Top 20 Most Beautiful Data Visualization Examples

Data visualization does not only serve the purpose of analysis but often combines elements of aesthetics. Check out the top 20 most beautiful data visualization examples found on internet.
1. Flight Patterns are not usually the first things to come to mind when thinking about beautiful data visualization examples but Aaron Koblin has created an award winning web of flight plans from around the United States.  Readers can watch a video of the flights around the United States in a day. The screen almost goes dark as traffic slows down at night, then the east coast lights up. As the rest of the country wakes up flights spread. This beautiful data visualization is interactive, allowing the viewer seeing air traffic based on altitude, make or model of airplanes. The project was developed as part of “Celestial Mechanics” by Scott Hessels and Gabriel Dunne as part of a flight and aircraft study.

flight pattern data visualization example

2. Graduate students work hard on their dissertation for it to be published then put in storage. Yet some people decide to step outside the box and make their hard work a work of art. Dr. Stephen Gaeta transformed his dissertation on a specific cardiac arrhythmia by using his words to create an image of an anatomical heart.Street Anatomy displayed the data visualization example in Diplomas Are Boring where the heart & the cardiac arrhythmia are displayed in red, blue, black and gray text. Another version along with prints of other creations by Gaeta can be purchased at the Street Anatomy Gallery

anatomy is boring data viz

3. Application of Circos to Genomics allows genomes to be compared sequentially and illustrates relationships in pairs. Circos is software for data visualization via a circular layout. This allows 24 chromosomes (including X,Y) to be laid out with positions of genes linked by diseases placed in the outer circle. Data inside the chromosomal rings includes gray lines linking disease-related genes located in the same biochemical pathway as well as colored lines displaying parallels for a subset of the genome. Various shades of red on markers around the circle show locations of genes associated diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, heart disease and neuropathy while orange, green and blue represent diabetes, deafness, and Alzheimer disease, respectively.  The result is a data visualization example reminiscent of Spirograph creations.

network diagram

4. Ever wonder about bandwidth usage and which applications are the biggest threats? Well, you can stop. Palo Alto Networks has developed a beautiful data visualization example that shows both in Bubble Bandwidth. The interactive includes data from the Americas & Canada, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Japan. Viewers can see the broad picture by viewing all data or break things down more specifically using the datasets options. Another option is selecting a key question from the sidebar on the left. Blue, green, orange, dark orange, and red illustrate the level of risk each application presents. One might be surprised to find the biggest threats are business applications rather than social media, video or file sharing sites. Yet the social media and file/video/photo sharing sites are the bandwidth hogs.

data visualization bubble diagram

5. Fathom partnered with Nike+ to create the next beautiful data visualization example. With family and friends joining in the project, Fathom created 2013 Year in NikeFuel. NikeFuel is a bracelet that records whole body movements and the energy required to complete them. Fathom, a data visualization firm, use Nike’s application programming interface to translate the data into overlaying graphs that revealed trends and patterns. Personal data can be compared to others then printed through YearinNikeFuel.com. The colors document intensity, activity levels and behavior patterns.
nikefueal data visualization snapshot
6. Bēhance user, Sonja Kuijpers, created a data visualization example of the weather from 2014 in her hometown of Eindhoven, Netherlands. The sun-like visualization includes windforce, precipitation, temperature and thunderstorms. Temperatures are recorded in Celsius and thunderstorms are depicted by red lightning bolts. Kuijpers uses a teal bar graph to represent daily perception. Windforce is recorded by averages and hardest through a color scales ranging from dark purple to light purple and yellow to bright red respectively. Records for each day of 2014 are displayed.

sun like visualization

7. The We Feel Fine website has taken data visualization into emotional exploration. The sight, by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar, scans blogs for sentences including “I feel” or “I am feeling” to collect “feeling data” which is translated into a series of interactive interfaces. Each particle is a single feeling by a single individual and communicates the feeling through the color, size, shape and opacity. Clicking on the particle reveals the full sentence or photograph it contains. The data visualization example can be organized on various axes and also collects data on age, gender, weather from the area, location, and date. From the data collected, We Feel Fine created six movements, each displaying data in different ways. Madness, for example, shows colored rectangles (pictures) or circles (sentences) floating around the screen at different rates of speed. The size denotes the length of the sentence while the color represents a feeling. Mounds, on the other hand, are feeling portrayed by color mounds that jiggle and bend. Other movements include metrics, mobs, montage, and murmurs.

we feel fine visual data

8. Comparing tropes, a narrative device or pattern in plots, is a colorful experience or at least it is the way Elijah Meeks does it. Using the data from TV Tropes, he compares the 50,000 entries by using six topics to find similarities between television shows. One such example is shared tropes between Angel and Star Wars: Clone Wars (television series). They share almost 100 tropes but for Angel, it is only 10% of total tropes whereas for Star Wars: Clone Wars it is 25%. This is due to Angle having almost a thousand tropes but Star Wars: Clone Wars only has 386. The tropes are broken into six categories with a color assigned to each: Meta (yellow), Traditional (red), Id (purple), Video Games (green), Lampshade (teal), and Supernatural (blue). The combination of colors illustrates the shared tropes with various designs. Meeks makes several comparisons of multiple shows in TV Tropes Pt. 3: If you like Dwarf Fortress, you’ll love Twilight: Breaking Dawn.

tv tropes

9. Mike Mason has put together a variety of data visualization examples and the first one is, well, beautiful. It was originally created by programmer Eric Fischer, who wrote a program to map Twitter and Flickr usage world wide using geo-tagging locations. Red/Orange dots are Flickr picture locations. Blue are Twitter tweets. White dots are where both occurred. The other data visualization examples listed on his website include 140 Characters which is a representation from tweets between Twitter’s first 140 employees, documentations of different scares such as bird flu or SARS, dominant users of the internet: male or female, as well as lists of videos and websites.

twitter and flick usage map

10. For a change pace in the 20 most beautiful data visualization examples, visit one not so high tech but intrinsic and elaborate. Harold N. Fisk documented the curves and turns of over 2,320 miles of the Mississippi River in 1944. The Gorgeous Vintage Maps of the Mississippi River’s Path Over Time is on Flavorwire which covers cultural events around the world.

flavorwire map viz

11. Reddit’s subcommunities are displayed via Redditviz, an interactive map of Reddit networkers’ interest, by Randy Olson. The map consists of dots of various sizes and colors. Red represents many related subreddits or subcommunities and blue means few. The data was collected using backbone networks and showed a “scale-free, small-world, and modular community structure.” Topic covered vary greatly. By clicking on a dot, the reader not only gets more information but also a list of nearby or related topics.

redditviz

12. Again, flight paths make beautiful data visualization examples in any country. National Air Traffic Services (NATS) has made several data visualizations in the form of videos to illustrate the amount of air traffic over the United Kingdom daily. Visual complexity highlights London 24 with 3,500 flights daily in the London area. The link provided will take you to UK 24, a 2 minute and 32 second video displaying the fast pace of the 6,000+ flights in UK airspace each day. The visualization continues with Heathrow, which it says is the world’s busiest two runway airport, then continues to Manchester, the North West’s busiest airport. It also includes heliports and military flights creating a beautiful jumble of colors and movement.

visual complexity visualization

13. The routes runners take while exercising make beautiful data visualization examples when you combine all those using the RunKeeper app in a city. Nathan Yau, following another mapping project, created 22 data visualizations with information from the exercise tracking app in various cities. Visual complexity highlights Mapping Where People Run under pattern recognition. One pattern the illustrations show is that this sample of runners often run by water, through parks and on similar routes. Cities used for the project included 18 U.S. cities and four in Europe. To see all the cities and maps, see Where People Run in Major Cities.

mapping where people run

14. Visual Complexity provides great data visualization examples with Phone-Call Cartography which is full of color and patterns. Originally a New York Times graphic, the project was completed by MIT, AT&T, and IBM researchers. Cell phone calls in a small area are represented by thin lines with a height according to call volume. Arches represent thousands of calls to different parts of the country. Different colors are used to differentiate between parts of the U.S. The arches are combinations of colors from both ends of the call.

phone call visualization

15. People often complain about the world media but who really watches them? The GDELT Project for one. They track news media around the world and in 100+ languages. One project they have created with the data is Mapping Media Geographic Networks: The News Co-occurrence Globe, creating a beautiful data visualization regarding patterns of countries mentioned in articles over a two month period. The data visualization has blue lines indicating incoming coverage and red lines designated for outgoing coverage with the percentage of mentions being illustrated by the size and number of the energy pulses. Select a country by clicking on it and scroll around the world by clicking and dragging. The interactive allows you to select any country, the week you want to view during the timeframe, choose between co-occurrences in/out/both, and enables you to zoom in and out. Selecting a country also triggers a pop-up information square so the reader has much to explore in this interactive world data visualization.

Mapping Media Geographic Networks: The News Co-occurrence Globe, creating a beautiful data visualization regarding patterns of countries mentioned in articles over a two month period. The data visualization has blue lines indicating incoming coverage and red lines designated for outgoing coverage with the percentage of mentions being illustrated by the size and number of the energy pulses. Select a country by clicking on it and scroll around the world by clicking and dragging. The interactive allows you to select any country, the week you want to view during the timeframe, choose between co-occurrences in/out/both, and enables you to zoom in and out. Selecting a country also triggers a pop-up information square so the reader has much to explore in this interactive world data visualization.

mapping-media-geographic-networks

16. Cosmic evolution over billions of years since the Big Bang is seen in a new data visualization example that provides the most accurate portrayal to date. The simulation creates a “web of galaxies” but also includes spiral and elliptical galaxies, galaxy clusters, bubbles, voids and dark matter. The five year Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astophysics project was created by 8,000 CPUs running in unison over three months time. For an average desktop to do the same would have taken over 2,000 years. The Illustris project also has videos and associated imagery online.

data visualization example of big bang

17. A beautiful data visualization example some may prefer not to see or hear is Phantom Terrains. Giving color and sound to electromagnetic signals and data topographies can be overwhelming in today’s society of texts, emails, cell phones and data transfers. Yet, it can also comprise a beautiful array of colors and translates the invisible data into sounds via a specialize hearing aid. Developed over six months time, creators Frank Swain and Daniel Jones are no strangers to translating for the senses. Jones has worked on a project that renders social network dynamics into orchestra music while Swain writes about innovations as well as uses assistive hearing technology.

phantom terrains graph

18. Beer is beautiful…at least if you map out breweries on an interactive data visualization with bright colors and unique shapes. The colorful array allows viewers to find the brewery closest to their location with white dots representing the actual location of each brewery. The lower 48 states have 4,750 breweries, according to poi-factory.com. Couple that with a Voronoi diagram over a U.S. map and you get the Washington Post’s graphic, Find out which beer is made closest to you with this crazy map. This visualization illuminates patterns such as more populated areas having more breweries and the growing popularity of local brewing.

US beer making visualization

19. Stamen Design created Prettymaps, an experimental mapping project that pushes current boundaries for browsers and cartography. The data visualization example starts by using a Flickr shapefile with as semi-transparent background then uses information from Natural Earth and OpenStreetMap project to add information to the map. Translucent white areas show areas Flickr users have taken pictures, blue/green lines are motorways, and orange shapes are more populated areas. Different zoom levels provide different details and information so definitely take the time to experiment with this interactive.

stamen pretty map snapshot view

20. The Opte Project (pronounced op-tee) creates a picture of the internet for the visual learners of the world and those just trying to comprehend the vast amount of information in cyberspace. Different colors represent various parts of the world and the networks connections that create the digital super highway. Working continually on the project for over 10 years, Barrett Lyon has created various versions that show the growth of the internet over time. With a creative common license, the data visualization has been used in books, movies, office buildings, educational discussions and countless other places including an image that hangs in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
internet for visual learners chart