Chart art

Edward Tufte’s first text, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, introduced standards for graphical representation. It is considered the definitive guide for visual display of complex data.

UPDATE 4 September 2014

Mind map about Tufte data visualization

Visualization of Edward Tufte visualizing data

Visualizing Edward Tufte’s thought processes

I found this while surfing Flickr. Austin Kleon of Austin, Texas is the artist. The image represents the cognitive process by which Edward Tufte transformed raw data into digestible information while writing Envisioning Information, one of his many follow-on publications to Visual Display. It is a mind map.

Tuftese

IEEE Spectrum’s Innovation blog featured the topic of data visualization, profiling Edward Tufte as a practitioner. The emphasis was unusual for IEEE. “Tufte-isms” explores how Tufte’s ideas have influenced language:

Tufte, it turns out, is not only a doyen of data visualization but also a neologist par excellence. His most famous term might be chartjunk, which refers to chart elements that not only serve no purpose but may in fact hinder understanding. In Tuftese, when chartjunk takes a cartoonish form…the result is a chartoon.

SAS* surprise

(more…)

Published in: on February 4, 2012 at 10:25 pm  Comments (2)  
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PDF history and something special from Adobe

Part One: PDF history 

PDF is a formal open standard, ISO 32000. It was invented by Adobe Systems 17 years ago.

PDF = Portable Document Format

PDF history by Adobe

History of the PDF by Adobe Systems

The image links to a pleasant interactive timeline of Adobe Systems and its role in the development of the PDF. The chronology is in Flash, and thankfully free of any video or audio. Read more about Adobe Systems role in the history of PDF file development.

PDF files are more versatile than I realized, and

  • are viewable and printable on Windows®, Mac OS, and mobile platforms e.g. Android™
  • can be digitally signed
  • preserve source file information — text, drawings, video, 3D, maps, full-color graphics, photos — regardless of the application used to create them

Additional PDF file types exist, including PDF/A, PDF/E and U3D. All are supported by Adobe software.  (more…)

Published in: on September 5, 2011 at 7:30 pm  Comments (3)  
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Basic data visualizaton

Simple data viz

Internet users by country in 2010

This is the first of five graphics in a series, State of the Internet 2010. All are hand-made graphics by Jose Duarte. He is exploring new and simple ways to represent information. With his handmade visualization tool-kit, he provides the technology to rapidly create any kind of graphics including

abstracts maps and diagrams, area graphs and charts, arrow diagrams, bar graphs, Venn diagrams, time line charts, bubble graphs, circle diagrams, proportional charts, organization charts, and really, whatever you want.

Do you want your own kit? Follow the link embedded above, and follow the instructions. It can be yours, free of charge, no-strings-attached. Just send an email to Jose Duarte as instructed in the text accompanying the “handmade visualization tool-kit” link.

Published in: on August 8, 2011 at 9:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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Twitter Influence System

Twitter flow chart

Twitter influence is subtle and difficult to capture

Twitter influence ranges beyond measuring followers, @ replies and re-tweets. It isn’t trivial to calculate the true reach of an individual’s Twitter updates. Such are the challenges encountered in quantifying influence (perhaps even value) of Twitter users’ activity.

Percentage of Tweets Read

Actual percentage of Twitter content read

This chart shows the percentage of tweets read in relation to the number of people followed. As could be expected, the more people you follow, the smaller the percentage of tweets you actually read.

Both images, Twitter Influence EcoSystem and Percentage of Tweets Read are original work by John V Lane, via Flickr, and reproduced here under Creative Commons License/by-sa/2.0.

Published in: on July 8, 2011 at 8:05 pm  Comments (4)  
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Good Code

 

 

xkcd: Good Code.

Published in: on January 7, 2011 at 6:19 am  Comments (2)  
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Systems Administration Lite

I am amused as I contemplate the mindset of whomever took one look at this on-site, turned around, and said “You don’t want to know what I just saw back there…” and promptly fled the server room or data center.

If you rush the System Admin you do so at your peril

Behind the Scenes

The image renders in a delightfully high level of detail, which I recommend to those who wish to experience it in its full glory! I have a very easily triggered sense of humor, I admit. Your patience is appreciated for the foreseeable future.

Thank you, Major Hayden! The Major is a nice young man who blogs as “Social Nerd” over on Posterous.

via And this is why you don’t rush a systems administrator. – The Social Nerd.

Published in: on October 17, 2010 at 2:37 am  Leave a Comment  
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Moore’s Law

Moore and his law | Chemical Heritage Foundation: We Tell the Story of Chemistry. Library. Museum. Center for Scholars. Policy Center. Fellowships.

This is a very impressive site. It is likely that CHF is extremely well-funded. Note the subtle use of canvassing and the speed with which the page loads. Observe the richness of the search options. And there are references galore to Gordon E. Moore’s famous law!

I did not realize that Moore was a chemist, and co-founder of both Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel. I would assess a high probability to the conjecture that Greg Moore of Moore Brothers Wine Company, who generously donated proceeds for the Franklin-Lavoisier Prize Ceremony event, is a close relative (offspring, perhaps?) of Gordon Moore.

There are many interesting items on this page, including some lush colorful visuals of the chart variety. I bookmarked but have not yet read the following:

  • Innovation: What was Old is New Again
  • Medal Winner’s Emotional Moments
  • Carlson vs. Moore
  • Patterning the World
Published in: on October 7, 2010 at 5:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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I Love Cartography

San Francisco Transit Map

Originally uploaded by dannyman

Published in: on July 27, 2010 at 9:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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Evolution of Modern Art

Here is a chart of the evolution of early 20th Century modern art, as represented by Mr. Alfred H. Barr, Director of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), from 1929-43. It is an example of data visualization, art deco-styled, during a time when art deco was not retro, but very current.  It is also unusual by virtue of its subject matter.  This is not merely an aesthetically appealling graphical image. It is artful data visualizaton, whose subject matter is also art! 

I would like to consider this more than an infographic, although I am admittedly on thin ice. However, this is a flow chart representing the evolution and associated taxonomy stucture used to categorize the inception of Modern Art as many of us think of it, as Cubism and Abstract schools developed after the post-Impressionism that ended around the time of World War I. It demonstrates how each independent style was a reaction to past style.  Excerpts from Alfred H. Barr’s catalogue for the exhibition “Cubism and Abstract Art  at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1936”, see www.madamelamb.com for source data and further details of exhibit. 

Cubism and Abstract Art

Published in: on April 25, 2010 at 10:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Transitory nature of information technology

Are we losing the means to preserve an enduring research trail? The premise is that due to the multiple forms of communication between academics and developers, the steps leading to past scientific discovery and technological innovation will be lost.

Why is this re-creation, even documentation, so important?  First, for History of Science and secondly, for innovators to be, coming through the pipeline. Not-yet-arrived scientists will want to study the development process. Sometimes what appears to be a flash of inspiration is preceded by months, or years, of reading, analysis or experiments. Documentation is important for understanding creative research design. Relatively easy access to successful examples from the past is a necessity.

The pace of innovation is wonderfully fast. That is unequivocally good!


Representations like Alan Warburton‘s video, Format: A Brief History of Data Storage always makes me feel a frisson of delight, shiver of awe. It has great music too, Short Like Me by Beni (Kitsuné Maison).

More than information overload

Data deluge swamps science historians is an eyebrow-raising news story about the collected research materials of the world’s leading evolutionary biologist, William Hamilton, following his demise. This is more than a problem of information overload. When the British Library received Hamilton’s working papers, they were faced with assembling the contents of

  • 200 crates of handwritten letters, draft typescripts and lab notes,
  • 26 cartons of vintage floppy disks, reels of 9-track magnetic tape, and 80-column punch cards, but no devices that could read these archaic storage media

It was enough to convince me that we need better digital preservation and archival standards.