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Folkert Gorter
Los Angeles, California
Immortal since Jan 16, 2007
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exploring the infinity of abstract possibility
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    From folkert's personal cargo

    Form follows data
    Example 01
    A numerical value is assigned to every letter of the alphabet. Adding the values of all letters, one gets a number that represents the overall word. Using this system, an entire poem is arranged on a circular path. The diameter of the circle is based on the length of the poem.





    Data visualizations are methods for creating images, diagrams, or animations to communicate specific messages—representational or absctract. These visualizations provide us with a way to understand a specific part of reality better, or at least see it in a different way.

    Essentially, you could see all of visible reality as a data visualization, which is the point of this post. If you come across an example of a nature-made or man-made data visualization like the ones below, please use the image uploader in the comments to share your visuals.



    Example 02
    Saliva-soaked soil particles as hard as concrete are accumulated by the collective activities of termites. Some of these mound-building technologies are being copied by humans for use in their own architecture, as in the case of the Eastgate Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe.

    Termite cathedral mounds in the Northern Territory of Australia




    Example 03
    The Earth is presented as a colored sphere where the landmasses are divided in a collection of tubes the height of which is determined by an algorithm using a data source feeding it information about the birthrate (or any other data) specific to that region to determine its size.




    Example 04
    Large urban agglomerations of human settlement: economical, political and cultural activity are made visual by way of a city's tall buildings and structures. The skyline is a direct visualization of the type of human occupation.

    Skyline of Hong Kong




    Example 05
    Like a skyline is a visualization of human activity, this type of data visualization, just like the termite mounds represents specific activity in time and (virtual) space.

    Social network analysis





    Other examples of human-made data visualizations include:



    "Global supply chain simulation" at eye-sys.com. Via VisualComplexity


    Visualization of personal music listening history by Lee Byron




    And some of nature's largest visualizations have striking similarities:

    Frozen crystals suspended in the atmosphere (clouds) are visibly arranged so that the entire cloud mass visualizes the atmospheric activity in a specific region, in this case a hurricane:



    A massive, gravitationally bound system of of gas, dust and dark matter is a visualization of the countless forces at work within galaxies.








    Tue, Oct 2, 2007  Permanent link
    Categories: nature, Data visualization
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    Comments:


    folkert     Sun, Oct 14, 2007  Permanent link
    Additional evidence of human activity: stacking and moving around of rocks, creation of pathways and the abundant construction of habitats.

    The patterns created by this activity are based partly on access to food and water, partly on the various highly complex economic systems that human communities employ to establish security, colony stability and cohesion, and partly on varying levels of aesthetic preferences regarding the immediate surroundings of the habitat, determined by factors like visual perception (fairly consistent species-wide), smell and sound levels, as well as the amount of monetary sacrifice necesary to secure the land, which in turn affects social status, etc.


    alborz     Thu, Nov 1, 2007  Permanent link
    Data visualization of the first 10 minutes of a film - rough cut.
    folkert     Fri, Nov 2, 2007  Permanent link
    Nice one!
    alborz     Mon, Dec 3, 2007  Permanent link

    You can download this cool utility called GrandPerspective that analyzes the contents of your harddrive and creates a visual representation of all the files according to their size. Then you can color code them in different ways. I have it color coded by file extensions. The big red ones are video files.
    lateral     Wed, Dec 12, 2007  Permanent link
    And that GrandPerspective generated treemap reminds me somewhat of the die of a modern CPU.

    For those interested in data visualization: Edward Tufte seems to be considered a guru within the field.
    cyb0     Sun, Dec 16, 2007  Permanent link
    That's very cool! Thanks for sharing!
    byte     Wed, Jan 2, 2008  Permanent link
    Yes, data visualization, I think, can be something as obvious as a skyline—I love that example, by the way—to something as peculiar as a galaxy. Raw data concept maps, graphs, and some mind-boggling visuals you put together are more abstract than anything else but can still give us an idea of the data itself.
    datadreamer     Wed, Jan 2, 2008  Permanent link
    When I view the examples above, I think of data visualization as a product of emergent behavior (an idea introduced by Suguru Ishizaki). It reminds me of flying over agricultural areas and seeing the textured effect of different types of crops and irrigation:



    This can also be seen in computational visualization projects such as "Enter, Mark, Spend!" by Sean Patrick Dockray:



    and of course "Flight Patterns" by Aaron Koblin:





    To expand on lateral's suggestion of Edward Tufte, I'd also recommend looking into William Playfair, Jacques Bertin, and Ben Fry.
    bpwnes     Tue, Jan 8, 2008  Permanent link
    Human Trafficking: Import & Export of People Worldwide
    Rourke     Thu, Jan 10, 2008  Permanent link


    These are a little different to the examples here, but still represent a unique, visual way to re-organise 'standard' data...



    Both images are somatotopic representations of the human homunculus, also known as Cortical Homunculi
    wilfriedhoujebek     Sun, Jan 13, 2008  Permanent link
    Hey I am digging the Termite hill even though I am not sure if it really belongs here. The hexgon of the honeycomg for instance is hexagonal because it is the most optimal way to fill space and I wonder if such a cause is true for the termite hill as well. Anyway here is a nice pic of ants finding their way along the pheremone trail.
    datadreamer     Sun, Jan 13, 2008  Permanent link
    Here's another nice pic of ants finding their way along the pheremone trail (also done by sean patrick dockray):

    Rourke     Tue, Jan 15, 2008  Permanent link
    How about 'every' noun in the English language visualised for the pleasure of your retina:


    We present a visualization of all the nouns in the English language arranged by semantic meaning. Each of the tiles in the mosaic is an arithmetic average of images relating to one of 53,463 nouns. The images for each word were obtained using Google's Image Search and other engines. A total of 7,527,697 images were used, each tile being the average of 140 images. The average reveals the dominant visual characteristics of each word. For some, the average turns out to be a recognizable image; for others the average is a colored blob. The list of nouns was obtained from Wordnet, a database compiled by lexicographers which records the semantic relationship between words. Using this database, we extract a tree-structured semantic hierarchy which we use to arrange tiles within the poster. We tessellate the poster using the hierarchy so that the proximity of two tiles is given by their semantic distance. Thus the poster explores the relationship between visual and semantic similarity. For a large part of our language the two are closely correlated as shown by the extent of visual clustering within the poster. The large-scale groupings correspond to broad categories such as plants or people. Within the plant cluster, for example, tighter semantic groupings are visible such as flowers or trees. In turn each of these clusters contains further groupings all the way down to individual, highly specific nouns. The averaging within each tile removes the variation between images of a given word, enhancing the similarly between neighbors. By clicking on top of the map, you will see the word corresponding to that location, the average image and the first 16 images returned by the image search online tools. - link
    bpwnes     Sat, Jun 14, 2008  Permanent link
    World map
    Web Designer's Color Palatte
    Robokku     Sun, Jan 11, 2009  Permanent link
    Thought I'd dig up this nice old post when I found this.

    This image shows the fold lines of an origami visualisation of internet penetration in 13 countries. I think it's more interesting than the folded model. What information reaches the flat paper square, and how much of it is readable?

    Olena     Mon, Aug 24, 2009  Permanent link
    All of the data visualizations were amazing, but what struck me most was your example of natural DV's, like the hurricane. The fact that nature itself acts as a "data analyzer / graphic designer" ... certainly something interesting to think about.

    Thanks.
    Mariana Soffer     Wed, Mar 3, 2010  Permanent link

    Very interesting post, I loved the first example, is great. I am an admirer of visualization and also a searcher of some that feet perfectly well in the projects I work. I do NLP, including Analyzing text, and currently Opinion Mining.
    I wanted to share with you one amazing old visualization I found long time ago which also refers to texts you can play it here, it is interactive you need to see how things work. It represents the words in the texts that are separated by the average distance calculated among the words, and the path that follows the sentences trough this visual graph taking a particular shape.
    amzamz     Thu, Mar 4, 2010  Permanent link
    Before computers were available, other ways of data representations were used. The example above is 150 years old. It represents optical spectra of chemical elements obtained experimentally by Bunsen and Kirchhoff. They actually discovered 2 new elements by this method in 1860 and 1861. The light is spread by a glass prism.

    The picture below shows a 2d representation of a mathematical function by capillary force. The distance between the glass plates varies from left to right, and defines the height by which water is raising between the plates. Published by Newton and pictured 1747 by Gravesande.
    MonseigneurBienvenu     Sat, Mar 6, 2010  Permanent link
    Data visualization is an extremely interesting and important tool. To me the one of the most fascinating parts of it are the visualizations in our minds and the way in which people think. There seems to be a very neat variety there - thinking as words, 'photographically', in pictures, in colours, in entire abstractions. I wonder if they are different, or just sub-sets, or optimizations. I am going to explore the topic in more detail over the coming year, which will be fun.

    Thank you for sharing all of this with us.

    Ana
    amzamz     Sat, Mar 13, 2010  Permanent link
    this nice graphic is showing relationship between all science, engineering and humanities.

    another website
    gives a higher resoution.

     
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