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Real-world Data Visualization Examples

Answering questions both trivial—“What time is brunch, exactly?”—and serious—“Just how sexist is Hollywood?”—these data visualization examples serve as sources for inspiration and learning.

Hundreds of Guardian blind dates

Each week, the Guardian fixes up two of its readers. Using R, one fan of the column scraped and analyzed the data from hundreds of post-date interviews. - Maëlle Salmon

Partisan Conflict and Congressional Outreach

This analysis of more than 200,000 press releases and Facebook posts from members of the 114th Congress quantifies how often legislators “go negative” in their outreach to the public. - Pew Research Center

How The Internet Talks

And by “Internet,” we mean mostly young, mostly male Reddit users. Search for a word or phrase and see how its popularity has changed over time—from late 2007 through the end of 2016. - FiveThirtyEight

The top weekend programming languages — based on GitHub’s activity

Which languages do people prefer to code in their spare time? - Felipe Hoffa

Quantifying and Visualizing “Deep Work”

In the zone. Heads down. Deep work. Whatever you call it, you know that feeling—when you’re intensely focused and everything just flows. One professor analyzed a year’s worth of these sessions. Productivity insights abound. - Enrico Bertini

Exploratory or Explanatory?

How one data visualization practitioner balances the art of storytelling with the desire to let folks discover insights on their own. - Questions in Dataviz

‘Duck Dynasty’ vs. ‘Modern Family’: 50 Maps of the U.S. Cultural Divide

America’s cultural divide looks very similar to its political divide. Explore the fissures and points of unity based on the popularity of 50 U.S. TV shows. - The Upshot

Star Wars, In One Chart

How does the most fearsome military force in the galaxy get whittled down from 6.8 million troops to 700k? This chart chronicles the casualties sustained by the Empire, from Rogue One to Return of the Jedi. - FiveThirtyEight

Got ticked off about Skittles posts, so I decided to make a proper analysis

We all have our favorite Skittles flavor (even if it happened to be replaced with Green Apple). But is the distribution of Skittles skewed toward a particular color? - Reddit user zonination

The Rhythm of Food

A downright stunning and delicious exploration of the seasonality and popularity of foods, from old favorites, like chili con carne, to obscure ones, like the humble gooseberry. Mouth watering yet? - Google News Lab and Truth & Beauty

EndorsementDB: Predicting the U.S. election without polls

By now, we know there are pitfalls to relying on opinion polls to predict elections. So what data might we use instead? This in-depth analysis presents congressional endorsements as another way to forecast results. - Data Driven Journalism

How the Circle Line rogue train was caught with data

When a series of signal interferences led to massive disruptions on a Singapore subway line, a team of data scientists stepped in to solve the mystery… with Python! - Data.gov.sg

Shift Your Point of View to When America Was “Better”

“Back in the good old days…” Were they so good? It all depends on when you are and your criteria for “better.” These charts let you select a year as a point of reference, and see how other years compare in terms of unemployment rate, minimum wage, and more. - FlowingData

Here’s What “24 hours” of Running in Boston Looks Like

Come for the beautiful video of runners’ paths unfurling through Boston, stay for the explanation of how it was made. Plus, there’s an interesting bit at the end: some thoughts on tackling the problem of sharing fun proprietary data without compromising user privacy.

Westworld in Data

Unravel the mysteries of Westworld through data visualization. - Mode

Visualizing Career Paths: Quantifying the evolution of individual scientific impact

Is a scientific career predictable? Not in the slightest. Turns out, it’s completely random which paper in a scientist’s career becomes the most successful one. - Northeastern University

The Gone Girl With The Dragon Tattoo On The Train

It feels like every other book on the bestseller list has “girl” in the title. But who are these girls? And why are there so many of them? - FiveThirtyEight

Every Trump/Clinton Photo used by the Top News Media Companies

“About one in 10 posts feature an image of the major-party nominees. Trump appears more than twice as often than Clinton. Whether the news media is biased or not as he claims, they certainly love using his mug.” - Polygraph

The David Spade Index: Which Actors Are Hated by Critics but Loved by Fans?

Turns out critics LOVE Seth Rogen. Who knew? - Priceonomics

The Data of the Chicago Marathon

Examine the numbers behind various aspects of marathon performance, including how to avoid hitting the wall, the best indicator of finish time, and how women are more disciplined runners than men. - Running with Data

Raising Barriers: A New Age of Walls, Episode 1

In a great example of interactive data journalism, explore how globalization has led to the explosive growth of barriers between countries. - Washington Post

The Simpsons by the Data

America’s favorite family has been around for 27 years, providing plenty of data to analyze. Find out who’s the most talkative side character in Springfield, if Homer was always the star, and how much longer the show’s ratings can last. - Todd Schneider

DataViz in the Movies

From chalkboards to 3D holograms, the next time you need some visualization inspiration check out how Hollywood’s best directors use data to tell stories. - Info We Trust

Kantar Information Is Beautiful Awards - Shortlist

The shortlist for the Kantar Information Is Beautiful Awards has been released, highlighting the best work in data visualization over the past year. Check out the nominees across six different categories, including data journalism, infographics, and interactive visualizations. - Kantar Information Is Beautiful Awards

This Map Shows Who Would Win The Election If It Were Held Today

Learn how media outlets use different styles of cartograms to visually represent the state of the race, and explore who the polls predict to win each state with this interactive visualization. - Time Magazine

The Reel Truth: Women Aren’t Seen or Heard

- The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media

Why the age of 40 is so important in Hollywood

You may have to rethink why certain actors are in the movies they're in. - Wonkblog

A Timeline of Earth’s Average Temperature

“When people say the climate has changed before, these are the kind of changes they’re talking about.” - xkcd

Visualizing Hundreds of My Favorite Songs on Spotify

A deep statistical dive into defining songs with attributes—such as tempo, energy, and valence. - Cuepoint

Incomes across the Distribution

This entry looks at the growth of disposable incomes over time. - Our World in Data

Swing states: how changes in the political landscape benefit Trump

The increasing polarization of the U.S. electorate has made old-fashioned election blowouts essentially impossible. This election cycle demonstrates how changing demographics leave only a few swing states up for grabs. - Guardian

Is urban cycling worth the risk?

We’ve all heard the horror stories about bicycle accidents on city streets. But if you take into account other dangers like heart disease and air pollution, choosing not to cycle may be far worse for your health. - Financial Times

Crime in Context

Trump says crime is up. Obama says it’s down. Most Americans believe crime is worse, but far fewer believe it’s worse where they live. So who’s right? The Marshall Project sliced 40 years of crime data from several angles to find out. The result is a great example of bringing together human perspectives and data to tell a compelling story. - The Marshall Project

Usain Bolt and the Fastest Men in the World Since 1896 – on the Same Track

The Olympics are over, but we wanted to squeeze in one last data viz from Rio before the long wait ‘til 2020. - New York Times

Visualizing Clusters of Clickbait Headlines Using Spark, Word2vec, and Plotly

Facebook recently announced they’ll limit exposure to articles with clickbait headlines in News Feed. Might heuristics and machine learning help separate the wheat from the chaff? - Max Woolf

Was There a Problem with the Rio Pool?

No, we’re not talking about the green water hullabaloo. This detailed data exploration covers a different issue: Was there a current in the Rio pool affecting swimmers’ speed? - SwimSwam

Old Olympians Ride Horses; Young Ones Do Flips

For each sport of the 2016 Games, I looked at the median age of the participants — overall, men and women — using data from athlete profile pages on the Rio 2016 website. - FiveThirtyEight

Text analysis of Trump’s tweets confirms he writes only the (angrier) Android half

This sentiment analysis of Donald Trump’s went viral went this week. Apparently, tweets from Trump’s Android account are more negative than those from his iPhone account, leading to the conclusion that the iPhone tweets are from Trump’s campaign staff, and the Android tweets are from The Donald himself. - Variance Explained

A Visual History of Which Countries Have Dominated the Summer Olympics

Just 10 countries — the United States, Australia and eight European nations — earned medals in the first modern Games, in Athens in 1896. More than 100 years later, in Rio, there were 87 medal-winning nations, from Algeria to Vietnam. - New York Times

Which Olympic Sport Is Hardest On Its Goalies?

Soccer and field hockey keepers have the “easiest” jobs, generally saving around 70 percent of shots. - FiveThirtyEight

How the U.S. Crushed the Competition in the Women’s Gymnastics Team Final

The American women’s gymnastics team won the gold with 184.897 points, an 8-point lead over second-best Russia. - New York Times

Michael Phelps vs. Himself

By charting all of Phelps’s individual race times since Sydney, we can see how his performance has changed over the last 16 years - New York Times

Star Trek Viz

Explore this network visualization of the entire Star Trek universe (except for Star Trek: Beyond). Filter by episode, movie, series, or character to see the bonds formed amongst the Starfleet crew. Live long and prosper, folks. - Datascope Analytics

Visualizing the Summer Games

It’s Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympics. If you’re ready to take a break from watching, check out this gallery of cool data viz about the games from the Tableau community. - Tableau

See What’s Really Going On In Your Company’s Slack With This New Visualization App

Ever wanted to visualize your team’s Slack communication? Startup Moovel built #teamchatviz to see if their goals for interdisciplinary, company-wide collaboration were playing out in Slack. It’s free and open-source. Try it out with your own Slack data. - Co.Design

How terrorism in the West compares to terrorism everywhere else

Since the beginning of 2015, the Middle East, Africa and Asia have seen nearly 50 times more deaths from terrorism than Europe and the Americas. - Washington Post

Most Common Family Types in America

54% percent of U.S. households fit the nuclear family model, but that other 46% leaves room for a lot of variety. Explore a diverse group of family structures in this visualization. - FlowingData

67 Years of Lego Sets

An analysis of how the color, size, and connectivity of Lego sets have changed over the years. - Mode

Analysis of 7 million Amazon reviews

Ever seen this message at the bottom of an Amazon review and raised an eyebrow?: 'I received this product for free or at a discount in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.' Sure, these folks claim to be impartial, but are they really? The data says no. - ReviewMeta

Musicmap

How are disco and post-punk music related? Where did dubstep even come from? This interactive network visualization traces the genealogy and history of popular music genres since 1880. Make sure to zoom in—there’s a lot to explore here. - Musicmap

Five Years of Drought

A stunning visual exploration of five year’s worth of data on U.S. drought—and a peek into the process of mapmaking. - Adventures in Mapping

Fatal Force: a database of police shootings in 2016

This database is based on news reports, public records, social media and other sources. - Washington Post

Theories of Everything, Mapped

For all you physics folks: a map of questions from the frontier of fundamental physics, weighted by their importance in advancing the field. For all you data viz folks: an interactive experience you can’t miss. - Quanta Magazine

Data Mining Reveals the Six Basic Emotional Arcs of Storytelling

Scientists at the Computational Story Lab performed sentiment analysis on over 1,700 English language works of fiction to identify the fundamental shapes stories can take. They also found out which of these arcs make for the most popular narratives. - MIT Technology Review

The Police Are Killing People As Often As They Were Before Ferguson

Alton Sterling's and Philando Castile's deaths have driven renewed attention to the more than 1,000 people killed each year by police officers. - FiveThirtyEight

Is it brunch time?

One man’s quest to discover 'the exact time of day in which brunch maximally occurs' using Twitter data. Bonus for you Python users out there: this analysis includes some beautiful charts made with pandas and matplotlib. - The Startup

Fallout From Britain’s Exit: Markets, Immigration and Trade

Investors, policy makers and countries face a messy breakup with vast financial, economic and political implications. - New York Times

EU referendum results

Last week U.K. citizens voted to leave the European Union, and the fallout was massive: Prime Minister David Cameron resigned and markets dropped worldwide. Many people were shocked by the outcome, despite the fact that polls showed 'Leave' and 'Remain' as dead even the day before the vote. - Financial Times

When you will most likely hit your creative peak

An analysis of the ages at which hundreds of painters, writers, and classical composers created their most “valuable” works. - Wonkblog

How does ‘Hamilton,’ the non stop, hip-hop Broadway sensation tap rap’s master rhymes to blur musical lines?

The Wall Street Journal made an algorithm that unpacks Hamilton’s incredibly complex rhyming lyrics—and the results are fascinating. Pop in your headphones, pump the volume, and check out the methodology behind it all. - Wall Street Journal

Spies in the Skies

Data storytellers, take note. BuzzFeed recently published an exposé on the activity of FBI planes monitoring American cities. It’s a major feat of data journalism in its own right, but what’s really impressive is that the reporters made every detail of their analysis available on GitHub. - BuzzFeed

Text Mining 50 Years of Popular Music

What percentage of the Billboard Hot 100 were one-hit wonders? What were the most characteristic lyrics each decade? Take a deep dive into a half-century of pop music data to find out. - Kaylin Walker

Miles Davis’ legacy, represented by every Wikipedia page that mentions him

From Apple’s “Think Different” campaign to a subgenus of trilobites, Miles Davis’ influence extends well beyond jazz. The data viz masters at Polygraph explored the 2,452 English Wikipedia pages that mention this renowned musician to celebrate his 90th birthday. - Polygraph

Employment, construction, and the cost of San Francisco apartments

When someone mentions San Francisco’s housing shortage, they usually cite a limited dataset containing San Francisco Chronicle rental listings from 1979-2001. Eric Fischer took it upon himself to collect and analyze decades of new information by transcribing Chronicle rental ads from 1948-1979 and Craigslist rental listings from 2001 onward. - Experimental Geography

Americans’ Distaste For Both Trump And Clinton Is Record-Breaking

Clinton and Trump are both more strongly disliked than any nominee at this point in the past 10 presidential cycles. - FiveThirtyEight

Who’s downloading pirated papers? Everyone

A fascinating analysis of piracy in the academic publishing industry using download data from Sci-Hub, a site that provides free access to paywalled academic papers. - Science

Every Betrayal Ever in Game of Thrones

Who are the most treacherous characters in Game of Thrones? Why do they do it and who ends up on top? - Venngage

A Song of Ice and Data

We figured that it will be pretty cool to design some machine learning algorithm that will answer the question that is on every Game of Thrones’ fan mind - which character is likelier to die next? - Technische Universität München

Game of Thrones: the most Googled characters – episode by episode

Google data shows us which major characters were the top five most searched for on the day each episode was originally aired in the US and the day after. - Guardian

Every shot Kobe Bryant ever took. All 30,699 of them

Take a tour of Kobe Bryant's key shots over his 20-year career, or explore the makes and misses over his long career. - Los Angeles Times

The dark side of Guardian comments

To investigate the global rise of online harassment, The Guardian commissioned an analysis of the 70 million comments left on their site since 2006. This is a great example of how you can combine data and anecdotes to create a powerful story. - Guardian

Six Degrees of the NBA

A social network analysis of NBA players who have played on the same team. - Fanatics

The Largest Ever Analysis of Film Dialogue by Gender: 2,000 scripts, 25,000 actors, 4 million lines

It’s not hard to spot the gender inequality in Hollywood, but this analysis goes beyond anecdotal evidence. These fantastic interactive visualizations make the disparity between men and women with speaking roles clear. - Polygraph

Data USA

Opening up government data is important, but extracting meaning from it is a whole other beast. Enter Data USA, a vast, searchable collection of visualizations of U.S. public data. - Data USA

Network of Thrones

Find yourself muttering “valar morghulis” in anticipation of April 24th? Check out this intricate relationship map of Game of Thrones characters. It just might be enough to tide you over until the Season 6 premiere. Maybe. - Mathematical Association of America

The Next Generation of Software Stacks

The world of software is an ecosystem, and Slack, GitHub, and Amazon EC2 are right at the center of it. - Stackshare

Explained Visually

This website is an incredible collection of interactive visualizations aimed at making tricky concepts like Markov chains and regression easy to understand. Schedule a few hours to explore this one—you’re gonna need them. - Explained Visually

A Supreme Court With Merrick Garland Would Be the Most Liberal in Decades

Even though Merrick B. Garland is considered a centrist jurist, his appointment to the seat left by Justice Antonin Scalia would result in a historic change in the court. - The Upshot

The Senate that confirmed Merrick Garland 19 years ago doesn’t look much like today’s Senate

The Republican caucus is significantly more conservative than it was then. - Washington Post

A Visual Look at 2 Million Chess Games

King’s pawn to E4. If that’s your go-to opening chess move, you’re amongst the majority. Chess fan or not, this analysis is worth the read for it’s detailed commentary and impressive visuals. - Thinking Through the Party

Punctuation in Code

Remember these cool visualizations of punctuation in novels from a few weeks back? This post employs the same methods to analyze punctuation patterns in Perl, Ruby, and Python. See if you can guess which is which. - Bastian Greshake

Britain’s Diet in Data

These days, the Brits are drinking less tea and more champagne. What would the Dowager Countess think of that? This comprehensive viz serves up four decades of diet data (and the entire dataset is available for download). - Open Data Institute

Supreme Court Nominees Considered in Election Years Are Usually Confirmed

Since 1900, the Senate has voted on eight Supreme Court nominees during an election year. Six were confirmed. - New York Times

The Facebook Primary

Facebook likes aren’t votes, but if they were, Carson and Sanders would have their primary opponents beat. - FiveThirtyEight

Top 10 TED Talks for the Data Scientists

Need something to do on your morning commute? Pop in your headphones and listen to one of these TED talks, which run the gamut from global population growth to online dating hacks. - KDnuggets

Galaxy of Covers

Ever wonder which artists have covered Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”? Wonder no more. This interactive website visualizes each of the 50 most popular cover songs as its own planetary system, with the original song as the sun and the covers as planets in orbit. It’s a galaxy worth exploring. - Interactive Things

Why is Central Africa missing from so many maps?

The answer to this question signals a problem much larger than incomplete cartography. Inaccurate and missing data might be what’s holding us back from solving some of Central Africa’s most urgent problems. - Quartz

Researchers have found a major problem with ‘The Little Mermaid’ and other Disney movies

The original three Disney princesses—Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty—are classic examples of the archetypal damsel in distress. But an analysis of the dialogue in the Disney princess franchise shows that it wasn’t until “The Little Mermaid” that men significantly outspoke the women. - Wonkblog

The L Train closure—what data can tell us

This is a great example of how civilians can harness open data to analyze the impact of proposed government projects. - CartoDB

Refugee Data Tells Visual Stories of a Changing World

These two incredibly powerful visualizations show the refugee flow into Europe over the last three years. - Scientific American

A terrifying and hilarious map of squirrel attacks on the U.S. power grid

Because how could we not? - Wonkblog

A Tale of Twenty-Two Million Citi Bike Rides. Analyzing the NYC Bike Share System

This comes from the man who analyzed 1.1 billion NYC taxi and Uber trips, so you better believe it’s thorough. If you relish meaty analysis, or you just love bikes, this is for you. - Todd W. Schneider

The Missing 11th of the Month

According to Google’s Ngrams database, the 11th is mentioned significantly less than other monthly ordinals. But why? We don’t want to spoil the conclusion, but this post is a good reminder of why you shouldn’t blindly trust data. - Dr. David Hagen

Was “The Force Awakens” Really the Biggest Movie Debut Ever?

The team at AngeloueEconomics examined a bunch of different factors that affect movie ticket sales—movie quality, ticket prices, population growth—to see if Star Wars really does rule the cinematic galaxy. - AngeloueEconomics

Personal Data Is Beautiful in this Graphic Designer’s Year-End Reports

Over the past decade, designer Nick Felton has chronicled each year of his life in gorgeous, colorful charts. He recently released the final installment in his series of Annual Reports. From taking copious notes on his phone to recording everything with commercially available apps and devices, his reports document not just his life, but the advances made in personal data collection over the past 10 years. - The Creators Project

MMA styles II: ranking the top striking, submission and decision specialists

If you prefer knock outs to home runs, good news! There’s an entire blog dedicated to Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) analysis. Check out a new way to rank Ultimate Fighting Championship athletes using R. - Fight Prior

The Experts Were Wrong About the Best Places for Better and Cheaper Health Care

Back in 2009, during his push for the Affordable Care Act, President Obama lauded the community of Grand Junction, CO for keeping Medicare costs low without sacrificing quality health care. Experts believed that if the rest of the nation emulated places like Grand Junction, high medical costs would decrease. So what's the problem? those experts only looked at Medicare data. New research using both Medicare data and private insurance data shows that low Medicare costs don’t correlate to low medical costs at all. - New York Times

A Day in the Life of Americans

There are a bunch of charts out there showing how we spend our time, but Nathan Yau goes the extra mile with this one. Using data from the 2014 American Time Use Survey, he simulated one day for 1,000 Americans down to the minute. Don’t miss this. - FlowingData

Climate change data visualizations around the web

With global climate talks currently underway in Paris, Storybench has taken a look around the web for some of the most compelling visualizations of climate change data. - Storybench

19 Data Gifts for Everyone on Your List

Not sure what to get the data lover in your family? ILIKE these box plot snowflake ornaments. - Umbel

Why Google Search Results Favor Democrats

Apparently, Democrats are better at SEO than Republicans—Republican presidential candidates average only 5.9 favorable results in the first 10 Google search results, compared to Democratic candidates, who average seven favorable results. Since roughly 75 percent of people use the internet to get their news, how will Google’s rankings affect the outcomes of the 2016 election? (And if AskJeeves were still around, what would he have to say about all this?) - Slate

Why people used to look so serious in photos but now have big smiles

If you’ve ever seen a photo from the 19th or early 20th century, you’ve probably noticed that our ancestors smiled less than we do today. Now there’s data to prove it. - Wonkblog