When Information is Beautiful

By Jason Takahashi
Published on: February 8, 2019

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Data science isn’t often seen as the most creative of professions, but in today’s golden age of graphic design, it is quickly becoming so. All across the globe, data science and creative coders find themselves riding in tandem, bringing data to life and with distinctive detail. Here are three stunning data visualizations that illustrate when information is beautiful.

 

Mini Mountains by Craig Taylor

Manchester-based Data Visualization Designer Craig Taylor unearthed potent datasets outlining the terrain and relative elevations of Earth’s most majestic mountains. Taylor dug into NASA-produced elevation terrain datasets and coupled them with peak elevation information to render these 3D visualizations of the world’s tallest peaks. In the future, Taylor hopes to bring these mini mountains to life by way of 3D prints.

 

 

Kepler.gl by Uber Engineering

With its vast army of riders and drivers, Uber is one of the most powerful creators of geospatial data on the planet today. That is probably why Uber Engineering put together a dedicated data visualization squad responsible for the 2018 Information Is Beautiful Awards’ Gold Winning release: Kepler.gl. Kepler.gl is an open-source geospatial analysis tool for large-scale data sets that allows virtually anyone to illustrate intricate datasets and create interactive visuals. It’s fast and easy to use. But don’t take my word for it – try it out for yourself with one of their sample datasets.

 

 

Dreams by Los Angeles Philharmonic and Refik Anadol Studio

Perhaps the most imaginative data science experiment of all was on display this past fall on the outside of the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The project titled Dreams projected on the undulating exterior of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, portraying a stunning journey through nearly 45 terabytes of data from the orchestra’s digital archives. Celebrating a century of artistic achievement, Refik Anadol and his team of data scientists and machine learning masters open a wormhole into what it means to deep dream, while asking whether or not machines can learn to mimic our most subtle, sentient behaviors. The final result is a look at our world through the eyes of our most intelligent machines. It is truly a sight to behold.

So what kind of data does your industry collect and how can it be visualized? How can seemingly endless numbers be translated into visually captivating illustrations to help guide internal dialogue, decision-making and ultimately cost-savings? The truth is there are countless ways, but like nearly everything – the more beautiful it is, the more time and space we will give it to influence our thinking.

Jason Takahashi

Jason Takahashi

Jason is a contributing editor for Technology Designer Magazine and the Technology Insider Group. After five years in live concert production specializing in visual design and motion graphics for large-scale video setups, Jason has since taken up working with Denver’s youth to help kick-start the next generation of creative technologists.

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