When Geek Goes Artsy-Fartsy

I was idly surfing de-stressing between conf calls at work when I stumbled upon this ghost from my past. Visual Complexity was one of the lovelier finds I had back in the days of my brief fling with graduate studies.

I was drawn to Data Visualization as it was the marriage of 2 things I loved — graphic art + shameless geek-dom. Let’s suppose that one day, a graph decided to chug down a cocktail of steroids, E, and uber-sweet marshmallows — what you’ll get is a DataViz poster. When you look at all the pretty colors and shapes, it’s quite easy to overlook that the basic building blocks of these visualizations are data — data that someone has laboriously collected, analyzed and made sense of, often taking a huge chunk of one’s time and social (non-)life.

Below are some of the concepts that I find brilliant. If data viz has tickled your fancy as well, hop over to Visual Complexity for more, or click onto another great data viz resource.

Listening History by Lee Byron

Listening History by Lee Byron

Imagine what you could find out about yourself, if you were to “see” your player’s listening history. The project plotted the Last.fm picks of a given user over 18 months, and made the chronological visualization interesting by varying the colors and fonts by artist and by frequency of listening. If you go around the circle, you can easily confirm that you DID go into a Bieber phase (February) and also, Mariah Carey (December).

The Remotest Place on Earth by Joint Research Centre & World Bank

The Remotest Place on Earth
The Remotest Place on Earth

The artists uncovered a number of interesting things from this project: (1) Quebec’s accessibility is just around the same level as the Amazon, and (2) the Tibetan Plateau wins the title for The Remotest Place on Earth. If you really really really want to get away from that pesky telemarketer, you might consider moving to Lhasa; it takes 21 days to reach you (1 day by car and 20 days on foot).

Taxonomy of Rap Names by Pop Chart Lab

Taxonomy of Rap Names by Pop Chart Lab
Taxonomy of Rap Names by Pop Chart Lab

Who knew that one day we’d be this close to figuring out the rationality behind jeje-spelling? Peace pohz, represent!

Sunsets by Time by Jim Bumgardner

Sunsets by Time by Jim Bumgardner
Sunsets by Time by Jim Bumgardner

Gorgeous idea — the guy pulled shots from Flickr tagged with ‘sunset’ (15k all in all!) and set them across the graph to visualize the frequency by date and time of day. All that work so that you know when’s the best day to pull out that camera for that to-die-for silhouette.

Visualizing Databases by Elijah Meeks

Visualizing Databases by Elijah Meeks
Visualizing Databases by Elijah Meeks

For fellow IT slaves colleagues — admit it, did you think your databases could have been this pretty?

Other interesting projects:
Travel-time Maps by Chris Lightfoot & Tom Steinberg
Geotagger’s World Atlas by Eric Fischer
Windows vs. Linux Server by Sana Security
The Essence of Rabbit by 2Spot

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