The Beauty in Big Data

June 29, 2013
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Raw data is essentially worthless; only when smart algorithms analyse the data does it become valuable. Analysed data cannot only be valuable, it can also be extremely beautiful. Sometimes data gets explained with stunning visualizations. Visualizations you did not expect up front that contain a wealth of information that you had not expected. Sometimes, big data visualizations are like pure art.

Therefore, please find below some of the best big data visualizations I could find on the web.

Raw data is essentially worthless; only when smart algorithms analyse the data does it become valuable. Analysed data cannot only be valuable, it can also be extremely beautiful. Sometimes data gets explained with stunning visualizations. Visualizations you did not expect up front that contain a wealth of information that you had not expected. Sometimes, big data visualizations are like pure art.

Therefore, please find below some of the best big data visualizations I could find on the web. Of course there are many more available on the web and therefore we are developing a dedicated section with those striking big data visualizations.

The first visualization dates back from 2007 and was developed by Chris Harrison and Christoph Römhild, a Lutheran Pastor. They were able to elegantly show 63.779 cross references in the Bible. As Chris explains on his website: “The bar graph that runs along the bottom represents all of the chapters in the Bible. Books alternate in colour between white and light grey. The length of each bar denotes the number of verses in the chapter”.

data visualizations

 

The second visualization shows the flight patterns in the United States visualized in colour and form. The work was initially created as an experiment for the project “Celestial Mechanics” by Scott Hessels and Gabriel Dunne at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). FAA data was analysed and mapped using a Processing programming environment. The frames were composited with Adobe After Effects and/or Maya. Visit original project website here.

big data Flight Patterns

Aaron Koblin also managed to make an animation of the flight patterns, showing 24 hours of flight data in the USA:

The next visualization shows every known hurricane and tropical storm since 1851, developed by IDVSolutions. They were able to use the data from the NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The NOAA keep an archive of storm paths including wind speed, date, name of the storm, among other attributes, and they always have up-to-date information of events including historical evidence. Pay attention to the void circling the image, which is the equator.  Hurricanes can never ever cross the equator.

weather data visualized

Finally, the last visualization shows the patterns occurring in Oscar movies. It was developed by Pitch Interactive in 2007. The visualization shows the relationships between actors who have won Oscars, the directors they have worked with and all the other actors they have worked with. The Oscar winning actors are shown to the middle ring, the directors they had worked with in the centre ring and the other actors they have worked with in the most outer ring.

Patterns in Oscar movies - Pitch Interactive

These are just a few of the available big data visualizations that actually can be seen as art telling a story. So, if you enjoyed these and know more beautiful big data visualizations, please contact us and/or share this post so that others can enjoy this new form of art as well.