October 4, 2010 3:47 PM   Subscribe, Making sense of complex issues through data and design. About. Visualizing is a place to showcase your work, get feedback, ensure that your work is seen by lots of people and gets used by teachers, journalists, and conference organizers to help educate the public about various world issues.
posted by nickyskye (6 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
In this era of instant communication, visualization is a key element in understanding the world, and news around us. This visual from last month helped crystallize for me part of the plight the miners in Chile are going through.

An eighth grader at The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, PA, caught the attention of his principle, Dr. Nooha Ahmed-Lee, by breaking one of her fundamental rules – no food in the building. But just as she was about to reprimand him, something else caught her attention – a piece of cardboard with a three-inch hole hanging from his wrist.

The illicit snack was quickly forgotten as the student told Ahmed-Lee how he was trying to simulate the experience of the 33 Chilean miners trapped 2,000 feet underground. This article inspired his social experiment.

The article struck a chord with the student and he showed it to adviser and history teacher Peter Schumacher, who said he should try to live like the miners for one day. The following day the eighth grader came into school with the cardboard construction and attempted to access everything he needed through the three-inch hole he had cut into it.

“It was hard,” he said. “But it was worth it. I learned the hardships the miners are going through every day just to get what they need to live. I couldn’t do it for the amount of time they’ve been trapped down there. But they’re forced to do it – it’s not even a choice for them.”

posted by netbros at 4:41 PM on October 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

I actually like [URL=""]many eyes[/URL] - you can create your own visualizations
posted by GrimJack at 10:54 PM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

I love good data visualization and was excited about the concept of this site.

After clicking through a few dozen here, they're... consistently pretty bad. I found some decent ones but many more terrible ones. Like this eye-bleeding monstrosity. Or this one that seems to be trying to set a record for highest ink to data ratio.

Sadly, the graph they have featured on the front page may be the worst, as it takes perfectly straightforward data and makes it nigh unreadable because someone thought circles were pretty. I get angry when the commentary says that "this graphic exemplifies how visualizations can help us begin to draw these types of connections, and to see the overlap amongst seemingly disparate phenomena. ... As the visualization makes clear, states with high levels of food insecurity also have high rates of obesity." Does this person seriously think that this graph is a good example? The patterns in the data are totally obscured by the ludicrous design choices; the only thing it makes clear is that they don't know what they're doing.

posted by kprincehouse at 1:14 AM on October 5, 2010 [3 favorites]

Wow. Nothing is lost if the entire graph is discarded and only the colored letters in the bottom right are kept. Amazing.
posted by kprincehouse at 1:26 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have to agree. A lot of these charts are misguided. There aren't any interactive graphics either. Maybe I'm biased because of my work, but I think interactive systems can give you a lot more information than static charts for many of these complex datasets.
posted by demiurge at 11:52 AM on October 5, 2010

There are some interactive ones; the site's design is just really weird. I had to search for a click on 4 links just to get to the actual display of the Flight and Explusion map, which is actually really interesting.
posted by Hargrimm at 4:09 PM on October 5, 2010

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