Making Big Data Visible
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Making Big Data Visible

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These are the slides I made for a 15 minute talk at SxSW Eco 2013: http://schedule.sxsweco.com/events/event_ECOP16860. ...

These are the slides I made for a 15 minute talk at SxSW Eco 2013: http://schedule.sxsweco.com/events/event_ECOP16860.

Since it was such a short talk, and it was a new crowd for me, I simply tried to give some hints & direction for getting started.

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Making Big Data Visible Making Big Data Visible Presentation Transcript

  • Hi. Stamen Monday, October 21, 13 Hello! And, welcome to my talk.
  • Making Big Data Visible SxSW Eco, October 7. 2013 #BigDataVisible Stamen Monday, October 21, 13 I’m George Oates, Art Director at a small San Francisco studio called Stamen. We’ve been around since 2001, and we make maps. Maps of place, and maps of data.
  • Straight To The Point, Indeed Quick Stamen fly-by 2 projects Monday, October 21, 13 Today, I’ll be talking to you about
  • Monday, October 21, 13 This is us, standing in front of a watercolor map billboard we made. It’s in San Francisco, just a couple of blocks from the office. This is 10/12ths of us. We’re made up of designers, engineers and administrators.
  • Independent Company Small Recombinant Teams Monday, October 21, 13 Being independent means we can work on what we want; what interests us.
  • Client Work R&D Art/Experiments Monday, October 21, 13 We do client work so we can have time to do R&D and experiment.
  • Monday, October 21, 13 Crime Maps
  • Monday, October 21, 13 Building Maps
  • Monday, October 21, 13 Time Maps
  • Monday, October 21, 13 Space Maps - that’s a WebGL 3D map of the surface of Mars
  • Monday, October 21, 13 Watercolor maps There is a lot more about Stamen on our website. For now I’d like to focus on 2 main projects, and then end with a couple of quick thoughts about the challenges of so much data.
  • Creative-Commons licensed maps available for you to use. maps.stamen.com Monday, October 21, 13 Watercolor maps There is a lot more about Stamen on our website. For now I’d like to focus on 2 main projects, and then end with a couple of quick thoughts about the challenges of so much data.
  • Help with Analysis Help with Publicity Monday, October 21, 13 OK, so. Making Big Data Visible. Our clients come from all over the place... Entertainment, Government, Private Enterprise, and increasingly, Science. In most cases, we mostly see 2 reasons that people come to Stamen. Help with analysis, and help with publicity. Both of these angles are getting increasingly difficult, thanks to the general and pervasive increase in the volumes of data we’re creating. This is particularly true in scientific research.
  • “Show us what we’ve got” Monday, October 21, 13 Arguably, Stamen Design is one of the companies in the world that began the practice of data visualization, in the first decade of the 20th century. It was
  • Understand the data we’re working with. Draw everything. How does it change over time? Is place important? Make it clear. Make it beautiful. Monday, October 21, 13 Our basic exploration practice.
  • PROJECT 1: Mapping Bay Grasses for the Chesapeake Bay Program CC BY 2.0 by chesbayprogram Monday, October 21, 13 The Chesapeake Bay Program is a consortium of groups such as EPA, NOAA, the National Parks Service, as well as several universities around its shores. It’s primary aim is the study and restoration of the Bay (which is huge, by the way).
  • Monday, October 21, 13 Almost 40 years worth of aerial photography, with annotations.
  • Monday, October 21, 13 Basic, informative.
  • Monday, October 21, 13
  • Draw everything. Monday, October 21, 13
  • Draw everything. Monday, October 21, 13
  • Draw everything. Monday, October 21, 13 All the numbers we have for water temperature, turbidity, and salinity.
  • See holes. Monday, October 21, 13 All the numbers we have for water temperature, turbidity, and salinity.
  • How does it change over time? Monday, October 21, 13
  • Make it clear. Make it beautiful. Monday, October 21, 13 We enjoyed the cartography on this project... Underwater! You can see here how the land is pushed right back in the design. You can see roads on land, but we didn’t want land detail to overwhelm the bathymetry data, or information about bay grass density.
  • Working directly with experts. Monday, October 21, 13 Dr. Bob Orth, from the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences. Bob’s been studying the Chesapeake Bay for almost 40 years, both in the water, and way above it, using aerial photography to map the density of grasses in the bay, which are a good indicator of overall health of the system. We interviewed Bob to get his take on the bay, and he helped us identify “segments of interest” which were good to point out to people because there’d been a particularly interesting change there - something the public probably wouldn’t work out on their own. We highlighted these in the final piece, and included narrative from Bob.
  • Working directly with experts. Monday, October 21, 13 He said: “I was giving a talk to a fish club, and kept talking about “water quality”. Someone popped up and said “you’ve got to stop talking about “water quality” – when the public hears that they think of herbicides, pesticides, and chemicals. They liked it much better when talking about “dirt & crap””
  • 3 decades of data brought to life! http://www.chesapeakebay.net Monday, October 21, 13
  • PROJECT 2: Surging Seas for Climate Central CC BY 2.0 by charliekwalker Monday, October 21, 13 Climate Central is an independent organization of leading scientists and journalists researching and reporting the facts about the changing climate and its impact on the American public. Last year, we released the first version of the Surging Seas visualization, and I’m about to give you a sneak peek at the not-yet-released version 2.
  • http://sealevel.climatecentral.org/ Monday, October 21, 13
  • http://sealevel.climatecentral.org/ Monday, October 21, 13
  • http://sealevel.climatecentral.org/ Monday, October 21, 13
  • “the most frightening, important map of the year” http://sealevel.climatecentral.org/ Monday, October 21, 13 http://www.theatlanticcities.com/design/2012/12/2012s-year-maps/4196/
  • Monday, October 21, 13 Here’s version 2. We’ve changed the cartography design to (hopefully) have even more visual impact. We’ve introduced terrain into the mix, which we thought was important, since it can potentially block the flow of water.
  • Monday, October 21, 13 We’ve increased the fidelity of the satellite imagery that represents land which would be underwater.
  • Monday, October 21, 13 You can see here the Red Hook area of Brooklyn, one of the hardest hit areas in Hurricane Sandy.
  • Monday, October 21, 13
  • Monday, October 21, 13
  • Monday, October 21, 13
  • Sandy rose to 13 feet. (This is 10.) Monday, October 21, 13
  • TO FINISH: A few tips on Making Big Data Visible Monday, October 21, 13 I’d love to say the best answer is to hire Stamen, but, not everyone has money to spend on design thinking. So... some pointers?
  • Map what’s obvious and show people. Monday, October 21, 13 It’s surprising how effective it is to map what you know. I’m not talking about a geogrpahical map particularly either. Have a think about ways to represent your work visually. Talk with family and friends about your work, and make a note of the sorts of questions they’re asking you.
  • Think about data accessibility. Monday, October 21, 13 It’s hard to think about how to package up your data so other people can use it. It takes time, and effort. Don’t worry if there are a few errors or gaps - just let people know up front.
  • Think about data accessibility. http://hint.fm/wind/ Monday, October 21, 13 This wind map was a personal art project, built by Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg, with data gathered from around the web.
  • Think about data preservation. Monday, October 21, 13 I went to a really interesting workshop a couple of weeks ago... it was about the creation of a new Institute for Sustainable Earth Sciences Software... one of many interesting things that popped up over those 2 days was about how some published papers maybe being made invalid because the experiments in them can’t be reproduced anymore, because either the software used to conduct them is gone, or the data is lost. I used to work at a non-profit called the Internet Archive, where you can put up files for free. No harm in shoving some copies of your working data somewhere other than the various commercial entities like Dropbox or Amazon.
  • Produce & publish in low-res formats Monday, October 21, 13
  • Keep sharing work & tools you make. Even the raw stuff. Monday, October 21, 13 This superb thing is an accidental LiDAR capture of an elephant in the Lope National Park, Gabon, reported by Simon Lewis via Twitter. While researchers were surveying forest density in the park, they found this! Now it’s almost my favorite thing on the internet. If you wan tto see for yourself, just Google “lidar elephant”. I didn’t have a clue that LiDAR was being used in forestry and preservation... now I do, thanks to this chap. Talk about big data - LiDAR captures about 1 million data points per second.
  • Stamen Thank You! Monday, October 21, 13 http://stamen.com George Oates, Art Director glo@stamen.com @stamenglo