Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Information (and data) Visualization: The future always arrives late and unexpectedly

I've intermittently taught data visualization to grad students. It's been the same old thing for years -- poor quality scans of examples from 20-30 year old experiments. Nothing seemed to make it out of the lab. So I was surprised when a colleague (Andrew) pointed me to an unexpected reference: 

Data Visualization: Modern Approaches

This article gives a nice overview of various visualization technologies that people are experimenting with.  Some seem like eye candy, some seem genuinely useful and could be applicable to clinical applications.  The articles and resources section gives some good links to other resources on the web, such as visual complexity which has hundreds of different ideas for visual representation of topics....

Andrew also pointed me to the interactive Flash based BBC British History Timeline. Lovely, and a very handy reference to use with "In Our Time" podcasts. These kinds of visualizations do make me hope Apple is able to create a decent Flash client for OS X (and thus for the iPhone). (since Adobe can't).

I expect the data visualization post will be widely used by anyone lecturing on information/ knowledge/ data visualization. It's also a golden example of how much power Blogs (Smashing Magazine is really a blog in drag) provide. Once upon a time, this would have had to be a book, with an enormous barrier to publication. Today this unattributed article has "Views: 70392 by 52501 users". As near as I can tell this is the author information:

Smashing Magazine is maintained by Sven Lennartz, the owner of the Dr. Web Magazine and Marketing Tricks and Vitaly Friedman, the creator of The Web Developer’s Handbook - with a little help from Christiane Rosenberger.

Of course I've added SM to my bloglines subscription list. Anyone who can do this must have more to offer in the archives and the future ...

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