Musings, Ponderings and Data

Voyager’s Epic Journey

I know that Voyager leaving our Solar System is old news, but I only just happened to stumble upon this charming horizontal-scroller by BBC News. It took Voyager a mere 36 years to travel 18.7 billion km (that’s about 60,000 km/h! ), and if I were to drive that distance it would take me 22,000+ years. A nice simple way to put such massive scales into human context. 

Voyager’s Epic Journey
I know that Voyager leaving our Solar System is old news, but I only just happened to stumble upon this charming horizontal-scroller by BBC News. It took Voyager a mere 36 years to travel 18.7 billion km (that’s about 60,000 km/h! ), and if I were to drive that distance it would take me 22,000+ years. A nice simple way to put such massive scales into human context. 
21 Dec '13

Google Zeitgeist 2013

When Google announced the release of their 2013 Zeitgeist I was looking forward to having a good-old explore, yet their approach left me feeling a little disappointed.

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Google has so much data to work and play with, that I was hoping for an elegant visualisation, yet what the viewer is ultimately presented with is a series of lists and photo squares.

When you click on a particular photo, you’re greeted with a nice dialogue box. But apart from enlarging the photo, displaying the search term / topic and adding some iconography, there really is no other information to look at. Rather than presenting the trends within this dialogue box, those icons simply take you to a new page, and away from Zeitgeist. There you’re able to actually take a look at the data.

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The photo squares appear to be sized and ordered in an arbitrary fashion, so good luck hunting for the #1 search term there. In case you were wondering what the top searches were, there happens to be some handy categorised lists at the bottom of the page, but I think they really missed a trick in not incorporating this information into the photo grid.

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The globe promises something a bit more exciting at least. Here you’re able to scroll through the top-trends around the world for each day of 2013. This provides you with a fascinating snapshot of what was being searched for at any given time. Yet, the sizing of the text as the visual representation of the data leaves much to be desired. I’d much rather have had the data presented in a bar chart to better compare the terms.

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Now, don’t get me wrong, the data Google has captured over the year is fascinating in itself, and being able to see a snapshot of the year as well as scroll through what was trending on any given day is good fun. But I was expecting a bit more from Google in their presentation of the findings.

Explore Zeitgeist

Related:

18 Dec '13

Earth Wind Map

The Earth Wind Map, using the Global Forecast System’s data, is a stunning visualisation that maps the world’s winds in near real-time, with completely mesmerising results

(via The Verge)

17 Dec '13

A Shift of Focus

For the past 3 years or so, I’ve used this blog primarily as a dumping ground for those things that needed more than 140 characters. I occasionally post photos, information graphics, data visualisations and quotes but there hasn’t really been any rhyme or reason for the content I curated other than they struck a chord with me. Yet, I also have 2 other services that can facilitate this need: Twitter and Pinterest. Did I really need to re-post that content here too? Well, not really. 

So, in a bid to re-focus and become more of a proactive blogger in general, I’ve decided to shift what this blog is about. Instead of being yet another place where I post the things I like, I’ve decided to make this blog purely data and information design orientated. I’ve been thinking for a while now that I need a dedicated space to not only post graphics that I like but to also discuss these pieces, and instead of starting yet another blog for that, this is probably the perfect space to do so. 

Onwards and upwards!

17 Dec '13

The Altered States of America

A fantastic illustrated map of America populated with the legendary events and characters from popular science-fiction, horror and fantasy. The project smashed its Kickstarter target back in September, and now you can buy the prints over on The Chopping Block. Awesome! 


13 Dec '13

"Women between fifteen and forty-four are more likely to be injured or die from male violence than from traffic accidents, cancer, malaria, and the effects of war combined."

Absolutely terrifying. A difficult, important piece by Ariel Levy for The New YorkerHelp do something about it here.

(Source: , via explore-blog)

13 Dec '13

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

A lovely little Chrome Experiment that lets you explore key Middle Earth locations from The Hobbit. Chock-full of information about the characters and lore to catch you up to speed, just in time for the second instalment of the movie.


12 Dec '13

Facebook’s Crazy Charts

Facebook’s Year in Review site recently went live, and yes, the video summarising 2013’s most talked about topics is pretty charming. However, their charts leave much to be desired. 

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I’m not 100% sure what is going on with this. Firstly, are we supposed to take the radius or the angle of the segment into account? Or both? (!) Secondly, why on Earth are certain slices overlapping? Is this purely a visual choice on the designer’s part or does the proximity of each slice actually mean something. Who knows! 

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We have a similar issue with this one too. Because there is no key, are we supposed to take into account the radius of each segment or the area? And what’s with those tapered ends and 3D effect?

Considering how much data Facebook collects and how many designers they must have on staff, I’m a little surprised that these crazy-looking charts are the best they could come up with. 

No doubt this is another case where the desire to make the data “look cool” trumped the need for data clarity and readability. 

10 Dec '13

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tiffanyfarrantgonzalez [@] gmail.com

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