This semester, I taught a master course on information visualization at HfK Bremen. It was quite fun and I think I was able improve a bit on the teaching side compared to the first full course I taught two years ago.
The topic was “Weltbilder” — “World views” which has become sort of a theme for my work lately. Here are the introductory slides and reference projects:
The course took place on 8 full days over the course of four weeks in February and March 2013. Overall, I had more than 20 students in the course (although some were only listening in without handing in a final project). The first few sessions were partly filled with me teaching basic craftmanship (slides—30MB) and establishing context, while the students gave presentations on some of my favorite scientific papers and articles (dropbox) and practitioners (such as Nathalie Miebach, Stefanie Posavec, Density Design, Santiago Ortiz, Nicholas Felton, Periscopic, Stamen, Ben Fry, Martin Wattenberg & Fernanda Viegas and the NYT graphics desk). We also had a few practical exercises on drawing family trees and fixing broken charts.
The second half of the course was much concerned with the student’s projects, and I did mostly 1:1 consultations. You can find a few of the final projects here. I like how the course results reflect the diversity of the students themselves — we had artists, computer scientists, journalists, people from humanities — quite a mixed bunch. Overall, I am quite happy with how things worked out and hope I could excite a few of my students to keep doing things in this field :)
Here are two of my favorite projects:
but in sum, they were all pretty nice in one way or the other :) Here’s the gallery
Together with Lutz Bornmann, Rüdiger Mutz and Felix de Moya Anegon, I have been looking into which institutions (universities or research-focused institutions) are most active in different subject areas of science and which have published the most excellent papers. Based on my colleagues data analysis, we produced a small web application which allows to browse and explore the data set. The application is password protected, so you will need to end an email to password-request at excellencemapping.net to request access.
As you know, I was never too fond of awards — until I won two of them in one night :)
We just finished the documentation for emoto – a data art project visualising the online response to the Olympics London 2012.
In many ways, the crowning piece of the project, and a conceptual counterpoint to the ephemeral web activities, our data sculpture preserved the more than 12 million tweets we collected in physical form. We had 17 plates CNC-milled — one for each day of the games — with a relief heatmap indicating the emotional highs and lows of each day. Overlay projections highlighted individual stories, and visitors could scroll through the most retweeted tweets per hour for each story using a control knob.
The tweets and topics displayed in the installation can also be investigated in interactive heatmaps. Rollover the rows to see a tooltip display of the most retweeted tweet on the given topic at the respective point in time.
Find a brief documentation at moritz.stefaner.eu/projects/emoto/
or read more on the project here:
Article and interview on Creators Project
Data Stories podcast episode #11 with Stephan Thiel on emoto
A true mamooth project has finally launched: emoto.
Together with a huge team around Drew Hemment and Studio NAND, and a partnership with MIT Senseable City Lab, we aim at visualising the online reponse to the Olympic Games for the London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad in the Northwest.
Basically, the idea is to track Twitter messages for content (which topics, disciplines, athletes etc they refer) to and emotional tone (are they cheering, swearing, being indifferent) and make that info available real-time on http://emoto2012.org, as a supplement or even alternative to traditional ways of consuming the Games coverage.
Our goal is to reveal both the big picture as well as the little anecdotes that make up the big, big stream of messages.
After the games, we will turn the collected tweets into an actual physical object, to archive these ephemeral little “things flying by” forever.
And during the games, we are posting insights and in-depth analyses (here is a first post on the Opening Ceremony), so there is also a little data journalistic angle to the whole package.
I have to say, this is probably one of the most ambitious projects I have worked on this far, and despite some small rocks encountered along the way, I am really happy how it turned out.. I hope you like it, too!
I am happy to announce my most out-there infovis related activity this year: The open data cooking workshop. Organized together with Prozessagenten and Miska Knapek, we will invite 15 participants to explore the data-expressive qualities of food together. Our idea is to cook food with local ingredients that represents local (open) data about the region where the workshop is. If you think about it, there are some many ways food can be used to express data: 2d painting/drawing, 3d sculpture, taste dimensions, texture, all the cultural connotations (potato vs. caviar), preparation processes and variables (e.g. automated oven temperature regulation), presentation, … The possibilities are endless!
Finally, at least some documentation for the “Global Trade Flows” project I completed last year for citibank. Unfortunately, I cannot publish the full interactive tool, but I hope the screenshots are informative enough.
For the third year in a row, I was responsible for a good deal of the graphics in the annual Global Risk Report published by the World Economic Forum. For the report, hundreds of experts take part in a survey on their perception of what they consider the most important global risk and their inter–dependency.
The “crystal” network diagram sheds light on the “Centers of Gravity” (systemically most important risks) in each category (Economic, Environmetal, Societal, Geopolitical, and Technological Risks) and the risks strongest connected to these. The network was layed out in d3.js, using force-directed layout and a “magnetic” grid for regular spacing and to avoid overlaps. The centers of gravity and the 4 most important connectors were fixated manually in this process, to enforce the “crystal” structure. This rough layout was then imported into Illustrator and refined and tweaked by hand. There is also a version which shows a cloud of all risks in the background, but I think this one obscures the conceptual/diagrammatic nature of the original, so personally, I prefer the cleaner version.
The same interconnectivity information can be explored in an “orbit” visualization that plays a bit on the gravity theme established in the survey. Clicking a risk will put it into the center and show how strongly the other risks are connected by how close or far away they are located — a very simple, but quite effective and clean approach to network visualization, by getting rid of the lines altogether and just working with size and distance to express connectivity.
Last, but not least, we have a simple cartesian plot arranging the risks by impact and likelihood. As we gathered some information on the respondents’ region of residence and their stakeholder group, you can explore how, for instance, Asian experts’ perception on economic issues differs from the rest of the respondents.