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Randy Krum infographic designerRandy Krum

President of InfoNewt.
Data Visualization, Infographic Design, Visual Thinking, Product Development and Marketing professional fascinated by good infographics.  Always looking for better ways to get the point across.

 

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Looking for help creating your own infographics?  Randy’s infographic and data visualziation design company:

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Entries in Location (8)

Thursday
Nov212013

Finding Waldo by Visualizing Patterns

Where's Waldo BooksGraphic by Slate. Illustration by Martin Handford published by Candlewick Press.

Here’s Waldo is a great analysis and article by Ben Blatt on Slate.com about trying to determine a strategy for finding Waldo by visualizing patterns from the Where’s Waldo series of books.

In Chapter 1: The Science of Infographics of my new book, Cool Infographics, I cover that our ability to see patterns is a huge factor in why data visualizations and infographics are so effective.  Humans can see patterns and recognize differences where computers can’t.  You can read about this topic and more in the Free Sample Chapter available for download.

Illustrator Martin Handford published the first in his beloved series of Where’s Waldo books over 25 years ago.* The books challenge readers to find the titular cartoon man, clad in his trusty red-striped shirt and red-striped hat, as he hides in a landscape of red-striped red herrings. When attempting to find Waldo you can scan the page completely from top to bottom, or you can focus your search around certain landmarks where Waldo seems likely to be hiding (in a castle’s moat, riding a blimp). Neither approach is particularly efficient. Which got me to wondering: What if there’s a better way?

I sought to answer these questions the way any mathematician who has no qualms about appearing ridiculous in public would: I sat in a Barnes & Noble for three hours flipping through all seven Where’s Waldo books with a tape measure.

The map born of my experiment is below.

Mapping Waldo Locations

It may not be immediately clear from looking at this map, but my hunch that there’s a better way to hunt was right. There isn’t one corner of the page where Waldo is always hiding; readers would have already noticed if his patterns were so obvious. What we do see, as highlighted in the map below, is that 53 percent of the time Waldo is hiding within one of two 1.5-inch tall bands, one starting three inches from the bottom of the page and another one starting seven inches from the bottom, stretching across the spread.

Finding Waldo Patterns

Check out the complete story on Slate.com

Found thanks to a post by Mike Elgan on Google+!

 

Thursday
Nov072013

Most Popular Pizza Chains Map Visualization

Most Popular Pizza Chains infographic

FlowingData has released a fantastic map visualization of the Most Popular Pizza Chains in the United States.

Most of the major pizza chains are within a 5-mile radius of where I live, so I have my pick, but I usually order from whatever place is closest to where I am. So it doesn’t matter if there are more Domino’s locations than Pizza Huts where I live. I just want my feeding time to come sooner rather than later, and if that place happens to be Pizza Hut so be it. (Although, if I’m not in a rush, I’ll go to the local sit-down place.)

This is the point of the map above, which shows the nearest pizza place within a 10-mile radius across the United States. Nice and clean data courtesy of AggData.

You can also see the major chains individually:

Most Popular Pizza Chains Separate Maps

Found on LaughingSquid.

Now I’m hungry.

Wednesday
Oct092013

An Infographic Profile of the Modern Travel Blogger

An Infographic Profile of the Modern Travel Blogger

An Infographic Profile of the Modern Travel Blogger from the Sandymount Hotel in Dublin, Ireland, takes a closer look at answering the question “Who are these travel bloggers?”

As today marks the start of the TBEX European Conference – the world’s largest gathering of travel bloggers, writers and new media content creators – we thought we would celebrate their choice of Dublin as this years’ venue with an infographic profile of the modern travel blogger.

Today and tomorrow, Dublin will play host to scores of travel bloggers and writers, but what makes a contemporary travel blogger? It’s an interesting and pertinent question – it’s a demanding occupation (albeit a fun one!) and one that requires a huge amount of hard work, dedication and the potential of not making a huge amount of money, at least in the formative years.

So what’s the average profile of the modern travel blogger? How old are they? What countries do they visit? How do they monetise their writing and what contemporary technology do they utilise to facilitate their writing? To answer these questions and numerous others, we completed an in-depth survey of travel bloggers, giving us some revealing and unique insights into what makes up a travel blogger.

Rather than present all our finding in a page of text, we thought we’d turn them into a far more eye-catching format, so here’s our infographic profile of the modern travel blogger:

The design is clean with a great color palette.  It’s easy for readers to look through the information quickly.

A few of the statistics are shown in text only, while others are visualized.  The stats in text only will be perceived as less important by readers, and I don’t think that was the intent of the designers.  If the data is important enough to include in the infographic, they should also be visualized.

Thanks to David for sending in the link!

Friday
May032013

The Foursquare Visualizer

The Foursquare Visualizer interactive infographic

Foursquare has release a new Foursquare Visualizer, that creates an interactive data visualization of your own activity for the last 12 months.  I included the images from my own history.

At Foursquare, we’ve always known how very special our community is. Today, April 16 (4/4^2), marks the fourth annual 4sqDay. Each year, we take this opportunity to thank our amazing community for all that they do.

…take a peek back into your own history at foursquare.com/visualizeme. It’s just our small way of saying, “Thanks! We think you’re awesome.”

There are a handful of different visualizations of your own history of check-ins available.  The connection circle (shown above) is the best looking.  Other visuals include a Timeline and Categories.

Found on the Foursquare blog

 


Tuesday
Feb212012

The United States of Craigslist

Welcome to The United States of Craiglist! This infographic map, found on the IDV User Experience blog, shows approximately how craigslist divides its geographic zones across the U.S.! Very important for a website who bases its usefulness on location!

WHY?  Locality is inherent to the value of craigslist; I go to craigslist.org but I get kicked over to the local instance of craigslist (my IP address sources me to somewhere in the illustrious Lansing, MI).  But how does craigslist know where to send me?   Some mysterious system of assigning a geocoded IP address to just the right site must be in place…I wonder what that map looks like.


When Ian Clemens proposed the idea, I looked around to find an existing map of craigslist sites-to-areas -maybe even find the lookup that they themselves use. I couldn’t find anything like it.
Whether it matches their system well or not, here is a map that approximates geographic coverage to individual sites using a Voronoi process as a base (more info on process below).  It is at least a start at visualizing the geographic coverage and distribution of the community-driven instances of craigslist.  Shapes like this might provide some useful context for other data, demographic or market information, for instance.  Also, when pulled into VFX, it can serve as an input to some spatial querying on those other metrics.

It’s worth noting that this is not from Craigslist at all, but an outside analysis of the cities from the craigslist site and approximates the geographic areas covered by each.  A complete post about how this map was generated is available here, and they have even made all of the data files available in a number of different formats.  Bonus!

Craigslist doesn’t care about state lines, counties, time zones or voting districts.  They care about defining an area that covers certain population levels that effectively use their service.

Thanks to Jim for sending in the link!

Thursday
Aug182011

The Power of Data Visualization: iPhone Tracking

Inofrmation is power.  Data visualization has the power to change the world!  Change our habits, our laws, our business strategies and what we understand about the world around us.  Our understanding of data forms the foundation of how we make choices, form opinions, and at least one study claims that up to 80% of the human brain is wired just to interpret and remember visual data.

Anyone reading this blog has a basic understanding that data visualization makes things easier to understand.  It puts data into context and allows the viewer to see large data sets summarized in a much smaller space.  I’ve avoided updating to the latest iOS on my iPhone until I could put together this post since it’s such a great example of how visualizing data turns it into information that people can use.

Earlier this year, Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden announced at the Where 2.0 conference that Apple’s iPhones were tracking all of your location data in an open, accessbile file on your computer.  ALL of the location data since the phone was first turned on, which could be years of data.  Heavily covered by the press, you can see their announcement here.  The reason I bring this up on Cool Infographics, is that I believe the visualization itself is what caused this to become a major media event sometimes referred to as “Locationgate.”

Some industry and forensic experts knew about this data already, and many others had tried to to make the public aware of it without any success.  Just telling people that your cell phone is storing location data doesn’t make it real and personal enogh to get the press and the public to care.  In fact, there have been other stories that Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 also gather this tracking data, but only Apple’s data was turned into a visualization and captured attention.

Alasdair and Pete wrote a simple application that anyone could download and use to see their own location data visualized on a map.  This not only made the story more understandable but it made it personal because I could see my own data.

We’d been discussing doing a visualization of mobile data, and while he was researching into what was available, Alasdair discovered this file. At first we weren’t sure how much data was there, but after we dug further and visualized the extracted data, it became clear that there was a scary amount of detail on our movements. It also became obvious that at least some other people knew about it, but it wasn’t being publicized.

iPhoneTracker is an open-source project that visualizes the location data that your iOS device is recording.

Created by Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden using the OpenStreetMap and OpenHeatMap frameworks.

 

As you can see above, they were even nice with data, and aggregated it into a simple grid that isn’t the actual GPS locations or location of the cell towers.  (This shows my trip to DisneyWorld in Florida)  The size of the circles shows the frequency of data points within that specific location.  So the visual shows an approximate location, but the actual data file on the iPhone was much more detailed.  Of course, the application was open source, so others started playing with the code and created much more detailed versions of the software.  Here’s that same data using the Creepy Edition of iPhoneTracker:

 

 

I believe that this use of data visualization to communicate the story was the primary factor that caused a media furor, lawsuits, press releases, interviews, government hearings and proposals to change our laws.

Apple posted an official press release responding to all of the attention and released a software update that deletes most of the historical data.  Sadly, the next time I update my iPhone, the historical data will all be erased.  Personally, I wish I had the option to continue to gather my own data because I’m into this sort of thing.  This file is now also encrypted if you turn on “Encrypt iPhone Backup” so it’s no longer easily accessible.

 

What’s the point?  Data visualization can be used to make your information relevant to your audience and get their attention.  Don’t just tell people your story, show them.

 

Tuesday
Jun212011

Foursquare Reaches 10 Million Users

 

Foursquare yesterday announced that they have reached 10 Million members, and released this infographic for the occasion.

And, to commemorate this pretty crazy occasion, we put together a little infographic. Be sure to click through to see it bigger; if you’re anything like us, watching the full-size animated map puts butterflies in your tummy. Thank you so much for supporting us!

I love the animated portion right in the middle!

Personally, I have mostly given up on Foursquare check-ins without the points or mayorships earning anything for me.  I wonder how many of those 10 Miliion joined, but don’t use Foursquare anymore?

Thursday
May052011

The Reality Behind Social Location Apps #infographic

Digital services company Beyond compiled the results of their research into location-based apps, and designed this infographic summarizing the results; Check-In Data: The Reality Behind the Hype.  Released in conjuction with the Social-Loco conference in San Francisco, CA on May 5th.

As part of our involvement in the Social-Loco conference we have done some research to try to understand the difference between what people are saying online compared to the actions of early adopters and the views of the rest of the US population when it comes to their mobile check-in habits.

The results give us a clear understanding of who the winners and losers are likely to be, as well as the types of things that will motivate the mass consumer to adopt location-based apps. They also highlight some of the real challenges there are to consumers embracing this technology.

The data is very interesting.  Personally, I continue to use Foursquare, but find myself checking in less and less because I don’t get any direct benefits out of it.

From a design standpoint, I like the circle clusters, but I don’t like data separate in a legend on the side.  I appreciate that the color-coding remains the same, so Twitter is the same color in each visualization.  I would have included the logo images for the social location-based apps, and connected the data directly to the circles.  Data legends like this make your readers work harder to understand the information.

I also think that the most interesting learning from the study is the comparison between how people interact with national brands and small, local businesses.  However, this is the last visualization at the bottom, and gets lost.

Found on Mashable!