Matthias Shapiro

developer/integrator with IdentityMine, infovis enthusiast

Free Chapter From Beautiful Visualization

OK, Cory Doctorow, let’s see if this works.

I’ve written a chapter on storytelling and information visualization for O’Reilly media to publish in the book Beautiful Visualization.

And you can read it for free. I’m making my chapter of Beautiful Visualization free for download.

Keep in mind there are many other superb chapters in this book and you should totally go buy it right now.

You can buy the e-book or order Beautiful Visualization directly from O’Reilly media or order a hard copy of Beautiful Visualization from Amazon

Quick Summary

Information visualization is a powerful medium for the communication of data, but one of the things that makes it so powerful is the fact that it plays a part in the larger story of reality. Information visualizations can tell the part of the story that is data heavy in a way that is gripping and memorable. The first half of my chapter walks through the process of creating a visualization and the importance of anchoring that visualization in the context of a larger story (including some thought-experiment examples).

The second half of the chapter walks through the entire process of creating an information visualization, from data gathering to munging (sorting, filtering, re-aligning) a large data set, to visual representation. This visualization is done using Microsoft Excel (you could use Google Docs, which is free) and Adobe Photoshop (you could use GIMP, which is free).

If you like my chapter, you will love the whole book. Beautiful Visualization is twenty chapters of unadulterated awesome visualization tips, tricks, discussions, and lessons from scientists, artists and visualization experts. Once again, your purchase options are to buy the e-book or per-order Beautiful Visualization directly from O’Reilly media or pre-order a hard copy of Beautiful Visualization from Amazon.

Finally, if you’re one of those people who is constantly thinking “I really wish I could financially support someone who is soooooo awesome that they put their professional work online for free”, today is your lucky day. You can donate whatever you would like directly to me as a thank you via PayPal.

But, most of all, read my chapter! Comment on it, tear it to shreds, pick out the good parts, pick out the bad parts, print it out and light it on fire. I hope it will be helpful in whatever you’re doing.

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