Book of hand-painted ski maps

When you go skiing or snowboarding, you get a map of the mountain that shows the terrain and where you can go. James Niehues is the man behind many of these hand-painted ski maps around the world, and he has a kickstarter to catalog his life’s work. This is kind of amazing. I went skiing a lot as a kid, and I have distinct memories of these maps. I would...

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Inflated counts for cleared rape cases

Newsy, Reveal and ProPublica look into rape cases in the U.S. and law enforcement’s use of exceptional clearance. The designation allows police to clear cases when they have enough evidence to make an arrest and know who and where the suspect is, but can’t make an arrest for reasons outside their control. Experts say it’s supposed to be used sparingly. Culled data from various police departments shows the designation is...

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Where Camp fire destroyed homes

The Camp fire death toll rose to 63 and 631 missing as of yesterday. The Los Angeles Times provides some graphics showing scale and the buildings that burned. Ugh. I live a few hundred miles away and the smoke is bad enough that my son’s school is closed today. It has not been a good year for California in terms of wildfires. Tags: Los Angeles Times, wildfire

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✚ Uses for Animation in Charts and Animating Your Own Data

Important question: Is animation in visualization even worthwhile? Well, it depends. Surprise, surprise. In this issue, I look at animation in data visualization, its uses, and how I like to think about it when I implement moving data. Read More

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The Crime Machine

I’m behind on my podcast listening (well, behind in everything tbh), but Reply All covered the flaws of CompStat, a data system originally employed by the NYPD to track crime and hold officers accountable: But some of these chiefs started to figure out, wait a minute, the person who’s in charge of actually keeping track of the crime in my neighborhood is me. And so if they couldn’t make crime...

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Finding a house to buy, using statistics

Atma Mani, a geospatial engineer for ESRI, imagined shopping for a house with data, maps, and analysis. Basically, a personalized recommendation system: The type of recommendation engine built in this study is called ‘content based filtering’ as it uses just the intrinsic and spatial features engineered for prediction. For this type of recommendation to work, we need a really large training set. In reality nobody can generate such a large...

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Street names as a proxy for history and culture

From Streetscapes by Zeit: Street names are stories of life. They tell us something about how the people in a given place work and live, what they believe in and their dreams. There are more than a million streets and squares in Germany. ZEIT ONLINE has compiled a database of the roughly 450,000 different names used. Some street names are used hundreds of times and others only once. But none...

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Visualization research for non-researchers

Reading visualization research papers can often feel like a slog. As a necessity, there’s usually a lot of jargon, references to William Cleveland and Robert McGill, and sometimes perception studies that lack a bit of rigor. So for practitioners or people generally interested in data communication, worthwhile research falls into a “read later” folder never to be seen again. Multiple Views, started by visualization researchers Jessica Hullman, Danielle Szafir, Robert...

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✚ How I Made That: Animated Difference Charts in R

A combination of a bivariate area chart, animation, and a population pyramid, with a sprinkling of detail and annotation. Read More

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A collection of Charles-Joseph Minard’s statistical graphics

Charles-Joseph Minard, best known for a graphic he made (during retirement, one year before his death) showing Napoleon’s March, made many statistical graphics over his career. The Minard System from Sandra Rendgen is a collection of these works. The first section is background on Minard, his famed graphic, and his process, but really, you get it for the collection of vintage graphic goodness. [Amazon link] Tags: book, Charles-Joseph Minard

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