I don’t talk about data visualisation (#dataviz) much on this blog because, well, because its not something I can claim to be particularly knowledgeable about – that doesn’t stop me from having an opinion about it though.
I just stumbled upon an article that compares the media ecosystems of four various technology companies entitled Mapping The Entertainment Ecosystems of Apple, Microsoft, Google & Amazon and apart from being a well-researched and well-written article (not something that the tech press excels in, in my opinion) I was struck by how well the author uses maps to tell a story to the reader. Take the map in this screenshot:
Clicking on one of the four icons at the bottom of the map dynamically changes the shaded areas of the map to indicate which countries that company offers their services. Its aesthetically pleasing but moreover it instantly coveys useful information to me. What I love about it most of all though is that its all pure HTML – I don’t need any poxy Silverlight or Flash plugin to view the maps and interact with them – all I need is an up to date web browser (I use Chrome v22 although I tested using IE9 and it worked fine there too).
This is how I believe data visualisation should be - conveying useful info in a friction-free way. Maps are a great way of achieving that – I just wish more people agreed with me about calendars as a mechanism for doing the same!