Thursday, 20 September 2012

Infographic #3 - an alternative visualisation of Infographic #2

Early on when I was looking at the pharmaceutical data that I used for my first two infographics, I knew I wanted to create some sort of network diagram. I realised early on though that Illustrator wouldn't cut it, and that there was a distinct lack of software that was free, relatively easy to learn, and fit for purpose. Had I have known about NodeXL during that period, the final infographic would have looked very different. In the space of two hours, I created a network diagram! I was so amazed! Its an open-source Excel template created by the Social Media Research Foundation, and it took me no more than about half an hour to work out how to use it. The network diagrams are customisable and you can alter colours, sizes, fonts, layout, and most things. There are a couple of drawbacks of course: I couldn't seem to add a legend (so added this in Paint), and also I couldn't label every vertex otherwise it would have been too crowded (though this is a drawback of network diagrams, not of NodeXL). I do think this infographic does a better job of conveying the inter-connectedness of conditions between the medications, whereas #2 I think shows more the sheer variety of conditions that are possible side-effects. What do you think?

Friday, 14 September 2012

Data viz of the day #2

Its been too long since my last post, and I can only blame a mixture of busyness and lack of inspiration. I think its only a matter of time before you cease to be awestruck by new emergences in a particular field of interest, and I have to confess that I have unknowingly developed a British sense of cynicism towards a lot of new data visualistations I've seen in the last few months. Maybe its saturation, maybe its lack of innovation in the field, who knows. The point is, I finally saw something today which really took my breath away. Its actually a series of visualisations by a Brazilian fellow called Icaro Doria who works for the Portuguese magazine Grande Reportagem. Essentially, Icaro has used data about each country to allocate data points to a coloured element within a flag to illustrate a particular variable, be it country exports or genital mutilation. The facts have been well chosen to really give a fascinating insight into the economic, political, social, and health situations in each country. Anyway, I beg you to take a look, these are phenomenal and such a great example of the power of visualisation to communicate data.