Last Wednesday, November 12th, 2014, the third annual Information is Beautiful Awards celebrated data visualization at its best. Hundreds of entries were trimmed to an elite set of outstandingly illuminating infographics, over which the judges deliberated long and hard. Now, with thanks to their generous sponsors Kantar, here are the winners.
Every year, halloweencostumes.com brings us “Creepy Calculations,” a visual compilation of some of some of Halloween’s freakiest facts. This year is no exception! What are some of the 2014’s most popular costumes? How much money will Americans spend decorating their homes and filling our bellies with sweet candy treats? Who do people trust more to give them costume advice: friends, family, or Facebook??
Source: Haydn Simons, The Illustrated Game – A Map Of World Cup Brazil 2014, November 28, 2013, http://www.haydnsymons.com/news/the-illustrated-game-a-map-of-world-cup-brazil-2014/.
Haydn’s comments on creating this infographic:
Personally, I can’t think of anything better than illustration mixed with sport, or even better, football! While on Twitter the other day I stumbled across an online publication which features illustration and football, which showcases some great work, so I decided to try my hand at it too. After getting in touch with Joe, we decided that I would produce a guest illustration of Brazil World Cup 2014 map, showing the stadiums which are going to be used for the tournament. After researching (and seeing how much it’s going to cost Brazil!) I sketched out my idea from my sketchbook into this final illustrated map. The map includes stadiums like Rio De Janeiro, a fantastic stadium which overlooks the great city, where the final will be based. I really enjoyed researching about the World Cup 2014, and look forward to producing another illustration for ‘The Illustrated Game’. Be sure to check out their tumblr blog, it’s well worth a look at some great illustration on show.
Mr. Dresner is Chief Research Officer of Dresner Advisory Services, LLC, an independent advisory firm and a well-known authority and author in the areas of Business Intelligence and Performance Management.
Howard has 32 years of IT industry experience with 24 years in the Business Intelligence market.
He spent 13 years at Gartner, where he was a Research Fellow and Lead Analyst for BI. He also served as Chief Strategy Officer at Hyperion Solutions prior to forming Dresner Advisory Services in 2007.
Howard is a frequent speaker around the globe and has published two books on the subject – including: Profiles in Performance – Business Intelligence Journeys and the Roadmap for Change (John Wiley & Sons, November 2009) and The Performance Management Revolution: Business Results through Insight and Action (John Wiley & Sons, November 2007).
Through the Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence market research reports, Howard engages with a global community to redefine how research is created and shared.
I thought I would share a peek into his report with you on the topic of Success with Business Intelligence and Technology Priorities.
Mr. Dresner notes that with a few exceptions, reports of success with BI deviate little based on specific technology priorities. Those claiming success are slightly more likely to favor in-memory analysis and data mining and advanced algorithms. Those that are less successful were more likely to favor big data, analytical applications, software-as-a-service / cloud and location intelligence.
As part of his survey, when asked for reasons why business intelligence fails, respondents point to shortfalls and constraints surrounding data that include “tools” and “time,” but also “business,” “organization” and “management”.
Primary reasons for failure include: a lack of management understanding or appreciation of BI, a predominant focus upon technology vs. solving business problems and a lack of skills and resources to deliver solutions.
To visualize the data associated with success and not being successful, Mr. Dresner uses a radar chart (see chart below). A radar chart is a graphical method of displaying multivariate data in the form of a two-dimensional chart of three or more quantitative variables represented on axes starting from the same point. The relative position and angle of the axes is typically uninformative.
The radar chart is also known as web chart, spider chart, star chart, star plot, cobweb chart, irregular polygon, polar chart, or kiviat diagram.
As I delve deeper into the report, I will share other insights with you.
Last Wednesday, Alberto Cairo gave a keynote presentation at the Tapestry conference. The day after (Thursday), he spoke at the Investigative Reporters and Editors meeting (CAR2014.) In both talks Alberto discussed some topics that are concerning him.
Mr. Cairo is considered by many (including me) to be one of the industry’s leading experts on infographics and a person I respect and view as a mentor.
Mr. Cairo’s keynote focused on the rise of activism and P.R. (he views them as expressions of the same phenomenon) in visualization and in communication in general. He discusses that he has nothing against people having opinions and agendas —is it possible not to have them? However, Alberto feels that some designers and journalists seem to be too willing to surrender to their biases rather than working hard to curb them.
He continues that these communicators usually argue that being transparent about their motives and goals is enough. Mr. Cairo argues that it is not. Writing about journalism, Jay Rosen and Jeff Jarvis have suggested that transparency is the new objectivity. Mr. Cairo disagrees. He states,
Transparency is necessary to gain credibility, but it’s not sufficient, and this is valid for non-journalistic infographics and visualization, too. The old notion of ‘objectivity’ in journalism was simplistic and unworkable, but that doesn’t mean that we should rush to drop the ideal outright.
Another area of concern that Mr. Cairo mentioned at CAR2014: Opinions that may lead you to cherry-pick data are not the main risk. Unconscious cognitive biases are even more dangerous. He discussed Michael Shermer’s patternicity. Mr. Cairo expressed concern that the more he learns about patternicity and cognitive biases, the more worried he becomes about our lack of understanding of them. He further points out that they are not explained in schools of design, as far as he knows. They certainly aren’t studied seriously and systematically in journalism schools. That, he states, is a huge issue.
Mr. Cairo will have a new book out near the end of 2015. It is tentatively titled “The Insightful Art.”
On the left, in the image below, is the cover of “The Functional Art,” which was published in 2012 and a book I highly recommend you read. The cover example on the right, shown below, is just one of the alternatives he is pondering for the new book.
Mr. Cairo is currently working on a completely new MOOC, co-taught with Scott Murray (photo right) Mr. Murray wrote the book Interactive Visualization for the Web. I have included an image of the cover of his book below. Alberto and Scott’s goal is to offer something at the beginning of 2015.
Stay tuned. I will provide more information about this course in a future blog post as I get more information.
Gartner has just released its 2014 Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms.
I need a few days to soak this in and better comment on it. But, for now, I thought I would share the Magic Quadrant with you.
You can see the entire report by clicking here.
Gartner describes and defines the market as follows.
The BI and analytics platform market is in the middle of an accelerated transformation from BI systems used primarily for measurement and reporting to those that also support analysis, prediction, forecasting and optimization. Because of the growing importance of advanced analytics for descriptive, prescriptive and predictive modeling, forecasting, simulation and optimization (see “Extend Your Portfolio of Analytics Capabilities”) in the BI and information management applications and infrastructure that companies are building — often with different buyers driving purchasing and different vendors offering solutions — this year Gartner has also published a Magic Quadrant exclusively on predictive and prescriptive analytics platforms (see Note 1). Vendors offering both sets of capabilities are featured in both Magic Quadrants.
The BI platform market is forecast to have grown into a $14.1 billion market in 2013, largely through companies investing in IT-led consolidation projects to standardize on IT-centric BI platforms for large-scale systems-of-record reporting (see “Forecast: Enterprise Software Markets, Worldwide, 2010-2017, 3Q13 Update”). These have tended to be highly governed and centralized, where IT production reports were pushed out to inform a broad array of information consumers and analysts. While analytical capabilities were deployed, such as parameterized reports, online analytical processing (OLAP) and ad hoc query, they were never fully embraced by the majority of business users, managers and analysts, primarily because most considered these too difficult to use for many analytical use cases. As a result, and continuing a five-year trend, these installed platforms are routinely being complemented, and in 2013 were increasingly displaced, in new sales situations by new investments, and requirements were more skewed toward business-user-driven data discovery techniques to make analytics beyond traditional reporting more accessible and pervasive to a broader range of users and use cases.
Also in support of wider adoption, companies and independent software vendors are increasingly embedding both traditional reporting, dashboards and interactive analysis, in addition to more advanced and prescriptive analytics built from statistical functions and algorithms available within the BI platform into business processes or applications. The intent is to expand the use of analytics to a broad range of consumers and nontraditional BI users, increasingly on mobile devices. Moreover, companies are increasingly building analytics applications, leveraging new data types and new types of analysis, such as location intelligence and analytics on multistructured data stored in NoSQL data repositories.
I get a free pass to MicroStrategy World in Las Vegas which is the last week of this month. Last year, they gave us awards too. Not sure yet if they will do the same this year.
My dashboard is an exploration of tax data. It explores taxes rates for the top ten counties in terms of GDP.
I used horizontal stacked bar charts instead so that the viewer can visually see how social security and income tax rate add up to the total and explains visually why the countries are ordered the way they are on the dashboard. I also separated out $100K and $300K percentages into separate visuals.
In addition, I added the flags of the countries. Yes, I know, chart junk!
Now, you don’t see any numbers on the data points in this dashboard. The reason you don’t see them is because they appear when you mouse over a bar where you then see the country, category and the percent value as a tooltip.
Here is a screenshot of my entry. It was written with MicroStrategy v9.3.1, Report Services and the Visualization SDK.
Click on image to enlarge