Visualizing the Future of Health Care

Posted: August 15th, 2015

Artist Adam Simpson worked with technologists and journalists to capture and visualize the future of health care. The result is more art than data presentation of infographic, but it is still interesting and worthwhile exploring:

The Joy of Stats

Posted: December 24th, 2014

Hans Rosling shows in this augmented reality (AR) animation how 200 countries have developed over 200 years in regards to income and health/lifespan. He visualizes 120,000 numbers in just four minutes. This video can be found on YouTube and was posted by the BBC. While a plain table or chart could have displayed the same information, the AR animation is persuasive and a good example of data visualization.

Watch the video here:

Gephi – The Open Graph Viz Platform

Posted: October 26th, 2014

According to the Gephi Website, this free open-source graph software is an interactive visualization and exploration platform for all kinds of networks and complex systems, dynamic and hierarchical graphs that runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.


  • Exploratory Data Analysis: intuition-oriented analysis by networks manipulations in real time.
  • Link Analysis: revealing the underlying structures of associations between objects, in particular in scale-free networks.
  • Social Network Analysis: easy creation of social data connectors to map community organizations and small-world networks.
  • Biological Network analysis: representing patterns of biological data.
  • Poster creation: scientific work promotion with hi-quality printable maps.

While the Website shows several examples, I would be curious if someone has used it for more advanced visualization tasks. Please comment below.

New York Times about Nicholas Felton

Posted: August 24th, 2014

The technology section of the New York Times shows a video titled “Nicholas Felton: A Quantified Life” describing Nicholas Felton’s obsession with data. Fast Company named him one of the 50 most influential designers in America in 2011. Felton is an information designer who used to work at Facebook and has tracked almost every aspect of his life. While somewhat disturbing he makes a good point that, for instance, our grocery stores know more about our habits than we know ourselves. See the blog post “A Life in Data: Nicholas Felton’s Self-Surveillance” to learn more about his methods and visualizations.

Diagrams and Maps by John Grimwade

Posted: June 29th, 2014

John Grimwade is not only the graphics director at Conde Naste Traveler magazine, but runs his own infographic business. He shares on his Website his impressive collection of maps, diagrams and icons. They are clearly superior infographics worth analyzing because of their information content as well as for learning how to communicate complex content using visuals.

Why do type foundries invent new fonts?

Posted: June 21st, 2014

Steven Heller writes in the The Atlantic about type foundries and their desire to come up with new fonts. It is a fun piece to read with the memorable quote: “‘Why do we need new music, new cars, new clothes?’ In fact, type has become part of today’s digital and cultural consumerism. A fashion analogy works here. ‘Let’s be honest: You buy the Prada suit because the model looks so good in it,’ Roat says. ‘We try to make beautiful things with our fonts for the same reason.’”

Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science Competition

Posted: February 25th, 2014

This post is not about a cool visualization, but about a call for explaining science combined, potentially, with a visualization. A recent New York Times article by Claudia Dreifus reported about the actor and writer Alan Alda whose mission is to help scientists to communicate to a wider audience. His organization started a contest for scientists to trigger their thinking: “Tell us what a flame is in a way that an 11-year-old can understand. The point was to challenge scientists to explain something difficult in words that were both easy to understand and accurate.” When they started, they received already 6,000 entries, now they are up to 20,000. If you want to participate this year, you need to explain to an 11-year old “What is color?” The deadline is March 1, 2014. The rules for the contest state that “entries can be submitted in writing, as videos, or as graphics. This year, the contest has two categories– Written and Visual – and entries will be judged within their category.” So get your thinking started with that 11-year old in your mind!

Examining the Latest MOOC Trend

Posted: January 14th, 2014

Allison Morris shows on an impressive infographic called “The Minds Behind The MOOCs.” I like the consistency in color and style. Allison Morris is currently finishing up her communications degree and spending her free time getting real world experience by helping out and contributing to Check it out:

Timeline Chart

Posted: October 19th, 2013

Recent history is usually boring and nobody wants to read long reports or complicated lists of events. Intrigued by an idea from Dr. Lynn Johnson, I have recently created a timeline graphic with my wife, Gisela, showcasing the last decade of accomplishments and setbacks in the information technology arena at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. The challenge was to keep the text short, but make it comprehensive enough so that non-experts can understand it (Figure 1).
Click for larger version
Figure 1: SDM Information Technology Timeline 2013 (click in the picture for a larger version)

Dental Sealants Data Visualization

Posted: September 22nd, 2013

As I am professionally interested in all dental topics, I was intrigued by the Pew‘s infographic which shows that most states lag on dental sealants. The data are based on a recent report which is part of Pew’s work on children’s dental policy. The goal of this work “is to promote cost-effective policies to expand access to dental care and ensure millions more children receive the basic care they need to grow, learn, and lead healthy lives.” (source: Pew).
While, I find some of the visual icons a bit childish, like the pig for saving money, the infographic itself is a powerful tool to showcase our shortcomings in adopting evidence-based dentistry in private practice–the focus of my own research. Check out the infographic here.