chris.hamby + visualization   56

earth wind map
current winds around the world
wind  map  earth  visualization 
december 2013 by Chris.Hamby
Wikipedia Gender
A recent NYTimes article pointed that contribution at Wikipedia has a strong gender bias, with more than 6.7 male editors than female editors per article (based on a survey). Many other articles came out, and Wikimedia is reacting to this rather negative statistics.

Using the gender api that I discovered in this project, I wanted to see the relations between the proportion female/male editing and article and its content. I wanted to check, for instance, if stereotypes are validated.
data  visualization  wikipedia  gender  ratios 
september 2012 by Chris.Hamby
BBC Dimensions: How Many Really?
Compare historical dimensions to your own social networks - related to http://howbigreally.com/
history  visualization  data  bbc  from delicious
september 2011 by Chris.Hamby
Data Wrangler
Wrangler is an interactive tool for data cleaning and transformation.<br />
Spend less time formatting and more time analyzing your data.
data  visualization  opensource  software  from delicious
may 2011 by Chris.Hamby
An Atlas of Cyberspaces- Historical Maps
range of the historical maps of ARPANET, the Internet, Usenet, and other computer networks, tracing how these pioneering networks grew and developed.
internet  history  maps  network  visualization  #infrapaper  from delicious
march 2011 by Chris.Hamby
stamen design | big ideas worth pursuing
Since 2001, Stamen has developed a reputation for beautiful and technologically sophisticated projects in a diverse range of commercial and cultural settings. We work and play with a surprising and growing range of collaborators: news media, financial institutions, artists and architects, car manufacturers, design agencies, museums, technology firms, political action committes, and universities.
art  blog  company  cool  creativity  design  data  flash  information  inspiration  interaction  infographics  interactive  mapping  maps  programming  portfolio  stamen  technology  visualisation  visualization  webdesign  web2.0  web  agency  interface 
august 2010 by Chris.Hamby
Subway Sparklines
Graphs shows the yearly ridership at each station, with the shaded grey area spanning 1952 (same overall ridership level as today) to 1977 (nadir system-wide). Station names appear as map is zoomed in (eg: midtown, wall street, south bronx, williamsburg, park slope).
design  nyc  history  maps  transportation  newyork  city  mapping  visualization  graphic  gis  transit  statistics  data  infographics  subway  sparklines  great  geo  cartography  ny  information_design 
march 2010 by Chris.Hamby
Speed, Death and Interactive Graphics
[The New York Times / Inside the Action: Luge, still]

While I don't plan on offering much in the way of Olympics coverage (how about that tasteful opening ceremony?), I do feel compelled to make a few comments about the media coverage of the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili. As a luger, Kumaritashvili was no stranger to velocity or navigating curvilinear surfaces. However, at only 21 years of age he was relatively inexperienced compared to many of his peers and this fact coupled with the treacherous nature of the track he was riding on led to a hard turn and an ensuing freak accident. John Branch and Jonathan Abrams of The New York Times described Kumaritashvili as travelling "about as fast as any luger had ever gone" down the Whistler Sliding Centre track that is being used for the 2010 games.

I just happened to be at the gym when the Kumaritashvili death occurred so I was subjected to the (muted but with closed captioning) coverage of an array of televisions tuned into various cable news networks. At that moment this was "breaking" news so there was more speculation than available facts and reporters and anchors rattled off statistics, talked about how Kumaritashvili was being airlifted for treatment and repeatedly discussed a few available photographs. This is the standard cable news loop that we all know but it was fascinating to watch it play out on several networks at once. The only upbeat moment of this coverage was a trainwreck of a segue when a reporter attempted to transition from the Kumaritashvili coverage to an (obviously pre-scheduled) interview with Walter Gretzky – "Sports certainly CAN be dangerous and here is a man who knows all about the anxiety of watching his son compete..." The show must go on right?

This morning The New York Times published an interactive graphic that thoroughly documents Kumaritashvili's ill-fated final ride. In the span of eight frames the viewer is provided a labeled map of the track, a 3D model of the terrain that rotates to zoom in on "turn 16", and then a sequence of images that track the trajectory of his body as it is thrown from the sled. Despite the fact that the final moments of Kumaritashvili's life are rendered as if they were an annotated ragdoll physics demo, the event is communicated with the dispassionate clarity we'd expect from The Times. The final frame is an unadorned photograph taken at approximately the moment Kumaritashvili is fatally injured.

Earlier this week videogame researcher Ian Bogost wrote a blog post outlining a book chapter from his new text Newsgames: Journalism at Play (co-authored with Simon Ferrari and Bobby Schweizer). The post employs the "information is beautiful" catchphrase of designer/journalist David McCandless to consider the utility of information visualization. Bogost on "beautiful but useless" information design:
The problem is this: infographics like this [McCandless' Reduce Your Odds of Dying in a Plane Crash] may be beautiful, but it is not necessarily informative. Specifically, pretty charts often fail to synthesize the meaning, relevance, and impact of information as it pertains to decision making.

While Bogost is framing information design in relation to gaming and journalism his critique could perhaps be extended to problematize many other types of visualization projects. In the context of "reporting" news, we're obviously interested in documenting events and capturing moments – and this graphic definitely offers an expansive understanding of a singular tragedy. I think what is interesting about this example in relation to the comments by Bogost is not so much that "Luge Crash at the Olympics" (the title of the piece) can be dismissed as uninformative but that the sequence of images is actually hyper-informative – the precision with which this graphic schematizes the death of a man is unsettling. As an active consumer of media, I've seen countless gruesome photographs, watched footage documenting similar events and read verbal descriptions of all manner of calamities. All of that said, this interactive graphic still managed to catch me off-guard and I almost expected a pop-up media player to appear on the final frame and offer me the option to stream a recording of Kumaritashvili's death rattle.

I'm not trying to moralize the editorial decision to show an image of a man as he died – that is nothing new and the discussion of Kumaritashvili's death ends now.

I do believe the fact that it is now journalistic protocol to diagram death through rich media might mutate into some strange practices in the near future. In their present incarnation, crime aggregators like Oakland Crimespotting offer limited information about specific events (e.g. "Robbery" geolocated down to an address or intersection), but what if they allowed us to watch available surveillance footage documenting various crimes? We'd have augmented a map-based community monitoring system with "assault and battery" theatre. Is this kind of voyeuristic functionality on the horizon? Perhaps it will only be available to "premium" users. Regardless, this would definitely put a new spin on panopticism – navigable, annotated metamedia tracking the city and served 24/7 on the web.

[Harun Farocki / Deep Play at LACMA / photo: c-monster]

I'm getting dangerously close to discussing "the future of journalism" here, so to reconcile the consideration of this interactive graphic with the "thinking about visual culture" focus of this blog, I'd like to point to the work of Harun Farocki. Farocki's Deep Play (2007) takes the July 2006 World Cup Final between France and Italy and expands this football match into a motion-graphics/surveillance multiscreen installation extravaganza. The piece isn't any more absurd than the broadcast design of NFL Football or the military informatics connected to UAV drones, but when deployed in a gallery these representational techniques operate differently – they seem formalist and inhuman. In 2008 I interviewed the media scholar Alex Munt and he had the following to say about Deep Play (in relation to feature film):
... [it] resonates with that idea in new digital cinema that there is a spatial reconfiguration underway – an idea from film theorists Adam Ganz and Lina Khatib. This transition represents a shift from a traditional 2D mode of 'coverage' of cinematic space to the mapping of 3D cinematic 'zones' ... It is interesting to speculate whether the 'zone' approach and the mapping of 3D cinematic space will simply be a trend for the cinema or perhaps become the dominant mode of production/aesthetic - and relegate the traditional 2D filmic zones of classical cinema as a twentieth century concern.

Given the dissonance between the "revolutionary exploration of 3D cinematography" and the conventional, linear narrative of the film Avatar, perhaps we should be looking to the graphics department at The New York Times for hints as to what constitutes the most appropriate manner to tell stories in the 21st century.

I'd like to extend a Hat tip to Mathew Ingram for tipping me off about the "Luge Crash at the Olympics" interactive graphic via twitter.

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Commentary  information  journalism  media  olympics  visualization  Nodar_Kumaritashvili  The_New_York_Times  from google
february 2010 by Chris.Hamby
Welcome to Cartography 2.0
Cartography 2.0 is a free online knowledge base and e-textbook for students and professionals interested in interactive and animated maps
maps  visualization  gis  mapping  design  tutorial  animation  book  resources 
december 2009 by Chris.Hamby
Mitchell Whitelaw Interview
[Mitchell Whitelaw / 05.02_540_radial - Watching the Sky / 2008]

Mitchell Whitelaw is an artist and writer with interests in digital ontology and generative systems. His work and theory are invested in a close reading of the networks and tools we engage on a daily basis and questioning modes of representation. Whitelaw is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Creative Communication at the University of Canberra and he also authors (the teeming void), a blog on generative and data aesthetics. In this interview (originally published on Rhizome in November 2008) Whitelaw discusses his recent work and contextualizes several of his writing projects.

Greg J. Smith: A central focus in your recent writing is the notion of transmateriality. Instead of reading information and mediated experience as virtual or "disembodied" this investigation focuses on the tangible, idiosyncratic nature of the digital. Can you identify and contextualize a few new media projects that explicitly explore or invoke the materiality of data?

Mitchell Whitelaw: There's been a huge wave of them. Self.detach, by Tim Horntrich and Jens Wunderling "decomposes" Flickr self-portraits into grains of colored sand, literally materializing the pixels; Caleb Larsen's Monument (If it Bleeds it Leads) takes a similar approach, analyzing news feeds for reports of war casualties and presenting each death as a tiny yellow BB, dropped into a hopper. So, tangible data is one aspect of this idea, but it also relates to the current explosion of hardware tinkering and custom devices, which create local, specific, and material instances of digital systems. A beautiful example of this is H C Gilje's wind-up birds, a group of mechanical woodpeckers - microcontroller-driven solenoids that tap on hand-made wooden slit drums - installed in a forest also inhabited by real woodpeckers. Materializing digital systems also embeds them more deeply in their surrounding environment, of course. A final example fascinates me because it's a kind of non-digital transmateriality: Thomas Traxler's The Idea of a Tree is a solar-powered mechanical system that turns a spindle to fabricate objects from epoxy and string. Variations in solar energy change the speed of the spindle, which changes the amount of dye on the string, so that the resulting object manifests that variation.

[Thomas Traxler / The Idea of a Tree / 2008]

The Idea of a Tree is quite compelling. How would you read the output from that device? Is it explicitly about the indeterminacy of the output? I'm curious to hear your thoughts on the relationship that apparatus has with the "natural processes" it measures and emulates.

As I understand it, the artifacts can be read as records of solar energy over the span of a day. The length of the object depends on the total amount of sunlight (more sunlight, more length); the bands of color reveal variations in energy throughout the day. The slower the string moves through the dye, the more the dye penetrates, giving a darker color - this mechanism is ingenious. So, I don't think it's about indeterminacy. I also don't think it's particularly about natural processes, despite the analogy of the title. I would distinguish "material" from "natural"; this is a material system that manifests structures in its specific, local environment. There's nothing inherently "natural" about the data it gathers: those variations in solar energy could relate to shadows from nearby buildings, or atmospheric pollution, as much as clouds and seasons. In a way, I think the tree analogy works best in reverse, here; tree as (local, material) machine seems more interesting than machine as tree-like.

Would you frame your photo-based Watching the Sky project in the same way? That is, sky as (local material) machine?

Yes, exactly. Watching the Sky is a very simple work. Long series of time-lapse images, shot every three minutes, are compressed or "revisualised" to reveal patterns within and between days and weeks (perhaps eventually years). It's essentially a digital slit-scan process, where narrow slices of each image are extracted and recompiled. As Golan Levin has shown this is a well-worn technique; this work tries to recast it as a form of data visualization - as well as slowing it down. Digital images are an interesting data source because they are so obviously indiscriminate; they show whatever is in the field of view, regardless of what is ostensibly being "measured" (the Google Street View controversy illustrates this nicely). So, like the solar energy in Thomas Traxler's work, the image can cut across domains and scales like a kind of core sample; and yes, in this work the image is a trace of a changing material field. Initially the work was focused on the sky as a visual data source; but the initial sketches used images scraped from a webcam that included trees, power lines and other foreground clutter. To my surprise, some of the most interesting structures emerged from this extraneous stuff; from trees shifting in the breeze, shadows moving, and so on. I later realized these were all traces of the material field's interactions with itself; when the images show the foliage shifting as the wind changes, the landscape is acting as both object and instrument, it's a kind of self-revelation. The images also show human or social patterns; like cars being parked on the grass, outside my office window. I like the idea of all these scales, from the distant clouds to the local shadows, and domains from the weather to the parking, being compressed into a single field, but still readable.

[Mitchell Whitelaw / Stacked Histogram - The Visible Archive / 2008]

You are currently working on The Visible Archive, a project to visualize the holdings of the National Archives of Australia. Could you briefly describe the scope of this project and how this "data practice" extends out of or informs your broader research?

The project is funded by the National Archives, simply exploring interactive visualizations of their collection. In many ways it's a fairly straight-ahead data visualization project, based on the premise that visualization is a useful way to reveal structure in large datasets, and can give a sense of context or orientation to users navigating that data. I'm working with two main datasets; one describes the entire collection in around 35,000 groups, or series; the other is a single series with some 20,000 individual items. The exciting part here is what that data is: primary materials from the history of modern Australia. The very first visualization I made of the series data was a simple histogram, counting how many series commenced in a given year. The histogram had three big spikes: at 1901, 1914 and 1939. So three big historical moments - Federation and the two Wars - popped out of the visualization as a simple statistical property of the data. I'm most interested in revealing these kind of emergent structures within the datasets.

My interests in "data practice" started out as critical and theoretical; I've been observing the rise of a kind of data aesthetics in sound, music and the media arts over the past decade, and it's a fascinating moment, as culture and practice come to grips with a material that is so central to contemporary society. "Art Against Information", a paper on data art published earlier this year, develops a critical response. My own experiments in sonification and visualization are partly ways for me to test out theoretical hunches, but largely (and increasingly) rewarding in themselves. You can view data as a kind of generative strategy for the arts in one sense - it's just another way of making stuff - but also, and this interests me a lot, it's broader than art; it's about epistemology, ways of understanding the world, whatever that is. It can be art if it wants to, but frankly I'm more interested in what else it can do.

There has definitely been an ascent of "datasthetics" over the last decade. The fact that we can discuss this enterprise in terms of sonification AND visualization directly addresses how difficult it can be to classify projects of this nature. You've written about integrated audio-visual work in the past - to summarize this line of thought, what would you describe as some key characteristics of this type of media art and performance?

I've been focusing on work where the audiovisual relation is automatic or algorithmic, where there's some kind of "direct translation" between sound and image. I was drawn to this work by its sheer sensory impact; a feeling of some kind of revelation (again). Two Australian artists got me started: oscilloscope works by Robin Fox, and Andrew Gadow's analog video-to-audio synthesis. It appeared out of the experimental electronic scene where glitch had flourished, and this audiovisual fusion seemed to extend or develop glitch in some way. I argued in "Inframedia Audio" (2001 - PDF link) that glitch was about materializing or manifesting the infrastructure of media arts practice, about connecting it up to the body. But almost, by definition, glitch can only do this in little eruptions, tiny cracks or momentary errors. For me fused audiovisuals are a way to "feel out", in a more sustained way, the abstract relations that underpin all electronic media: the domain of the signal or data, and the rendition of that signal into sensory experience (vision or sound). Synaesthesia is often used as an analogy for this work, because like a synaesthete's brain, the media systems seem to automatically translate between one modality and another. I argue that this analogy is limited because audiovisual works are artifacts - objects of perception - not perceptions. Another option is to treat these as extreme forms of something quite normal: cross-modal perception, which is where we integrate sensations in different modalities (vision and hearing for example) to link them to a single cause. Lip-sync, where we join image and sound into a represented body, is a good example: the "common cause" that underpins the moving mouth and … [more]
Interview  archive  information  photography  visualization  Mitchell_Whitelaw  from google
july 2009 by Chris.Hamby

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