Neat ways to present data

Written November 8. 2004, at 22:31 GMT.

Simple, usable, informative tool/toy, Zipdecode is an interactive map with all USA zip-codes marked as dots that highlight as you type in more digits. Unsurprisingly, it somewhat resembles a night-time photograph of earth shot from space.

Cartography is also neat: Maps and cartograms of 2004 US presidential election results, by Michael Gastner, Cosma Shalizi, and Mark Newman. I particularily like the cartogram where they project three sets of data - county location, county population and election outcome - onto a single 2D map. Pretty. Nifty:

Cartogram of the 2004 U.S. presidential election results

Another thing that has facinated me lately is Edward Tufte's 'sparklines'. Tufte's idea is that simple grahpic representions of data could be scaled down and integrated into text almost as ordinary words - or "graphwords" if you will - to increase the information density of the writing and add all sorts of exiting new possibilities to the art of writing. Here's a solo example of a sparkline:

An example sparkline: 'Glucose 128'

Reading the sparkline discussion on Tufte's site, led me to this Flash demo of Jef Rakin's "Zoom Interface" which is a part of his project to create a "Humane [software] Environment", both of which are described in his classic book "The Humane Interface".


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