We can all collect masses of data, but it only becomes genuinely useful when we use it to make a clear point.
This is where data visualization comes in. Showing data in context and using creativity to make that same data tell a story can truly bring the numbers to life.
There are a whole bunch of data visualization tools out there to help create your own, but here are some existing examples for inspiration.
A day in the life of Americans
This excellent visualization from Flowing data uses information from the American Time Use Survey to show what Americans are up to at any time of day.
What streaming services pay artists
This from the wonderful information is beautiful website, looks at how the major online streaming music services compare in terms of paying the musicians.
Two centuries of US immigration
This fantastic visualization from metrocosm shows the various waves of immigration into the United States from the 19th century to the present day.
US population trends over time
This gif from the Pew Research Center is a great example of how movement can be used to convey shifts and trends over time.
Why you should take the bus
The German town of Münster produced this series of images back in 1991 to encourage bus use. It’s beautifully simple showing the relative impact of the same number of people (72) on bicycles, in cars, or on a bus.
What happens in an internet minute?
This infographic from excelacom presents what happens online in 60 seconds, including:
- 150 million emails are sent.
- 1,389 Uber rides.
- 527,760 photos shared on Snapchat.
- 51,000 app downloads on Apple’s App Store.
- $203,596 in sales on Amazon.com.
US wind map
This moving visualization shows wind speed and direction in real time.
It looks great and is easy to understand, which is key to effect data visualization. This one comes from hint.fm.
Daily routines of creative people
I’ve always been pretty cynical about this ‘X things successful people do before breakfast’ stuff – as if by following this, people are suddenly going to become Steve Jobs or Albert Einstein.
However, this one from podio showing daily routines of creative people is very interesting. It won’t turn you into a great composer, but it’s a fascinating insight nonetheless.
The impact of vaccines
This is a series of visualizations from the Wall Street Journal, which shows the impact of vaccines on various infectious diseases.
It’s striking stuff, which clearly demonstrates the incredible positive impact of vaccination programs in the US.
London food hygeine
This is a great use of freely available data to provide useful information for the public.
The one million tweet map
This uses tweet data to present a geographical representation of where people tweet about topics. The example below is for ‘Brexit‘.
The fallen of WW2
This, from Neil Halloran is a cross between data visualization and documentary.
There are two versions of this. The video version you can see embedded below, and an interactive version.
People living on earth
A simple but very effective visualization of the world’s population, and the speed at which it increases.
The ultimate data dog
This, again from Information is Beautiful, uses data on the intelligence and other characteristics of dog breeds, plotting this against data on the popularity of various breeds from the American Kennel Club.
How much did band members contribute to each Beatles album?
This from Mike Moore, shows the relative writing percentage for each Beatles album, as well as the contribution over time.
A day on the London Underground
From Will Gallia, who used data from a single day’s use of the London underground to produce this timelapse visualization.
This is from way back in 2010, and illustrates the fact that antidepressants and other pharmaceuticals are now showing up in fish tissue.
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