As Far As I Can Tell

Many Eyes on Martin Wattenberg

This week I had the opportunity to not only see Martin Wattenberg give a lecture on his work but attend a small workshop with him and present my Similar Squircles project for comment and critique. I’ve been a fan of his information visualizations since getting hooked on the Baby Name Voyager years ago. His work presents complex data in clear, compact, informative, and inspiring ways.

Because he has been considerably linked up around the web I was already familiar with the projects in his presentation. The additional insight and context around them was interesting but what really caught my attention was something he only hinted at: a new project called Many Eyes. Tentatively launching in November, he described it as “Flickr for information visualization” — a place where anyone can upload data, download data, visualize it in various ways, and hold a discussion about it.

Finding data sets to work with can be challenging and massaging it into a workable format is definitely not the fun part. Ben Fry describes the 7 steps of Computational Information Design as acquire, parse, filter, mine, represent, refine, and interact. It sounds like Many Eyes could significantly ease the first 2 or 3 of these steps if an active community of users takes to the idea.

I wasn’t able to find a project description on the web but I’m sure news will be trickling out in the coming months. Keep an eye on this one.

The Many Eyes site has now launched.



As far as who can tell?

Chicago, IL

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