Presented By O'Reilly and Cloudera
Make Data Work
September 26–27, 2016: Training
September 27–29, 2016: Tutorials & Conference
New York, NY

Shifting cities: A case study in data visualization

Brian Kahn (Climate Central), Edward Wisniewski (Radish Lab)
1:15pm–1:55pm Thursday, 09/29/2016
IoT & real-time
Location: 3D 08 Level: Non-technical
Average rating: ****.
(4.50, 2 ratings)

What you'll learn

  • Learn how to turn data into shareable, engaging interactive visualizations that get great traction
  • Explore how to use data to tell the right story for different audiences, how to personalize it, how to leverage the best technology to get your data story out and shared widely, and, most importantly, how to track your impact
  • Description

    Data visualizations are interactive stories that can powerfully engage audiences, giving them insight into the meanings and trends behind numbers. They often begin with a massive spreadsheet of data that has no meaning to the average person. Building an effective visualization begins by asking how data can be transformed into a compelling narrative and a dynamic user experience.

    Alana Range and Brian Kahn offer a behind-the-scenes overview of the collaboration between Radish Lab and Climate Central that crunched temperature data from 1,001 US cities and created an addictive, shockingly simple interactive data visualization that engaged more than 1 million users within three days of launch. Alana and Brian explore the process of creating a successful, viral, interactive data visualization and share key perspectives from both the team that collected and collated the data (Climate Central) and the team that curated the data and reimagined it as a visualized narrative (Radish Lab) to offer insights into project dynamics from conception to launch. From data collection to data organization, from story concept to design, from development to rollout and analytics, you’ll learn how to turn your data into shareable, engaging interactive visualizations that get the traction you want.

    Topics include:

    • What kinds of datasets translate well into visualizations
    • How to decide which data is meaningful and which data to throw out
    • How to reconfigure and counterpoint datasets to create a compelling narrative
    • How to portray things like scale, proportionality, acceleration, geographic trends, etc.
    • How illustration, photography, and maps fit into visualizations
    • Is your visualization objective, or does it have an opinion?
    • How to find the most surprising story in the data
    • Does your visualization make users think differently about the world or mobilize them to take an action?
    Photo of Brian Kahn

    Brian Kahn

    Climate Central

    Brian Kahn is a senior science writer at Climate Central, a journalism and research nonprofit, and a lecturer at Columbia University’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Brian previously worked at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society producing multimedia stories, managing social media campaigns, and developing version 2.0 of His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Grist, the Daily Kos, Justmeans, and the Yale Climate Connections and has been cited in the New York Times, Washington Post, Slate, and Vox. In previous lives, he led sleigh ride tours through a herd of 7,000 elk and guided tourists around the deepest lake in the US.

    Edward Wisniewski

    Radish Lab

    One of the original founders of Radish Lab, Edward is a skilled interactive storyteller, digital technologist, and data scientist. Combining a rich understanding of creative design and standards-based development, Edward has spent more than a decade creating immersive and interactive digital experiences. He is currently Radish Lab’s technical director, and works to manage the tech team and implement innovative tech solutions to complex challenges that social impact organizations face. He’s truly passionate about climate change and exploring how the humanization and visualization of data can help it resonate and drive action across audiences.