Flowing Data is repository for all sorts of interesting InfoVis. It has an extensive library as well as offering courses on InfoVis.
Data is beautiful
I discovered that Reddit has an InfoVis thread…
A Mexican twitter page (in Spanish) which has some excellent infographics, both static and animated gifs.
Big Bang Data
Today we live in the Digital Age and the amount of data we produce grows exponentially. The increasing proliferation of sensors and smart devices, as well as our everyday online activity, has lead to a massive explosion – a ‘Big Bang’ – of data. This radical shift in volume, variety and speed of data being produced, combined with new techniques for storage, access and analysis, is what defines Big Data. It is radically reshaping our world and is set to revolutionise everything we do.
Big Data can mean new ways of doing things, from scientific research to business strategy, politics to social interaction. We are witnessing a fundamental transition to a new data-driven society that has the potential to be more fair, stable, and efficient. But it can also be wielded as a means of unprecedented mass surveillance and as a tool of commodification. Data access and usage rights, along with the value they comprise, are at the heart of many concerns.
The year 2002 represented a turning point in data. For the first time, we had more information stored in digital forms than analogue. By 2007, 94% of the total global information was digitally coded information.
Every day we create some 2.5 trillion bytes of data. This data is generated everywhere, such as messages, photographs and videos on social networks, records of shopping transactions and the GPS signal of our mobile phones.
This accumulation of data in unprecedented volumes opened the Big Data era.
Data Universe – Immersed in the Tsunami
The term ‘information explosion’ has been in use since the 1960s, so the idea that we are living in the wake of a major data surge is not new. Even so, the quantity of data we are capable of producing, transmitting and storing has accelerated exponentially and is now comminly referred to as a ‘tsunami’. An incredible 90% of the data in the world today was created in the last two years alone. This data is coming from an endless list of sources as the world functions more and more through digital means. Climate sensors, social media sites, online banks and mobile phone signals were just the start of the 2.5 quintillion bytes of data we produced every day in 2012.
Having access to this extensive amount of digital information presents an unprecedented opportunity to do things differently. An abundance of valuable knowledge lies within the information produced by Big Data. This can be used to great effect if we know how to retain, process, and understand it. It can improve efficiency, resolve problems and reveal the world in a completely new light.
Data for the common good – Towards a critical and participatory culture
Data can be a force for good – for us and our society; we can use it as a tool for positive social, environmental and political change. Through the creative communication of data, designers, journalists and activists can raise awareness of controversial issues and events in impactful and immediate ways. The emergence of data-driven collaborative platforms has also facilitated the sharing of knowledge, making new forms of scientific research and design possible. In a movement to give more power to the citizen, pressure has been put on government bodies to open up data sets and increase transparency, while new tools have been developed to enable direct citizen engagement in the democratic process. Some designers are also asking how we might change the conversation around data, taking control of the information we produce and sharing it for ourselves.
What data cannot tell – The tyranny of data-centrism
Using data as a tool to understand and interpret the world opens up many possibilities, but also involves a number of risks. The so-called ‘data-centrism’ encourage the idea that whatever the problem, the answer lies in data. But numbers do not always reveal the whole truth and they can be manipulated and skewed to tell a particular story. By concentrating on data alone, we also ignore the fact that our society can thrive on more disordered mechanisms such as negotiation and debate. Although data can help us understand the world in important new ways, it must always leave room for subjectivity and ambiguity.