Chris Mueller – Visualmotive

Thoughts on maps and visualization

The Ebstorf Mappamundi – map of the 13th c. Christian World

The Ebstorfer mappamundi, map of the Christian World in the 13th century overlaid with an image of Christ. (click for high resolution)

The Ebstorf mappamundi was drawn in 13th century Saxony and depicts the Christian worldview within the body of a crucified Christ. The map illustrates both the “known world” as well as significant landmarks and points of interest for the curious pilgrim.

Continue reading »   Sep 24, 2009One Comment

Area Scaled Map from 1930 – Markets are People

Markets are People, published 1930 by Printer

“Markets are People” is a beautifully drawn map. It uses area-distortion to show population at both the state and city level. This is the first map we have seen that uses the area-distortion method at two resolutions. The effect is visually accurate, highly readable, and offers deeper insight into the data than similar maps that offer only one level of detail.

Continue reading »   Sep 16, 2009Comments Off on Area Scaled Map from 1930 – Markets are People

Sorting Colors

Color sorting using RGB, HSV, and YIQ color spaces

We recently needed to sort the pixels in an image by their color. On first attempt, we sorted by simple RGB values: first sort on R, then on G, then B. But it turns out there are many other possibilities for sorting colors. Every permutation of the RGB letters could be considered (RBG, GBR, GRB, […]

Continue reading »   Sep 14, 2009One Comment

Graph Visualization with Edge Bundling

US air transit routes after bundling algorithm was applied

We recently encountered (via infosthetics) a paper from Danny Holten and Jarke J. van Wijk that demonstrates an algorithm for creating beautiful graph visualizations. The original paper is Force-Directed Edge Bundling for Graph Visualization, published in 2009. In computer science theory, a graph is a collection of nodes and the edges between them. Graphs are […]

Continue reading »   Jul 13, 2009Comments Off on Graph Visualization with Edge Bundling

Visualizing Radiohead’s Kid A

Everything In Its Right Place

Visualizations show relative pitch strength across the duration of the song. Colors scheme is derived from the Kid A album cover. Song analysis by Echo Nest via the Echo Nest Remix toolkit. Rendering was done with PyCairo.

Continue reading »   Apr 13, 2009One Comment

Tweemap – Mapping Twitter Followers

A tool to map your Twitter followers. Tweemap shows up to 10,000 followers for any given user. The Google Maps Javascript API provides core mapping utilities, and the Twittervision API was used for geocoding.

Continue reading »   Apr 2, 2009Comments Off on Tweemap – Mapping Twitter Followers

Steve Reich, Pulses

Steve Reich - "Pulses", visualized with Python and the Echo Nest API

Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians. The first section, “Pulses” is visualized above using custom Python scripts. Analysis of the music is provided by the Echo Nest API. [audio:|loader=0x9900ff] See also, Song Visualizations with Echo Nest.

Continue reading »   Mar 27, 20093 Comments

Jason Salavon


We find the work of Jason Salavon highly inspirational. At the intersection of art and visualization, his images are distinctive for their surface and immediate graphical language while also communicating significant stories of process and history. By merging dozens or hundreds images that share some common theme, Salavon helps us extract high-level information about common […]

Continue reading »   Mar 26, 2009Comments Off on Jason Salavon

Ten Examples of the Subway Map Metaphor

The Milky Way Galaxy

The visual components of a subway map make it a great metaphor for grouping and linking ideas or things across many different conceptual realms. We’ve collected here ten excellent examples of the subway map metaphor. 1. Milky Way The Milky Way Transit Authority shows the spiral of the galaxy, with major constellations and nebula appearing […]

Continue reading »   Mar 23, 20096 Comments

Song Visualizations with Echo Nest

Philip Glass String Quartet #5, 2nd Movement

We recently came across Anita Lillie’s beautiful music visualization and MusicBox projects. The music visualization project was especially intriguing to us, since it was the only music visualization project we’d seen that did not require video playback—the visualizations were strictly in 2D. Unfortunately, the source code for Lillie’s visualizations was not available, so we decided […]

Continue reading »   Mar 19, 20095 Comments