).

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:

We’ve already mentioned this post by Kenneth Field earlier in the week, on our regular round-up of Interactive Maps. Filed divided his personal analysis and opinion about Google Maps in two posts, covering pretty much every aspect of the ‘New’ Google Maps.

Josh Brown, from Zazzle Media, explains why infographics for marketing and SEO have their days counted, as well as what will replace them as the ‘next big thing’ in content marketing.

In this article by Nick Diakopoulos, a question that should be on every developer’s mind: How can we design more natural tablet-native interactions and metaphors for data visualizations?



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

The role of Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, in Barack Obama’s reelection, and his affinity with the campaign’s data analytics team, led by 30-year-old Dan Wagner.

David Amerland on the role of data as a way to connect people and products in the Semantic Web age, a topic that gained some updated relevancy with Tumblr’s acquisition by Yahoo!

A growing list of definitions of Big Data found on the Internet, updated regularly.

Jeff Leek‘s take on the ongoing discussion among statisticians about big data and what statistics should do to get involved, based in his experience with Genomics.

Taking George Orwell’s 1984 as a starting point, the author shares his thoughts about personally controlled records and the ownership of your own information.



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

Giorgia Lupi had the opportunity to talk with Alberto Cairo during a series of presentations he delivered in Milan at the beginning of May. This interview is also available in Italian here.

Naomi B. Robbins talks about her work as the principal at NBR Graphs and some of the key points about statistics and data visualization she usually emphasizes during her public presentations



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

Andy Kirk‘s list of links to data visualization projects, news and articles that caught his attention back in April. – and there’s even a mention to our interview with Paolo Ciucarelli.

A practical and comprehensive guide to Design Principles applied to data visualization and journalism, written by Lena Groeger.

Ritchie S. King of Quartz answered this question on Quora, explaining the tools and the strategies used by the news portal to produce effective breaking news visualizations.

An introduction by Brady Upton to Microsoft Geoflow, the new BI product that will provide 3D data visualization using Bing Maps.

James Smith talks about his Git Data Viewer, which wraps around a git repository (not necessarily GitHub), and exposes some information about the contents in a more data-user-friendly way than the standard GitHub view.

Irene Ros offers a deep overview of the d3.chart, a framework for building reusable charts with d3.js.

With d3.chart, we’re trying to provide a way to structure d3 code to promote reusability, configurability, modularity, extensibility, and composability. d3.chart is not a charting library – there are no charts out of the box. It is a more formal structure for authoring charts.

There’s also a presentation Irene posted on Speaker Deck about this same topic:


In this tutorial, Giorgio Cavaggion teaches how to create a visualization of tweets related to a given topic on a map using Java (to collect the tweets) and Gephi (to visualize them).

A selection of useful Google Analytics customized dashboards, mainly for eCommerce websites but also with a couple of interesting suggestions for bloggers in general.

A useful timeline organized by Gil Press, that traces the evolution of the term “Data Science” and its use, attempts to define it, and related terms, since back in 1962, when John W. Tukey published “The Future of Data Analysis”.

Anna Gerber compiled a list of some off-the-shelf tools that can be used to produce data visualisations for Data Journalism.

Andrew Jhonson presents a list of advises on how to avoid some the common mistakes in designing infographics for marketing and SEO.

R and Python are two of the most popular open-source programming languages for data analysis, and in this post Abhijit Dasgupta helps you to get started on discovering many of the tools available for different data scientific tasks.



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

Infographic and Data Visualization Events
Our Calendar with Data Visualization Events

Under the slogan ‘Converge to Inspire”, Eyeo 2013 – one of the prime data visualization events of year – will take place in the U.S. city of Minneapolis. The panel of speakers is simply mind-blowing…

Some of speakers attending eyeo Festival
Some of speakers attending eyeo Festival

Big Data Fusion for Homeland Security and Intelligence will review the latest technologies in the market. It will take place in Telaviv, Israel.

A meeting place to host contemporary creation through an in depth program of conferences, workshops and performances by the most relevant artists of our time.

NetSci 2013, The International School and Conference on Network Science, will be held at the Royal Library in Copenhagen, Denmark.

This video introduces the Arts, Humanities, and Complex Networks at Netsci2013 symposium, which takes place on June 4, 2013 at DTU in Copenhagen. In it, Maximilian Schich and Roger Malina, co-organizers with Isabel Meirelles, talk about both the 2013 contributions and the growing relevance of the topic.


We’ve reached the end of another Data Viz News. But feel free to let us know if we missed some interesting resource, and don’t forget to join us on our Facebook Group or on, where we share many of the links mentioned above.

Have a great weekend!

Written by Tiago Veloso

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