2012 In Data Visualizations

Data visualizations. Infographics. Maps. Information design. No matter how you call it, 2012 was the year data science and design started going steady.

1. From the big…

The Internet map is an attempt to look into the hidden structure of the network, fathom its colossal scale, and examine that which is impossible to understand from the bare figures of statistics.” The maps creators put it best.

2. …to the small.

For over a decade Stephen Wolfram has collected data about his emails, keystrokes, text editing, calendar, phone calls, and physical steps. In March he analyzed them to find both his “daily rhythms” of work and the development rate of ideas. The results are fascinating and beautiful.

3. With female superheros trending up…

Jer Thorp makes the history of The Avengers beautiful as he looks at mythology, characters and their creators. ( Part 1 & Part 2).

4. …and chances of getting a date in Middle Earth low.

Middle Earth stats, maps and trees have been accumulating all year on The LOTR Project, created by the ultimate fan Emil Johansson.

5. Facebook’s IPO required a log scale…

The New York Times compares the scale of Facebook’s IPO to other tech IPOs from 1980-2012 with this stepper visualization.

6. …extra salt when the Google bus splashes you at the N Judah stop?

The City from the Valley is yet another great project from Stamen capturing the flow of private tech company buses between San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

7. The Olympics offered an opportunity to count historical medals…

Explore how Olympic medals from summer sports have piled up over the years with Christian Gross’s interactive visualization.

8. …and obsess over current twitter counts.

During the Olympics emoto ran as a real-time visualization revealing the emotions and frequency of Twitter activity about the games. Created by Moritz Stefaner, Drew Hemment and Studio NAND emoto tracks Twitter for tweets on Olympic themes, then uses sentiment analysis on the text.

9. We watched the heartbreaking pulse of Sandy…

As Sandy descended on the east coast in October we couldn’t take out eyes off of hint.fm’s near realtime map of wind flow over the United States.

10. …and the price of cleanup.

As the population grows along the coast and extreme weather becomes more frequent John Tomanio at National Geographic plots the rising cost.

11. Surprisingly the Lakers bragged…

12. …with reason.

Hyperakt started with the World Cup 2010 but this was the year they expanded the style to a slew of new sports and many more fans.

13. By the time the election rolled around we had our senarios prepped…

14. …and alien life form calculations complete.

Fiddle with the Drake Equation to calculate the number of alien civilizations in the galaxy and universe. Built for BBC Future by Piero Zagami Graphic Design and Information is Beautiful.

15. Back on earth Obama captured the election…

Featured on The New York Times homepage this animation captured shifts in the pulse of the US electorate from 2004 to 2012.

16. …but Nate Silver owned the night

A spot on prediction of the electoral college breakdown meant Silver won the night, but the New York Times graphics department dominated the election season with beautiful maps, thoughtful analysis and clear and consistent graphs for Silver on FiveThirtyEight blog.

17. …while Romney shopped for a time machine to 1850.

BuzzFeed took a look at what the 2012 election would have looked like if population segments were restricted from voting. As diversity declines Obama’s base quickly crumbles.

18. Meanwhile the Blitz was mapped…

Bomb Sight, a simple and utterly engrossing map of the London WW2 bomb census.

19. …Raymond Carver united Judd Aptow, David Sedaris and James Franco…

Fred Benenson found a data source in My Ideal Bookshelf, exploring connections between contributors, genre types and page length.

20. … and Call Me Maybe played over and over and over again.

Upon discovering Infinite Jukebox an unnamed member of the BuzzFeed data team listened to Houston’s “Million Dollar Bill” on repeat. Thanks Paul Lamere and The Echo Nest!

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