The data visualisation projects this year were, as ever, excellent. The theme was “a day in the life”, and the groups took that in different directions – I’ll focus on just one of those projects, a group who decided to explore the data behind the London Marathon to draw out its story.
Heidi, Kaisa, Yuefeng (“Jeff”) and Aditya wanted to understand the marathon from a data-driven perspective – both as an athletic event, and as one which has impact across the world. They set about gathering data from the Marathon site about runners, and in parallel, mining Twitter for buzz running up to the event by searching on marathon-related hashtags across the world. The also gathered data on race day in London in order to see live tweets as they happened over the course of the race.
These were the datasets, and from this the team was able to generate a diverse but coherent set of visualisations: maps of tweets around the world, visualisations of international runners travelling to the UK, and visualisations of the race itself drawn from real running data. The 2D version of this incorporates weather and curated tweets of encouragement; the 3D version has a detailed 3D model of London and a high-resolution basemap.
The group then synthesised these elements into the coherent and concise video you see above. Choosing a consistent colour palette and base map glue the individual pieces together; the use of a voice over draws to viewer in and ties the elements together further.
In the course of this project, the students used elements from all aspects of their visualisation course – 3D environments, data collection, and programmatic visualisation – but it’s what the elements have in common that makes for an effective project.
This post originally appeared at http://spatialdatascience.org/ in June 2015.