Data for Travelers

Ah, summer. Just thinking about it conjures up thoughts of popsicles, sports, freshly-cut grass and, of course, the family vacation. Around the VisualCue offices this week we have been talking about where this summer will find us. Some of us are staying close to home and visiting family while others are taking time to go a bit further afield.

Of course, as soon as we thought about where we wanted to go on vacation we immediately started finding some data about foreign and domestic travel and were, as usual, amazed with what we found.

So before you pack those bags for your summer getaway take a few minutes and check out some summer travel data.

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The Data of Food

Maybe it’s because we haven’t had lunch yet, but today we have got food on the brain. And what happens around VisualCue whenever we can’t stop thinking about it? We scour the Internet for data visualizations.

Turns out there are a ton of visualizations out there about food! And it makes sense: everyone eats, and most of us care about eating well, so we collect data about the food we put into our bodies and visualize that data in interesting ways.

So tuck your napkin under your chin and grab those forks, this week we are looking at some of the most impressive visualizations about food!

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Data Visualization Maps

When you think about it, data visualization has been around for a long, long time. While we didn’t get things like bar graphs and pie charts until the 18th century (for better or for worse) when you think about it some of the smartest people on the planet have been trying to visualize information in ways that make things easier to understand for centuries.

Early maps of the stars and astronomical charts and constellations? Those can definitely be counted as data visualization- people looked up into the sky, saw patterns, and then copied those patterns down on paper for others to follow.

Or consider the age of exploration- what was one of the first things the explorers who started sailing around the world discovering new continents did? They made maps of their travels for others to follow: data visualization at its finest.

If you take the broad view of data visualization then maps and the patterns we found within them must certainly be some of our earliest, and most visually impressive, attempts to present information in a way that anyone can understand.

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The Data of Nature

Maybe it’s just the impending summer months or the fact that spring is on it’s way out, but around the VisualCue offices we’ve been itching to get outside.

And, of course, pretty much anything that we think about around the offices gets correlated, somehow, to data visualization and the information surrounding that topic. What else did you expect? We’re data enthusiasts.

This Friday we’d like to share some of the most amazing visualizations dealing with nature and the outdoors that we’ve found from around the internet in celebration of outdoor summer fun!

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The data... of you

We’ve written a lot about the amazing human visual system, and what a shame it is that we don’t use it more often in data visualizations.

But frankly that is just one small (albeit awe-inspiring) part of the amazing, interconnected system that is your body.

When you think about it, your body is the ultimate source of streaming data. It is constantly providing you with feedback: it tells you when it’s hungry, thirsty, tired, cold, hot or doing just fine. This data is streaming from dozens of different sources and is processed and analyzed by the best data analytics processor in the business: your own mind.

Today we’re looking at different, innovative ways that clever people out there have come up with to visualize the data that’s coming from your own body… probably right now.

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People on the move

At VisualCue we have a couple of specialities: industries that we have worked with time and again and have consistent success in implementing amazing data visualization solutions for them. Sales, marketing, operations and contact centers are just a few.

But one of the industries that often yields the most amazing visualizations and consistently sees the highest return on their investment into a data visualization platform is logistics: the business of moving people and material from one place to another. We have implemented data visualization solutions in dozens of logistics companies around the world.

So believe us when we say that whenever someone moves, whether it’s themselves or a physical asset, there is a lot of data generated. And where there’s data, there’s cool visualizations.

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The real world in real time

There is something undeniably amazing about seeing data stream at you in real time. Something about seeing the numbers change really hits home the fact that data is not just an abstract concept but a numerical reflection of real things happening in real time.

So why is it that sometimes we forget that data reflects reality? because numbers in a spreadsheet are so abstracted: so far removed from the data they represent that it’s easy for us to disconnect them in our minds. Real-time streams help bridge that gap, but not entirely.

That’s why this week we are focusing on data visualizations that not only are updated in near real time, but also directly represent the thing they are measuring. It’s the best way to realize that streaming data is like seeing the world as it happens.

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Wonder what they're thinking about in Europe today...

It’s been fascinating to watch the changes that technology has brought about in journalism. While traditional newspapers might be taking a beating, one could argue that journalism has never been stronger. As more publications move to an online format and more people start getting their news from purely digital sources open access to quality reporting has never been easier.

But journalism’s move to the digital realm has had another consequence that really excites us. Digital publications generate data: data on keywords, headlines, even the number of times a word is mentioned. And where there’s data, there are sure to follow data visualizations.

So sit back, crack open that digital paper and let’s see what the world is talking about.

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March Madness Data Visualization

We’re not sure about you, but around the VisualCue offices our NCAA basketball brackets have taken quite a beating this season. From surprise upsets (we’re looking at you, Kansas) to personal heartbreaks we will be watching the games this weekend and the championship game on the 4th with great interest.

In the spirit of March Madness we are proud to present our favorite basketball data visualizations that, if we were serious about making the best bracket possible, we should have consulted before we filled them out.

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Visualizing the Internet

Here’s a fun thought experiment- let’s run down the list of earth-changing inventions, shall we? Surely we need to include discoveries like the printing press, penicillin and the electric light. But a strong case could certainly be made for the personal computer. As it stands today the machine you are reading this article on (even your smartphone) has more functionality and computing power than was available when the first moon landings occurred.

But the computer was just the beginning. By themselves they are certainly powerful tools, capable of allowing a single person to do more in less time than ever before. But we argue that it wasn’t until these computers allowed us to communicate and share our thoughts instantly over vast differences that their true potential was realized.

Strap in and start surfing because this week we’re talking about the Internet!

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