Data Visualisation

idalab seminar #20: Inventing the future, one visualisation at a time

Data visualisation is a young and buzzing field, or so it seems. Many related projects are focused on mastering new technologies, on navigating the unprecedented wealth of data and on supporting the human-machine-interaction of the future. Interestingly, in most professional debates and talks today, we can detect a near total lack of historical perspective or awareness. While everyone is looking forward, there doesn’t seem to be much use in looking back.

Review: “Vis Week” in Berlin

In late October, a broad international research community dedicated to visualising information and data gathered in Berlin. In a great concurrence of events (termed “Vis Week” by some people), the grand annual IEEE vis conference was accompanied by the smaller interdisciplinary conference Information+ in Potsdam.

Die Sehnsucht nach Transparenz ist eine Sehnsucht nach Begründung. Warum Algorithmen lernen sollten, eine Geschichte zu erzählen.

Basis aller heutigen Künstlichen Intelligenz sind bekanntlich Algorithmen. Diese sind in den letzten Jahren in zunehmendem Ausmaß in den Fokus der öffentlichen Wahrnehmung gerückt. Dabei schwankt der Grad an thematischer Souveränität und Güte der einzelnen Wortmeldungen aus Presse, Politik und Gesellschaft teils erheblich.

Data journalism for the people

Oh boy, we live in exciting times. Not many generations in history do get the chance to witness a technological revolution as profound as the current one. While it can be challenging to constantly adapt to new devices and services, there’s also the thrill to observe just how the new technologies change the ways we go about things.

Data Trails No. 10 – Snapshots from the history of data visualisation

In the world of data visualisation there are only few works which are as universally celebrated as this 19th century statistical map about Napoleon’s Russian campaign of 1812. During this desastrous military endeavour a French army of 420,000 men was almost completely annihilated, only some ten thousand soldiers survived the catastrophe.

Data Trails No. 9 – Snapshots from the history of data visualisation

Picture this: you need to plot data describing two large geographic entities, spanning the enormous period of 1,700 years, and you have no interactive tools at hand. No software, no templates, no filter, no button, no zoom, no switch. How in the world are you going to create a compelling visualisation for this data set, one that enables both overview and insight into the details?

Data Trails No. 8 – Snapshots from the history of data visualisation

Oh, the Mississippi. The „Father of Waters“ is a heroic beauty with an eventful history, famous for its tendency to meander. At times, it poses a major threat to the people living along its shore.

Data Trails No. 7 – Snapshots from the history of data visualisation

Timelines seem like such a „natural idea“ these days that we don’t even notice their ubiquity anymore: Facebook timeline, news feeds, graphic interfaces for back-up versions – how did anyone manage their life before there were things like this?

Data Trails No. 6 – Snapshots from the history of data visualisation

Do you know that thing when you draft a project and anticipate it will come out nicely, and once you actually start looking into it things get really complicated? This is what happened to me with this severe beauty of a tree diagram here. I stumbled upon it in the Beinecke digital collections and was immediately thrilled about this hidden gem from back in 1608. Then I never came around to really studying it — until just now.