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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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Entries in news (59)

Monday
Jan062014

The Evolution of Reddit

The Evolution of Reddit Through Time infographic

The Evolution of Reddit Through Time infographic from Randal Olson.com covers the history of Reddit for the past 7 years. With thousands of active subreddits, the visual above displays the 24 most active. Track the popularity of each subreddit through the years!

The graph below shows how 24 of the most active subreddits have changed over time. I ordered the subreddits by the time that they first appeared on Reddit. I recommend zooming in so you can see it better.

(I should note that I purposely excluded /r/reddit.com from this graph because it dominates the entire graph until about 2008, then screws things up again when it got closed down in late 2011.)

The biggest thing that you may notice is that there were very few subreddits from 2006-2008. In fact, there was only one subreddit before 2006 (/r/reddit.com). The majority of the content in 2006-2008 was focused on more techie-friendly subjects: programming, science, politics, entertainment, and gaming. Major subreddits dedicated to solely picture and video content started becoming popular in mid-2008, and even then their posts only comprised less than 1/4 of Reddit’s content. It wasn’t until 2011 did the picture-related subreddits really start taking over, and Reddit never looked back after that.

This graph covers so many changes in the Reddit community that it can’t explain what happened by itself. In the following sections, I will take a closer look at how the Reddit community evolved on a year-by-year basis.

Love these data visualizations of the reddit’s evolution over time from Randy, a 3rd year Computer Science graduate research assistant at Michigan State University.  In his original post, he actually visualizes each year separately, and you can see some major milestones and clear changes in the reddit universe.

The Great /r/reddit.com Spike of 2009

The total growth of reddit over the years is lost in the 100% Stacked Area chart; however, you can clearly see the growth of subreddit content as a portion of the whole.

Found on Flowing Data!

Thursday
Aug222013

Worldwide ATM Cyber Attack

World Wide ATM Cyber Attack infographic

The Worldwide ATM Cyber Attack infographic from 41st Parameter talks about the international internet heist that stole $45 Million in May 2013. The infographic centers around how they did it, what they took, and then how it could of been stopped.

Most people gasped at today’s headlines about the massive, $45 million ATM heist, which was engineered by a highly-organized gang of cybercriminals. Consumers and banking executives alike have the same worry today: Is their money and account information safe?

Here at 41st Parameter, the news simply highlighted what we already knew – financial institutions are extremely vulnerable to increasingly sophisticated cyber criminals who, as in this case, are able to steal data from pre-paid ATM cards and then quickly loot machines across the globe.

Most banking systems today are connected directly or in-directly to the Internet. This brings about a multitude of unintentional exposures, all of which allows criminals to exploit them to their advantage.

Given the scale of the global credit card networks, it is almost impossible to detect every kind of attack. Similar to fighting terrorism, you can be successful in preventing something 100 times, but the bad guys only need to be successful once.

Banks and financial institutions should use all of the available data and fraud detection solutions to fight fire with fire – and build better defenses for the 21st Century. Indeed, the shocking $45M price tag for banks should be a call to action to put better protections in place. This attack is NOT the last one, and if the modus operandi proves to be successful, crooks will exploit it time and again.

Good use of an infographic as a step-by-step visual explanation.  Good source listing with the URL directly to the detailed news article.  The footer should include a copyright statement and the URL to the original infographic landing page so people can find the full-size version after seeing the infographic on other sites. 

Thanks to Caroline for sending in the link!

Thursday
May302013

Drones Kill - Animated, Interactive Visualization

Drones Kill - Animated, Interactive Visualization

Great data visualization design from Pitch Interactive.  Out of Site, Out of Mind is an animated data visualization of every U.S. drone strike in Pakistan since 2004 and the associated kills reported in the news.  There is also an interactive element is that the readers can hover their pointer over the visualization an more details appear in a popup window.  Visit the original site to see the animation.

Since 2004, the US has been practicing in a new kind of clandestine military operation. The justification for using drones to take out enemy targets is appealing because it removes the risk of losing American military, it’s much cheaper than deploying soldiers, it’s politically much easier to maneuver (i.e. flying a drone within Pakistan vs. sending troops) and it keeps the world in the dark about what is actually happening. It takes the conflict out of sight, out of mind. The success rate is extremely low and the cost on civilian lives and the general well-being of the population is very high. This project helps to bring light on the topic of drones. Not to speak for or against, but to inform and to allow you to see for yourself whether you can support drone usage or not.

The visualization is created in HTML5 and JavaScript. We recommend Chrome for the best viewing experience.

The challenge with gathering the data and how drone attacks are represented in the news is shown by the large OTHER category of victims.  Also, it’s the largest category of victims.  A data visualization like this is a tremendously effective way to bring this issue to light.

The category of victims we call “OTHER” is classified differently depending on the source. The Obama administration classifies any able-bodied male a military combatant unless evidence is brought forward to prove otherwise. This is a very grey area for us. These could be neighbors of a target killed. They may all be militants and a threat. What we do know for sure is that they are targeted without being given any representation or voice to defend themselves.

The visualization was created by Wesley Grubbs, and there is a video interview of him about the data visualziation process by The Huffington Post.

Thanks to Ray for sending in the link!

Thursday
Feb072013

Syria: The Basics, an infographic presentation

Syria: The Basics is an infographic slide show using the Prezi presentation tool.  It plays like a movie, and does a great job utilizing the new features of Prezi like Fade-In animation and Audio Overlay.

Designed by Lara Setrakian (@Lara), co-founder and managing editor of Syria Deeply, a single issue news website.  Fantastic design work!  The presentation utilizes data visualization design concepts including relative sizing to put the size of the country into perspective, a timeline layout of events, related news photos and world map information.

Syria: The Basics, an infographic presentation

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.

 

Wednesday
Mar232011

Japan: The Earthquake & The Tsunami [infographic]

Japan:The Earthquake & The Tsunami is a good infographic design from the team at DigitalSurgeons.com.  I like the simple color scheme, and the mix of different types of visuals for the different pieces of data.  Maps, bar charts, icon grids and a ruler all help put the currently available information into perspective.

The bottom also lists some of the major support links for people that would like to help.

Thanks to Peter for sending in the link!

Monday
Feb072011

Fuel Poverty with the Over-60 Crowd in England

Click for larger image

EDITED by request of the source:

From Blueclawsearch.co.uk, a great use of infographics in your marketing strategy is in coordination with a press release to help communicate a message to your audience. 

The press release was of course sent out to the normal sources, but the infographic can have a life of its own.  The infographic has the additional ability to reach their audience directly, and be shared on the Internet in ways that a press release never would.

Here’s the press release that went out in conjunction with the infographic:

PRESS RELEASE for immediate release

DATE: 3rd February 2011

Blueclaw Highlights Study on Fuel Poverty Amongst Over 60s in England

This infographic created with the intention of providing a visual impact of how the elderly over 60s are coping in the freezing winter months. These figures are from a recent study on fuel poverty and the over 60s in England*.

Fuel poverty is a real and rising problem in England - 4.6 million people aged over 60 are worried about being to afford heating bills. Furthermore, 1 in 3 over 60’s had to resort to drastic measures to fend off the cold, such as going to a public library. Also according to the study, winter deaths between 2009 and 2010 have totalled more than 23,000.

Too many times and too often, statistics and data from important studies are ignored not because the findings are not urgent, but because most people find it hard to process numbers and jargon easily. AgeUK has recently done a study on how fuel poverty is affecting the over 60s in the UK. This infographic was designed by Blueclaw, to create a visual impact of the study. This social awareness campaign coincides with Fuel Poverty Awareness Day (11th February), a national awareness-raising media and public affairs campaign with an aim to urge MPs to focus their surgeries that week, on helping those who are in or at risk of fuel poverty.

*Study taken from: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/latest-press/archive/poorest-over-60s-twice-as-likely-to-dread-the-cold-as-the-richest-says-age-uk/
More info on Fuel Poverty Awareness Day: http://www.nea.org.uk/fuel-poverty-awareness-day-2011/

I do have a couple issues with the infographic design itself.  Why are the squares that are “2X and 3X as likely” the same size?  Why is 1/3” represented in a solid circle (looks like a pie chart, so it should show a 1/3 slice)?  The grid of 17 houses representing 1.7 million is 6 houses across, which is hard for most readers to comprehend.  We live in a base-10 world, so the grid should be 5 houses wide.

Thursday
Jan062011

The 2010 Year in Review #infographic

 

OnlineSchools.org has released the 2010 Year in Review zoomable infographic summarizing the major events of 2010.  The zoomable version is below, and it’s best viewed in full-screen million.

I have mixed feelings about this one.  Using the outer space metaphor, there are 15 major news categories with text descriptions of a handful of events in each.  Each event has a small celestial body illustration related to it, and a measure of blog posts and tweets on Twitter related to the event.

 

It really does need the zoomable feature, because the font sizes are dramatically different between the titles and the text.  That does make it difficult to read sometimes.  I noticed the Star Trek font used as well as part of the sections.

In the corners are some visualizations of things like Top Memes, Top Songs, Twitter Trends, Yahoo Searches and Google’s Fastest Rising Searches.

 


I think this one is missing good sources for where their information came from, a designer listing, some of the text s too small and in some cases is more illustration then infographic.  Overall it’s fun to zoom around and appreciate the details they’ve included.

Thanks Brittany!

 

 

Thursday
Dec162010

DataStore - Launched at The Guardian

 

Today, the Guardian, home of the DataBlog, has launched a new site as the home for their data journalism, DataStore.

 

 

From Simon Rogers, Editor of the DataBlog and the DataStore:

Today we launch a new gateway to our data journalism and visualisations - find out what’s new at guardian.co.uk/data.

Data journalism has become an increasingly big part of our work here at the Guardian - from Wikileaks to government spending, it’s our job to make the key data accessible and easy to understand.

As Tim Berners-Lee said recently:

[Journalism is] going to be about poring over data and equipping yourself with the tools to analyse it and picking out what’s interesting. And keeping it in perspective, helping people out by really seeing where it all fits together, and what’s going on in the country

So, we’ve pulled all our data journalism into one new place: guardian.co.uk/data.

Besides our award-winning datablog, the site includes:
• The key data of the day - broken down for you
• Our pick of the data blogosphere - which sites have the key posts?
• Search the world’s government data - and global development data
• What have you done with our data? Featured apps

We’ll be adding new features and changes over the next months. What would you like to see?

 

Wednesday
Dec302009

The Last 10 Years...Visually

 

Great chart by Phillip Niemeyer over on NYTimes.com, Picturing the Past 10 Years.  Using icons and unique pictures, Phillip captures the key event of each year in 12 different categories.

Found on FlowingData, WeLoveDataVis, and it was tweeted but a few people on my Twitter list, Cool Infographics People.