Seeing Data

Geo-tweets and population density

Chris McDowall Dec 13, 2010

A few weeks back I animated 24 hours of Twitter data, mapping every tweet with geographic coordinates. I found it interesting to observe not only where geo-tweets occurred but also where they were absent. The video below tentatively explores the relationship between population density and where people are tweeting. This animation begins with a view focused on Wellington, New … Read More

Sienna Latham on Alchemy, Women and Data Visualisation

Chris McDowall Nov 10, 2010

This evening’s post is a guest contribution from my wife, Sienna Latham. She writes below about the role of data visualisation in her historical research. — I recently submitted my master’s thesis on English women’s chymical activities during the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603), exploring the intersecting histories of science, medicine, magic, women and religion. ‘Chymistry’ is a composite term … Read More

The Zen of Open Data

Chris McDowall Oct 12, 2010

This morning I was writing code in a programming language called Python. I hit a sticky problem and turned to an arcane feature of the language known as the “The Zen of Python” for guidance. There I read the words, “In the face of ambiguity, refuse the temptation to guess,” and I was enlightened. Open data has been … Read More

Friday morning video — Touchable Holograms

Chris McDowall Oct 08, 2010

My jaw dropped when I saw this video of researchers at Tokyo University creating holographic images that “feel” like physical objects. The technology uses ultrasonic waves to create a sensation of pressure on the hands of people interacting with the hologram. When inaudible sound waves emitted by a set of ultrasonic transducers interfere, they can create a focal point … Read More

Friday morning video – Journalism In The Age of Data

Chris McDowall Oct 01, 2010

If you are at all interested in data visualisation, please find 50 minutes to watch this excellent feature by Geoff McGhee. Journalism in the Age of Data explores how programmers, designers and journalists are creating visualisations to understand datasets, tell stories and encourage curiosity. There are great interviews and intriguing examples throughout. Highly recommended. [vimeo width=”651″ height=”366″][/vimeo] … Read More

So what is an API and why does it matter that Trade Me just released one?

Chris McDowall Sep 30, 2010

This afternoon Trade Me announced the release of their developer application programming interface (API). This is really cool news … but why? An API is a set of programming instructions and standards that enable different software applications to interact. Hmmm …. that’s the sort of description that probably only makes sense to people who already … Read More