Look – data is beautiful

Since I have some time on my hands these days – I’m currently between handing in and defending my PhD thesis, which takes months at my university – I decided to up my programming skills, and am currently taking courses on coursera. One of them is on data visualisation (the next one will be on machine learning – exciting times), and a familiar name cropped up again: Edward Tufte, of data-ink ratio and chart junk fame. Here’s an example of increasing the data-ink ratio:

Some more complex and pretty visualisations I then came across are the ‘breathing city‘, showing Mannhattan’s work vs. home population by hour of the day, a map showing what each country is best at (dissappointingly it is not chocolate for Switzerland!), or a timeline of fears discussed in the media.

For demographic data, gapminder is utterly amazing, since its graphs are interactive – you can decide what you want to plot and how! Here‘s a static but multidimensional poster version of health agains income for each country. For selected demographic charts with plenty of background information, ourworldindata is an excellent source, check out for instance their treatise of world population growth.

What are your favourite examples of data visualisation?

PS: (Interactive) data visualisations can also be terribly instructive and educational, for basic concepts of statistics, machine learning or other stuff!

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