Visualized: A thousand and one ways to look at data

October 15, 2015 - Published by

Last week I attended Visualized,  a conference  held in New York about data visualization. Data can be presented is so many different ways and every subject can be analysed and interpreted from many angles. The range of visualizations presented at the conference was huge and included charts, infographics, interactive websites (e.g. Miles Davis careerMeet Thomas Drake), exhibitions (On Broadway at the NYPL), performances (“A sort of joy” based on MoMA’s collection database), installations (e.g. Lifeline), videos (Rosetta’s missionTetris of debt and expenditure) or art pieces (Sculptures by Adrien Segal).

Visualized conference

Key trends mentioned during the conference are:

  • Open data: there is an increasing number of initiatives that allow everyone to access both public (e.g  US’s government dataNYC data) and private data (e.g. Google search data).
  • Data journalism and how to use visualizations to tell data news (see below projects presented by Al Jazeera, NYTimes, WNYC).
  • Data science democratized: With the new tools that are coming up people with less technical skills will be able to produce interactives and cool visualizations. These tools are making data visualization accessible to anyone. There are also more open source tools available and some examples mentioned during the conference are: OpenSteetMapLichen PlatformCartoDBProcessingR.
  • Real time data: Visualizations with live data have a huge impact as they give greater access to what is happening in real time. Google Tends now offers real time data of what people are searching. Some other sites mentioned by the speakers are the Wind map that can be used to follow hurricanes or check surfing conditions and the Live Subway agony index that connects to live data of the MTA. Companies also need information to act as soon as possible on data findings (see the LA Dodgers digital trading room)
  • Bid data: Many of the projects presented were based on big data, sets of information coming from millions of data points. However, people talked about the limitations of big data and the need for a human element to tell the stories.

Here are some links to projects presented during the conference:

John Keefe @jkeefe – WNYC

Ben Wellington @IQuantNY – I Quant NY
Aurelia Moser @auremoser – CartoDB
Gavin Schmidt @climateofgavin – NASA
Peter Cronokrak – Ora
Dani Llugany & Pau Garcia @datastreamers – Data Streamers
Rebecca Williams @internetrebecca – White House
Mark Schifferli & James Grady – Fathom

Miles Davis interactive

Karen Yourish @karenyourish, Sergio Pecana @salvesergio, Jeremy White @blushirt – NYTimes
Mathew Falla @ignal_noise – Signal Noise
George Michael Brower
Santiago Ortiz – @moebio – Moebio Labs
Benjamin Wiederkehr @datavis – Interactive things
Simon Rogers @smfrogers – Google News Labs
Luca Masud, Mahir Yavuz @RGA – R/GA data science agency
Genevieve Hoffman @geeveev / Ian Ardouin Fumat @iaaaan – The office for creative research (OCR)


Adrien Segal – data artist
Manuel Lima @mslima – Visual Complexity

Visual complexity website

Moritz Stefaner
Anna Flagg @annaflagg – Al Jazeera Plus
Izzie Zahorian / CJ Adams  – Google Ideas (NY)
Jonathan Schwabish – Urban Instiute @jschwabish
Joseph A. Paradiso – MIT Media Lab
David Mccandless @mccandelish – Information is beautiful

Mark McCaughrean @markmccaughrean EESA
Deroy Peraza & Marianna Fierro – Hyperakt
Giogia Mccandless & Stefanie Posavec

And another highlight of the conference, data visualizations cakes, yummy!

cakes and data visualization

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