Looking Outwards 3 – Information Visualization

Interesting Dataset
Across the Wall by Visualizing Palestine

One of the things that I love most about infographics created by the Visualizing Palestine team is that the data used is not always readily available. Data regarding Palestine is actually fairly difficult to find, and clean data even harder. At a workshop in Beirut, I enjoyed their ingenuity at finding and extracting public data. For this visualization, the data had to be scraped from Israel’s Public Transportation website (http://is.gd/SG1v3g). The website is a dynamic route finder so the routes in and out of Palestine had to be put manually, then the routes had to be compiled and cleaned for display.  I think along with visualization, acquiring and providing clean data play very big roles in making data accessible.  

Provocative Visualization
Tell-all telephone by Malte Spitz

This dataset and its accompanying visualisation was shared on Hacker News during the Edward Snowden information privacy leaks. Malte Spitz’s phone metadata is correlated with his blog posts, twitter and social media data. We can see that we can track him and his activities throughout his life. If we had metadata of his friends circles, we can also paint a more complete picture. Amidst the claims that metadata data collection is not surveillance, this visualisation shows the opposite.

Well-crafted Visualization
Fragmented Memory by Phillip Stearns

Fragmented memory creates tapestries with woven encodings that are translations of a computer’s physical memory during a core dump.  A core dump is the state of the computer’s memory when a program crashes. What caught my attention is the juxtaposition of raw binary data, something digital at its core, with textiles and knitting, a process that is very traditional and human.