visualization

Visualization tools offer new ways to inform and improve understanding. Showing data in relation to geography, the passage of time, and other contexts helps individuals and communities to prioritize and weigh the meaning of facts. Visualization can refer to mapping, locative media, visual data, or many other ways of showing data graphically.

The Case for Informal Visualization

Data visualization is all over the place. On the hype curve, we’re clearly up in the area of inflated expectations. If you listen to the reporting, you wouldn't be blamed for thinking dataviz is going to bring world peace! I’m writing to beat the drum in favor of more informal presentations.  You can tell better data stories, and engage your audience more, by creating less formal data presentations.

Some Examples

What do I mean by "informal visualization"?  To start, toss out your computer, printer and graph paper. Pull our your crayons, big paper, tape, and your imagination.

From top-left, clockwise: 

3 steps to measure the corruption coverage in Spain

Corruption coverage in Spanish newspapers

The fast-growing list of corruption investigations in Spain have involved almost every institution in the country: the major political parties, the royal house, the supreme court or the national bank, just to mention some of them. Everyday, new information and a new case is released/unveiled, provoking an increasing sense of indignation. It is also true that the levels of indignation have reached an apex, that they cause either incredulity or insensitivity.

Mapping the Globe

Mapping the Globe is an interactive tool and map that helps us understand where the Boston Globe directs its attention. Media attention matters–in quantity and quality. It helps determine what we talk about as a public and how we talk about it.

PageOneX

Newspaper front pages are a key source of data about our media ecology. Newsrooms spend massive time and effort deciding what stories make it to the front page. PageOneX makes coding and visualizing newspaper front page content much easier, democratizing access to newspaper attention data.

Mapping Banned Books

Mapping Banned Books project is a partnership between the Center for Civic Media, the Boston Globe, and the National Coalition Against Censorship to discover, visualize, and analyze trends in book censorship.

Controversy Mapper

How does a media controversy become the only thing any of us are talking about? Using the Media Cloud platform, we're reverse-engineering major news stories to visualize how ideas spread, how media frames change over time, and whose voices dominate a discussion.

Data Therapy

Status: 
Active

As part of our larger effort to build out a suite of tools for community organizers, we are helping to build their capacity to do their own creative data visualization and presentation.

Talking Fast II: More CrisisMapper Ignite Sessions

Luis Capelo (@luiscape) of Digital Humanitarian Network loves volunteers. DH exists to stimulate more interaction between humanitarian volunteers and large humanitarian institutions.

There's information overload in humanitarian responses. How do we collect and make sense of all this information? Luis credits humanitarian orgs with doing the hard work of adapting, but it's a rough sea to navigate. Volunteer & Technical Communities thrive in this environment. They're nimble, lightweight, and advanced, technically. Luis thinks its time to stop questioning whether VT&Cs can help, and begin to dive into how these groups can collaborate.

DH aims to create a consortium of groups that faciliates between the two worlds, and reduces the cost of collaboration
They have a simplified activation process: activate volunteers, triage the volume, and forward them to VT&Cs. They've produced a guide to manage the activation of VT&Cs.

Critical and Iterative aspects of Civic Media

Hi Sasha, Becky, Class, and World,

My name's Arlene Ducao. I'm a second year Media Lab student in the Info Eco (http://eco.media.mit.edu) group. I'm looking forward to participating in the class in some way, particularly in the civic maps session; maps are at the central part of my thesis OpenIR (http://openir.media.mit.edu) and my Brooklyn design studio (http://dukode.com). I will conduct OpenIR user studies in Indonesia in January, and I'm hoping this class will give me a broad understanding of Civic Media in preparation for the study.

Why Flawed Infographics Are Better Than Perfect Ones

This infographic from Floor Gem blasts the Transportation Security Administration's prodigious terribleness (prodigious in the sense that the TSA is a terribleness prodigy, on the level of Bobby Fischer and chess). There's nothing that inherently lends this data to the infographic form. It's flawed. There's nothing that its graphicality adds to its data, except that it's just so good-looking, its imperfections don't matter. It affects you. You remember it. And that's really what counts when it comes to communicating data.

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