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.
Credit: NATS Air Traffic Data Visualisation UK
1. 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.
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.
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.
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.