5 World Changing Data Visualisations

The world is generating data like never before. Every aspect of life is being measured and monitored. Yet turning all this raw information into meaningful insight takes more than just computers. It takes individuals with the imagination and creativity to present dry information in a fresh way which grabs the attention.

These 5 stunning data visualisations demonstrate how raw information can be transformed into engaging art with the power to educate, inform and affect positive change.

NATS Air Traffic Data Visualisation UK
Credit: NATS Air Traffic Data Visualisation UK

1. I Agree - Dima Yarovinsky.

I Agree - Dima Yarovinsky

How large tech companies take and use personal data is one of the most pressing issues of our time. In this infographic-cum-artwork, designer Dima Yarovinsky points out the ludicrous nature of social media companies’ user agreements. Printed on coloured paper, the reams of small text from companies like Facebook, Tinder and Snapchat roll down the walls and onto the floor of the gallery.

At the end of each user agreement is a word count and estimated reading time.

The worst culprit? Instagram at 86 minutes of reading time. In one very simple visual representation, Yarovinsky calls out the questionable legal practices of some of the world’s biggest dealers in data.

2. Old World Language Tree - Minna Sundberg.

Language Tree Diagram - Minna Sundberg

In a world which often likes to divide itself down lines of nationality and ethnicity, illustrator Minna Sundberg shows us how we are all connected through language. Her ‘language tree’ uses research data from Ethnologue to plot the roots of language and, through the size of the leaves, the number of native speakers.

This stunning old-world illustration demonstrates how the huge variations in languages across the globe, can be traced back to just a few common roots of communication shared by us all.

3. 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes - Hans Rosling.

Hans Rosling Global Development Stats

In this short section from a BBC Four documentary, data expert Hans Rosling takes us on a whistle-stop tour of 200 years of global development.

This is big data at its very biggest.

Using over 120,000 data points you can watch the rise of the developed world since 1810 as it launches into prosperity and leaves many developing nations lagging.

Watch out for the sudden slump in global life expectancy as the first world war and spanish flu epidemic takes out a generation. A chilling reminder that our current era of growing global health and prosperity should never be taken for granted.

4. 40 Fragile Cities - Robert Muggah.


Robert Muggah set out to find which global cities are the most fragile, or likely to become violent and unsafe. He combed through data on 2100 world cities to find the factors which caused urban instability. While most of the risks of high income inequality, natural disasters and population growth existed in the developing world, Muggah’s infographic on 40 ‘high-risk’ cities emphasises that the developed world far from exempt.

Both London and New York make his shortlist due to their risk of flooding and cyclones respectively.

A reminder - if one was needed - that global climate change presents one of the gravest risks to citizens all across the world.

5. 24 Hours of Aircraft Traffic - NATS.

NATS Air Traffic Data Visualisation

We all know that our skies are getting increasingly crowded, but this stunning visualisation from air traffic control data shows every single flight in Europe over just a single day.

It’s an eye-opening insight into our modern love for air travel.

It is also testament to the massive task of coordinating air traffic between some of the world’ busiest airports.

Every plane on screen represents a collection of human lives in the hands of pilots, airport staff and air traffic control systems working across seamlessly across time zones and national borders.

As data takes over the modern world, we are always on the look out for amazing and creative forms of data visualisation. Got a suggestion? Post it in the comments below.


 Welcome to Sensorama - a blog to tickle the senses.


This blog is dedicated to curiously exploring the world via the 5 senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.
Our perception of reality is determined by our own senses - and there are millions of sensory experiences out there for us to explore. Join sensorama bloggers Macs and Oliver as we take you on an extraordinary tour of the world all around us through sensory science, experiences, stories and sensations.


Via Sight : Beautiful faces, amazing colours, hidden lights spectrums, optical illusions, incredible animals and emotive art - our ability to see is central to nearly every part of our everyday lives. Yet how often do we stop and take a fresh look at the world? At Sensorama we take a second glance at the everyday, the unusual and the at times invisible.

Via Sound : Hearing is the key to communication and how we interact. Like a heartbeat, it is also highly personal. From thrash metal to choral hymns which make the heart soar - what we love to listen to can determine our mood, emotional state, and sense of identity. At Sensorama we take a in depth listen to the beats of life.  

Via Smell : Smell is the sense that much of the animal kingdom relies on to find food, sense danger or attract a mate. It is the sense which can evoke a long distant memory and silently affect our perceptions and behaviours. At Sensorama we pay attention to what’s right under our nose.  

Via Taste : What some cultures find delicious, others find repulsive. Taste is so often a matter of, well, taste. Starting as an evolutionary way to avoid poisoning, we have mastered the sense of taste to tickle some of the strongest pleasure centres of our brains. At Sensorama we search out the tantalizing and delicious.


Via Touch : Touch can be anything from comforting to terrifying and take us anywhere from excruciating pain to heightened ecstasy. As humans, we feel everything but so rarely pay attention to what our bodies are telling us. At Sensorama we get hands on with all the textures of the world.

Want to contribute to Sensorama?
We are open to suggestions including any new London experiences to try.


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