DataViz around the campfire

An adventurer has brought to life the floating home from Pixar movie Up

Just launched version 2 of DataViz in 6 Weeks, a blog about teaching the Introduction to Visual Analytics course at OCAD University in Toronto.

First class, fall term, was disrupted by brand new classroom projector technology that worked until it didn’t, and a fire alarm evacuation that kept us huddled under an awning across the street to keep out of the rain. An hour later, we schlepped back up the stairs to the top floor. Computer restarted and, surprise, it still couldn’t connect to the projector. Kudos to the class for being good sports and gathering around my laptop for a small screen presentation about putting data visualization in context. In the half light classroom, it felt a bit like telling stories around a glowing camp fire.

  • Historical Context: the emergence of statistical graphics in the 18th c, the ‘Golden Age’ in the 19th c, the dark ages and then a kind of renaissance and explosion in the 20th.
  • Disciplinary Context: Not all visualizations are created equal. What, then, is the difference between infoViz, dataViz, visual analytics, data analytics and scientific/medical visualization? And what about non-screen based stuff like data sculpture and physical viz?

Thanks to Michael Friendly’s The Golden Age of Statistical Graphics for a great survey of the Golden Age of statistical graphics, and his Milestones of data viz website.

Two way star radial

Two way star radial

Image of Polar Radial viz of theatre audiences in Paris

Polar radial viz of theatre audiences in Paris



Here’s the Week One slides.

DataViz in 6 Weeks is my blog about teaching Introduction to Visual Analytics at OCAD University in Toronto. Comments, follows and shares welcome. #DataVizInSixWeeks

Anne Stevens I am a multidisciplinary designer working in data visualization, interaction design, innovation and critical design. I am particularly interested in non-screen based physical representations of data and tangible user interfaces.

4 Comments Added

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  1. Karen September 14, 2014 | Reply
    Hi Anne Great Post , It was a wonderful class even with the disruptions. Since then I have had many ideas of what I want to make data visualizations about. I Imagine now the sky is the limit. Thank you
  2. kate September 15, 2014 | Reply
    the variety of visualizations you presented was really interesting as was the historical review of this type of communication...i'm looking forward to our next class...thank you!
  3. Eugenia Tsao September 17, 2014 | Reply
    Thanks for all of the work you've put into designing this course, Anne. I really enjoyed last week's presentation and am looking forward to working with different visualization tools over the next five weeks.
  4. Thomas September 21, 2014 | Reply
    Anne - Thanks for posting the materials and giving us a heads-up about them, I've been looking forward to seeing them since class ended back in June :) Looking back at the experience, I have to say I am very happy to have taken the course and to have been part of your first vis analytics class. Months out, I continue to see applications in my line of work. Looking forward to seeing future posts and materials. Keep in touch!

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