Data Driven Digest for October 17

fall_foliageEach Friday we share some of our favorite reporting on, and examples of, data driven visualizations that came onto our radar in the past week.

Fall foliage map: Heading out to check out the fall colors this weekend? Before you hit the road, hit this interactive map of fall foliage across the United States. To compile this beautiful map (see the screenshot above for an example), the in-house data scientist at Smoky Mountains LLC analyzes hundreds of data sources.

Best data visualizations: Katie Peek at Popular Science asked three experts – Wes Grubbs, Giorgia Lupi and Jan Willem Tulp – for their favorite examples of data visualization. The 15 pieces they chose range from goofy fun (a runner who draws pictures using the mapping function of the Nike+ app) to analysis and visualization of Instagram photos taken during Hurricane Sandy. Peek’s piece should be online soon at

History lesson: Think your spider charts are snazzy new, or that the debate over pie charts vs. stacked bars is a recent phenomenon? Think again. Andy Cotgreave discovered a prescient 100-year-old book on data visualization, Graphic Methods of Presenting Facts, written by Willard Cope Brinton. A century ago, Brinton cataloged and evaluated many of the data visualizations we use today.  Cotgreave works for an Actuate competitor, but we applaud his research and efforts to raise Brinton’s profile at the 100 Years of Brinton tumblr.


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