Speaking @ TED Global

Posted: June 24th, 2009 | Author: Manuel Lima | Filed under: Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

It’s now official, I will be in Oxford in the end of July to talk at TED Global. It’s without a doubt a great privilege and honor to be in such a respectable stage as TED, an event I’ve profoundly admired over the years. The TED website is perhaps my favorite bookmark and an outstanding source of knowledge. I’m really thrilled with the idea and I’m sure it will be a great experience.

Immersive Visualizations

Posted: June 23rd, 2009 | Author: Manuel Lima | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

I returned from New York 2 weeks ago after talking at the inaugural CAT (Creativity and Technology) conference organized by Creativity Magazine. There was a lot of interesting people there, like Aaron Koblin, Ben Fry and Nick Bilton, and plenty of creative directors from a variety of digital agencies, such as Organic, Crispin Porter + Bogursky, R/GA, amongst others. The key topics emerging from most talks were around Mobile Development, Data Visualization and Augmented Reality, and I must say that being somehow disconnected from the latter I was surprised to see some of the current developments in the field. I shared the stage with Dr. JoAnn Kuchera-Morin, director of the Allosphere Research Laboratory - an impressive 3 storey high visualization environment. JoAnn is an engaging speaker and it was great to hear her describe the Allosphere in detail.

Allosphere (left) & Geodome (right)

After CAT in New York and HATCH, in Asheville (North Carolina) last April, and talking with the people behind Allosphere and Geodome, respectively JoAnn Kuchera-Morin and David McConville, it really became clear that we’re facing an increasing need for alternative ways of visualizing data that go way beyond the common mouse-screen configuration. These 2 projects provide immersive visualization environments that allow the discovery of different levels of information in a rich and engaging way, miles apart from any screen-based online tool. Being inside one of Elumenati’s Geodomes was an outstanding escapade from the mundane, which I described in a previous post, so I can only imagine what it must feel like to be inside a 3 storey high sphere, with surrounding visuals and sound in a truly multi-sensorial immersive experience. I cannot wait to visit JoAnn in my next trip to California…

Público receives D&AD Yellow Pencil

Posted: June 18th, 2009 | Author: Manuel Lima | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

I was really excited to hear that one of my favorite Portuguese newspapers won the prestigious D&AD Yellow Pencil Award. The annual D&AD Awards are highly respected, and regarded as a major event in the world of design and advertising. Público (Portuguese for Public) is a Portuguese daily national newspaper, widely regarded as a newspaper of record. It began publication on March 5, 1990, and since then it has been at the forefront of Portuguese journalism and alternative methods of information delivery. Here’s Público’s award entry and the list of 2009 winners at Creative Review.

Magazines: Form + Creativity

Posted: June 18th, 2009 | Author: Manuel Lima | Filed under: Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Form Magazine (Germany) and Creativity Magazine (US) have recently published two interesting pieces, respectively “InfoGraphics” and “Information Beautification”, on the recent outburst of interest for Information Visualization. Both address some of the trends of the field and future challenges. I’ve been interviewed on both articles so you might expect the occasional quote. Enjoy the reading…

Form | “Infographics”

Creativity Magazine | “Information Beautification”

Internet & Airline Routes

Posted: June 16th, 2009 | Author: Manuel Lima | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Internet Map - This project by Chris Harrison displays the relative densities of Internet connectivity across the globe. It maps how cities across the globe are interconnected (by router configuration), in a total of 89,344 connections. As the author points out “it’s important to note that this only reflects density of connections, and not usage - hundreds of people may utilize a single connection in an internet cafe, often the only form of connectivity people have access to in developing nations”.

Air Lines - This project  aims at mapping worldwide airline routes. Every single scheduled flight on any given day is represented by a fine line from its point of origin to the airport of destination, therefore forming a net of thousands of lines. Hubs like JFK, FRA or DXB turn into heavy condensed nodes where lines meet, while local routes are only slightly discernible. Every scheduled airline route has been extracted from booking and airline systems.

Detailed view of European connectivity: Internet Map (left) and Air Lines (right). Although the view on the right seems substantially more intricate, it’s quite misleading since it also includes airline routes to/from destinations outside Europe, while the view on the left comprises solely connections within that region.

Data Cartography

The first pattern that emerges from the two projects is that even though no country borders or geographic features are displayed (only data is plotted) it’s still fairly easy to perceive the shape of most continents and regions of the globe, particularly in the map of airline routes.


Another extrapolation between both projects relates to connectivity distribution. Airline routes are apparently more democratic and globally widespread. We can notice how some regions, such as Africa, Asia and South America become much more connected to the rest of the world, providing a better match with population density in these areas. However, this apparent democratization of the globe can be deceiving, since many of the routes to those predominantly dark regions are representative of tourism traffic. You can easily see how small islands lost in the darkness of the Internet Map become bright interconnected hubs in the Air Lines map, indicating what in many cases is a popular tourist destination. But even though air routes depict a more distributed portrait of the globe, the common unbalanced view of Europe and the US, as the two largest central hubs, is still immediately perceived.