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Cognitive Prosthetics

October 18, 2013 1 comment

1861, with the Union crumbling, President Lincoln studied an infographic

“Infographics are clearly having a cultural moment. They have become pervasive in newspapers, magazines, blog posts, and viral tweets; they appear on television and in advertising, in political campaigns and at art openings. As a Google search term, “infographic” has increased nearly twenty-fold in the last five years. Yet infographics have been popular, in one form or another, for centuries. The source of their power isn’t computers or the Internet, but the brain’s natural visual intelligence.”

Coast_Survey_Slave_Map

Categories: Inspiration Tags:

The Power of Showing Not Telling

The new book “An Illustrated Guide to Income in the United States” presents a comprehensive collection of infographics, maps and charts looking at the history of incomes and occupations in the United States.

Data can be a powerful persuader. Instead of pages and pages of text spoon feeding the reader with conclusions, this book presents a large dataset in a format that empowers the reader to study the data itself to draw their own independent conclusions.

IncomeGuide_2013_page 34

New distribution technology is empowering too… the entire book can be read online for free. It can also be purchased as a PDF for $15, paperback + PDF for $42.50, or hardback + pdf for $60.

A Very Distorted Cartogram Map

NPR Maps Election Spending

A cartogram map scales geography proportionately according to some value of interest. Usually cartograms maintain the shape and relative position of the basic map as much as possible.

Maintaining a recognizable map of the US was a problem for this cartogram because political spending is so heavily concentrated in just a few states. This shrunk all the other states to the point of becoming almost invisible and certainly made them unrecognizable.

NPR’s solution was to turn the cartogram into an animation. Starting with an undistorted US map, NPR then morphed the US to show the highly distorted spending picture shown here.

Stanford Plots The Growth of US Newspapers: 1690-2011

Stanford’s Rural West Initiative plots over 140,000 newspapers published over three centuries in the United States using data  from the Library of Congress’ “Chronicling America” project.

Dataset to Infographic: The Thought Process

InteractiveThings (Zurich) data visualization studio describes the process of developing an infographic about Natinal Geographic’s Spelling Bee.

Step 1 analyzed the data to get a feel for the content to build up the story they wanted to tell. They decided to focus on three aspects: geography, rank, and time. The final infographic created a visual landscape which allowed the user to focus on the different aspects.

Financial Times’ iPad Dashboard

http://app.ft.com looks and acts like an iPad app, but it is actually an HTML5 web page.

The advantage for the publisher is not having to endure Apple’s approval process, not having to pay Apple a 30% commission, and the ability to market content outside of Apple’s overcrowded App Store.

It is also much less costly to develop a Web page than to program a complicated app from scratch.

HTML5 Web pages also have the potential for reaching a wider audience. An app will be tied to a single type of tablet computer. An HTML5 Web page will be instantly viewable on any device that supports the new HTML5 standard.

Thanks to the capabilities of the new HTML5 standard, FT’s presentation can be made with few compromises. A large amount of critical and almost up to date (delayed 20-minutes) data is made available in a single convenient dashboard.

This page of Market Data is navigated using standard iPad finger gestures. The various information panels are interactive, enabling the reader to scroll through the data, focusing on what interests them.