Monday, July 30, 2007

Vizualizing the World

I have trouble getting up in the morning, the best way I've found of dealing with this is to set my alarm half an hour early and watch a TED talk on my video iPod before getting up. Odd I know, I have to share this morning's example with you:

It's Hans Rosling talking about animated graphics, not strictly Google Earth or even virtual globes but what he's doing is producing a visualization that helps people understanding what is happening on our planet. And its absolutely wonderful.

You'll note that because of the mass of data he's plotting his icons are as simple as possible - colored circles. To track the path of an icon across the graph he doesn't use a line, he uses a trail of icons - instantly you know which icon he's talking about. Also, there is no chart junk, everything on the graph is there for a purpose. I could go on further about it, but I'd just end up sounding gushy.

You have to watch to the end for the finale, it had me laughing so much I probably woke up my neighbors.

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