CNN.com's 'Home and Away' initiative honors the lives of U.S. and coalition troops who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. The extensive data visualization project tells the story of where and how the lives of these troops began and ended. The project is a sobering look at the human cost of two wars in the Middle East, and as such is restrained with a sober palette of blacks, whites and greys. [via] [more inside]
Yahoo is releasing a new service: Firehose, a real-time, searchable index of social content aggregated from around the web. Accessible via YQL, Yahoo’s SQL-like query language, the Firehose will gather data from status updates, user ratings and reviews, comment threads, Google Buzz, Flickr, Delicious, Twitter, YouTube, Last.fm and a range of other sites and apps. [via] [more inside]
Governments around the globe are opening up their data vaults allowing us to check out the numbers for ourselves. This is the Guardian’s gateway to that information. Search for government data here from the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand — and look out for new countries and places as they are added. Read more about this on the Datablog. [more inside]
One of the great things about Google Earth is how extensible it is using KML. You can use it to show off placemarks, build 3D structures, track wildfires or hurricanes, and much more. Google Earth can be used as a scientific visualization platform. OpenEarth is an open source initiative that archives, hosts and disseminates Data, Models and Tools for marine and coastal scientists and engineers. Their KML data visualizations using Google Earth display some of the possibilities. [via] [more inside]
Speaking of Edward Tufte (see below), sparklines are a type of information graphics characterized by their small size and data density named by Tufte. Sparklines were used by sites reporting the 2008 election and were first introduced on MeFi in 2005. There are now several ways to put sparklines on your own web site including: a simple jQuery plugin, a downloadable PHP library, a dynamic generator using a Python CGI program, and even a library for Ruby on Rails.