The Graphical Web 2014

The Graphical Web

This year The Graphical Web came to Winchester University, UK and was brilliantly curated by Alan Smith (@theboysmithy) from The Office of National Statistics.

A natural crossover between the Graphics, SVG & W3C communities and the ONS, was of course Data Visualisation, and much of the conference centered around that theme, creatively and technically.

It really was a thought provoking and stimulating 4 days, but beyond that, it brought together a diverse, welcoming & smart group of people who were all passionate about their areas… data visualisation, design, cartography, statistics, standards and more.

My Highlights

Data Visualisation at the nexus of science and the public

A really interesting talk by Nikola Sander (@nikolasander), and Ramon Bauer (@metropop_eu) on how the Vienna Institute of Demography had worked with Null2, to help them communicate their migration flow data to the public.

The Graphical Web - Nikola Sander

The Graphical Web - Nikola Sander

This collaboration produced a great data vis, which was picked up & used extensively in the media, and they recognised the reality that if you can engage the public, you can get the attention of and influence policy makers.

The Graphical Web - Nikola Sander

The Graphical Web - Nikola Sander

The Graphical Web - Nikola Sander

The Graphical Web - Nikola Sander

Geometric Madnesss

As a major contributor to D3.JS, Jason Davies’ (@jasondavies) talk was always going to be amazing, and it really was!

Jason showed us many of the map projections and tools he has added to the D3.geo library and it was a joy to behold the complexity of that work.

Jason Davies - D3.Geo

Jason Davies - D3.Geo

Storytelling in interactive data visualisation

The guys from the now external, Guardian Digital Agency, Graphic, gave a great talk on what became a common theme: Interactive Storytelling.

Learning to program graphics – a key to unlocking innovation

Alan Smith (@theboysmithy) from the ONS, gave an enthusiastic account of his journey into programming graphics for data visualisaton and how it led to the creation of data led public engagement applications from the ONS.

The Keys to a Successful Data Design Process

Scott Murray (@alignedleft) gave a great talk on his, and others approach to good data visualisation design.

Scott Murray

Scott Murray

Is there a reliable path of decisions, processes, technique and skills that lead to a successful data design?

Scott Murray - Ben Fry's Process

Scott Murray - Ben Fry's Process

Scott Murray - Moritz Stefaner's Process

Scott Murray - Moritz Stefaner's Process

Scott Murray - Skills for Data Visualisation

Scott Murray - Skills for Data Visualisation

The full talk on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMB_6OeCEP8

Building Earth: an animated map of global wind and weather

The great thing about The Graphical Web, was how social and friendly the whole conference was.

So I was having lunch with this guy from Tokyo, and had no idea who he was, until he told me he was “the wind map guy”, and he was presenting next! .. Then I knew who he was!

Cameron Beccario - Global Wind Map

Cameron Beccario - Global Wind Map

Cameron Beccario’s (@cambecc) talk was brilliant!

Cameron Beccario - Global Wind Map Composition

Cameron Beccario - Global Wind Map Composition

His talk gave us the history of his elegant & beautiful Global Wind Map project (http://earth.nullschool.net/), and how it was (get this!) his first web based project, that he used to teach himself HTML & JavaScript.

A real insight into his workflow, problem solving skills, and “beginners mind” approach to the project…. awesome!

Getting started with WebGL and three.js Jaume Sanchez Elias

A good intro from Jaume (@thespite) on the powerful Three JS.

He took us through how to setup a basic project, covering render modes, binding events to requestAnimationFrame, basic geometry, loading geometry (collada & .obj) GLSL shaders and his own Wagner Photoshop style canvas shader effects.

I later attended his workshop to go into all of this in even more detail.

Now with upcoming support for WebGL on iOS 8, I can’t wait to get stuck into Three JS… seems like this year will be the year of WebGL!

Visual Storytelling at the BBC

Amanda Farnsworth (@farnsa) gave us some super interesting insights into how the BBC handle interactive storytelling and the challenges they face from a production point of view and balancing story and data overload.

Of particular interest was how they used tools like Popcorn.js to tie video content to interactive on page content.

The full talk on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJiyz6Vxf18

Some Great Workshops

Visualising Data on Maps with D3.js and Leaflet

Indira Knight (@developfor) ran a really good workshop on integrating D3 and LeafletJS. A super powerful combination, if you want to move beyond standard D3.geo projections, and use richer, detailed map tiles.

Creative data visualisation with HTML5

The last workshop at the end of an exhausting week, was really good.

Peter Cook (@prcweb) walked us through some familiar, and some new, ways of working creatively with the great toolset of HTML, JS, Canvas, SVG & D3.. loved this one!

More info on Peter’s site: http://animateddata.co.uk/

Thanks

Thanks again to Alan Smith, the ONS, Winchester University and The Graphical Web for organising such a great 4 days!

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