I found this visualization of google news today. It’s great that you can go back in time, apply dynamic filters (by country, by topic), see many dimensions in the data (aging, relative coverage, actual headlines, news category), and it’s in real-time.
This reminds me of Map Of The Market, which is a real-time (well, 15-minute delated, of course) visualization of US stock market activity. Rectangle size shows market cap. and colors show % changes in stock price:
Both the News Map and Map of the Market are examples of Treemaps, a recently-concieved (as in 1990) data visualization techinque, originally designed for a map of files and directories on a hard disk (the question: what files are taking up the most space? or: how fragmented is my hard disk? both questions are becoming moot). I think Treemaps will become much nicer as computer display resolutions increase, but they’ve already proven useful in stories about data.
Of course, I see no reason to avoid Treemaps of more “subjective” data:
Does this not tell a story just as well? Of course, there are fewer dimensions to the data: the photograph shows an event, the size shows how much I like the photograph (which guides the story), the location gives a chronology to the story, and a rollover text box on each photo (which I didn’t do) might show the location, date, time. Clicking on the photo could reveal a larger version.
It’s an interesting editorial device that takes the democracy of size out of the typical web photo gallery. A future enhancement to any digital photo management software would make low-rated photos smaller and high-rated photos larger (the trouble, of course, is how do this while keeping them packed tightly enough on the screen). Meanwhile, I’m going to make all of my future photo galleries like this collage, with clickable images of course. I like the idea of selecting AND emphasizing what I present. I think it’s an important editorial device that can only strengthen the story. That is, it’s another way I can screw with your mind and how it thinks my vacation was.
Did I say Treemaps were invented in 1990? Maybe they were really invented in the data visualization of 19th-century French Salon paintings, which were arranged on the wall at the famous annual exhibition just as my photos are arranged above. Maybe it all goes back to Art in the end, after all..?