Seeing Data

Asteroid 2011 MD passes through the Earth’s GPS satellite network

Chris McDowall Jun 27, 2011

Tomorrow the ten metre wide Asteroid 2011 MD will pass within 12,000 km of Earth. How close is that? Well, it’s close enough that it will travel through the network of GPS satellites that circle the Earth. Pasquale Tricarico, a Research Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, has created a series of animations describing the event’s … Read More


Visualising the New Zealand Budget 2011 with Treemaps

Chris McDowall May 20, 2011

It is really difficult to grasp the significance of lots of big numbers. It is even trickier when the numbers are organised in a hierarchy. For example, yesterday afternoon Bill English, the Minister of Finance, delivered his third budget, outlining the nation’s revenues and expenses. The budget includes details such as how the government plans to spend $21 billion … Read More


Ring of Fire – Animated Map of World Earthquakes (Jan 1 – Mar 12, 2011 GMT)

Chris McDowall Mar 13, 2011

This video was made very quickly and could use some work. I post it here in case you find it interesting. I suggest you watch it full-screen, in high definition with scaling off. The animation depicts two and half months of 2011 USGS earthquake data. Blue circles represent deep seismic activity recordings (>= 40km deep). Red circles … Read More


New York subway system as a stringed instrument

Chris McDowall Feb 03, 2011

A short post to draw your attention to some lovely work by Alexander Chen. Conductor: pulls subway schedule data from New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and transforms it into dynamic musical animation. The end result is wonderful. Thanks to commenter Kate for sending me the link. Here’s Chen’s description of the work: “The piece … Read More

An animated map of Auckland’s public transport network

Chris McDowall Jan 20, 2011

I grew up in Auckland and spent many years using the city’s public transport system to get from place to place. While sitting on a bus, I sometimes wondered what the transportation network would look like if we could see the movements of the individual vehicles from the air. I would try to visualise the aggregate trajectories as each vehicle … Read More


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