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Data Journalism

The Week In Data

Our favorite data projects of the week, featuring applications to help you access the World Bank's secrets, dissect your most loved films and pick your US presidential candidate. It's The Week In Data!

by Paule d'Atha On January 23, 2012

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À propos de l'auteur

Paule d'Atha désigne l'équipe des journalistes de données d'Owni : Julien Goetz, Sylvain Lapoix et Nicolas Patte. Twitter @pdatha.


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Better World Flux first saw the light of day as a result of a contest organized by the World Bank to promote the Millennium Development Goals. The challenge: to enable the general public, with the help of skilled developers, graphic designers and journalists, to grasp the vast amounts of data hosted on World Bank servers in order to understand the processes and the stories buried within. Better World Flux sets out to be a “beautiful interactive visualization” (mission accomplished) informing the masses about what “really matters in life.” The user can compare, by color, indicators such as happiness, life expectancy, duration of schooling and everything else needed to produce a snapshot of the state of the world and the quality of life in various countries, as well as the evolution of these indicators over the past 50 years.

Cinema under the knife

Cinemetrics is a splendid application which measures and displays data on the movies, revealing a film’s characteristics and creating a kind of digital visual fingerprint for each film. Editing, color scale, dialogue and movements are extracted, analyzed and transformed into graphs so that the whole film can be understood at a glance, and even compared with another film on the same screen. The result is fascinating and unmissable for fans of the “seventh art”. The majority of the code is available on Github.

Travel tips and tricks

Lichtreise [German] is a project by Christopher Pietsch undertaken as part of an interactive course at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. The goal was to design a visualization of (at least) seven trips in the life of the student. The design and the final result of this very “DIY” project are the subject of a very beautiful series of photographs.

Hack your life or be a user – Pietsch


Needles and haystacks

Citeology is an extraordinary project coordinated by Justin Matejka, a member of the research laboratory of the famous modeling software Autodesk / AutoCAD. Citeology allows the user to view the relationships between publications according to the quotes they use. Over 3,500 documents related to human-computer interaction and published in the last 30 years have been put through the data mill to create this application (which requires Java Plug-in) that highlights nearly 12,000 cross-citations within the collection. The result is simply amazing and opens up avenues of truly innovative visualization, particularly in the emerging field of “big data”.

Are you thinking what they’re thinking?

Candidate Match Game is one of the first (of what will no doubt be many) game applications for the US presidential election this November. Developed by USA Today, this application is very simple: from a list of the big issues in US society today the user assigns their personal level of importance, and then answers questions about those topics by selecting the proposal that best suits their convictions. At the end of the questionnaire, the game tells you the names of the candidates whose political agenda or overall vision is closest to your own.

The world’s game

Diversity in the Premier League is a visualization of the English Premier League, inspired by the recent case of footballer Luis Suarez which caused consternation in the world of football towards he end of last year. The Liverpool player had been accused by the French defender Patrice Evra of repeatedly uttering racial slurs during a match. As a result of this sad incident, Josh Ritchie wanted to highlight the diversity of nationalities among the elite of English football through this very successful dataviz.

Love, etc

To close this tenth edition of The Week In Data, some new work by two “data-artists” among those we regularly follow (on YouTube and Flickr).

An excellent data-week to everyone!! :)

Eric Fischer – World travel and communications recorded on Twitter


Stephen Malinowski – Claude Debussy : Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum

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