Datavizualisation : The Week In Data

This article is coming from OWNI : link

Thinking of moving abroad or going on vacation in 2012? This Google Maps powered map might be of help. Created by the site Numbeo, which compiles tonnes of data on daily life in different countries and cities worldwide, it provides the user an insight into which are the most expensive and cheapest places in the world according to a range of criteria: price of consumer products (including or excluding VAT), grocery prices, index of purchasing power, rent, restaurant prices etc.

Set up by a former Google employee, the site contains a wealth of interesting data beyond just prices, in areas like pollution, traffic and crime. Forbes and ABC have already used the site as a reference a number of times.

The data seems to be collected by crowdsourcing. All the site lacks (aside from a quick redesign) is an expert verification of the data. Because, as the site itself explains:

Please be advised that nothing found here has necessarily been reviewed by people with the expertise required to provide you with complete, accurate or reliable information. That is not to say that you will not find valuable and accurate information in; much of the time you will. However, Numbeo cannot guarantee the validity of the information found here.

From Paris with data

This map of Parisian film locations between 2002 and 2008 is a fun initiative. We’ll admit we spent more time than we should have checking out what films have been shot near our building. Given that the city of Paris pocketed €650,000 in 2008 alone from film productions, it’s an area that’s worth investigating further. French newspaper Le Figaro even created a Monopoly board displaying the most expensive spots to shoot in the capital.

The Trop Space (Too Much Space) project create maps looking at inequality in Paris. Taking solid and precise data as their source, they lay out where the rich, the poor and those in between live in the capital in a simple and effective manner.

The Trop Space site also introduced us to the work of graphic designer Cameron Booth, who created this map which visualizes the US highway system in the style of a metro map.

Some more work to be found on the border between cartography and art is that of Matthew Cusick, who creates his pictures by cutting and pasting together pieces of maps. We found them beautiful and surprising.

Climbing the property ladder

The real estate site Trulia (whose House Hunting app we told you about previously) are mapping the United States according to the most popular locations for potential home-owners since 2006. Their pretty phenomenal interactive timeline visualizes both the huge growth in people looking for homes, and the considerable attractiveness of the eastern US for potential home-owners.


No less that three New York Times links came across our path in the last few days, going to show just how far ahead of the rest they are when it comes to data journalism. Nowadays #ddj has become an integral part of their work. Three links illustrate this idea:

First, their regular reuse of data journalism applications that they have already developed, such as the crowdsourcing tool used here to investigate the mood of readers with regards to how best to resolve the debt crisis. The Times had already used this tool to gauge reaction to the death of bin Laden.

Another example is the development of web applications that fall somewhere between ’serious game‘ and participatory. While the Pentagon has agreed to cut $450 million from its budget over the next ten years, the NYT gave its readers the chance to design their own austerity plan, choosing from the most common, interesting or challenging proposals put forward by a variety of groups.

It’s reminiscent of the application developed by the Plateau Mont-Royal district in Montreal that encouraged locals to figure out a way to balance the community budget there.

Lastly, their coverage of the 2012 US elections, and the current race for the Republican nomination, is full of small applications of particular relevance. The latest to catch our eye is Anatomy of a Stump Speech.

The application provides a stump speech delivered by four candidates: Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. The video of the speech is available on the left of the screen, the transcript appears on the right. A small blue bubble indicates that this passage has notes to go with it. On clicking, a box appears that offers some context and more specific explanations, checks the facts mentioned by the candidates, and identifies some recurring oratorial techniques.

The Shape of Nations

Worldshapin is a web application that offers an innovative visualization of some already available data sets. The indicators are actually from the 2011 Human Development Report produced by the United Nations in the fields of health, carbon footprint, equality at work, standard of living, demographics and education.

What’s orginal is the menu for selecting different indicators, countries and also the range of years over which the visualizations have been produced. Each interaction with the indicators produces a shape for the selected countries, allowing the user to compare countries in an easy and innovative way, even as the shapes are changing.

Have a great week everyone!


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