Friday picks: FreshMinds’ favourite data visualisations

Every Friday we bring you the FreshMinds Friday picks – tools and hacks and ideas to help you make the most of digital technologies and to understand how they are helping brands to grow and innovate. This week we’re looking at our five favourite data visualisations:  including car sharing, global oil, Tweets and 19th Century cholera deaths in London.

1. The Bright Future of Car Sharing

This joint effort between the CollaborativeFund, Hyperakt and Startup America Partnership, provides a truckload of information around the issue of car sharing. It’s brilliant fun to traverse the facts as you use your keyboard to drive from North America to Australia. The graphics are simple, but endearing; and the medium is effective in presenting facts on most popular car sharing companies, and wider travel facts to name but a few. There are even some hidden Easter Eggs that make this data visualisation more than just a casual time waster.

2. Global Oil Since 1965

Timo Grossenbacher has created this interactive and revealing data set on the production and consumption of oil since 1965. The simple interface makes swapping between countries and years a breeze and offers options for displaying the data. The overall result is a lot of information on one page presented cleanly and easy to navigate. Grossenbacher developed the visualisation as an alternative to a paper on the subject for this year’s LERU Bright Student Conference, and it is a great example of how data visualisations could be used in the future.

3. Real Time Internet Map App

Imagine holding the key to the world’s digital data in the palm of your hand. Thanks to Peer1, now you can. Their mobile application provides a tour of the internet, showing real time connections between servers both on a global and network view. The touchscreen controls are intuitive, making it easy to plot a course through the interweb. In addition to this traditional navigational tool, the app contains a timeline of the online, showing major digital events and total internet users, and if all this wasn’t enough it predicts the future growth of the internet. It’s fascinating to explore one of our largest growing obsessions.

4. Geography of Tweets

This beautiful portrayal of the world in 140 characters was put together by Miguel Rios, Visual Insights Manager at Twitter. The billions of geotagged tweets create the illusion of city lights and create a haunting shell of our planet, perhaps reflecting the brevity of the medium. However the detail contained in the images is spectacular, with maritime routes visible in the depiction of Europe. There are more images to be found in their Flickr album, if this brief glimpse doesn’t sate your appetite.

5. Cholera Outbreak Map

Data visualisations are not a new idea, as this example from London physician John Snow shows. Snow utilised this graphic method of tracing the source of the cholera outbreak of 1854. The map depicts the number of cholera deaths and their geographic location, as well as the locations of water pumps in the capital. In this way he discredited the belief that the outbreak was due to polluted air, and traced the source to a water pump on Broad Street. His research helped in part to end the outbreak. The map has been recreated this year, and it remains a pedigree example of the union between form and function.

What are your favourite data visualisations? Let us know in the comments below.