It’s one thing to read that, say, airlines use 47 plastic cups per second, and quite another to see 47 virtual cups per second cascading down your computer screen. This is the genius of So Many A Second, which converts events (trees cut, stars born, blog posts published) into visual icons, making statistics visible. My favorite feature is the split screen, which allows you to compare, for instance, how many births are happening this second with how many deaths.
If you’d prefer something a little more qualitative, check out Bio Mapping. Artist Christian Nold equips people with devices that measure when they are stressed and when they are relaxed, and sends them out to wander cities including Paris, San Francisco, and London. This data is compiled to create Emotion Maps, which not only show which areas of the city tend be stressful or calm, but are also “packed full of personal observations and highlight the issues that people feel strongly about.” They’re also quite beautiful; the design of each map is quite different. They are all available online and zoomable, or each map can be purchased as a print. I should add that Bio Mapping is not just about making quirky, pretty maps; Nold has also created a free, downloadable book, Emotional Cartography,
a collection of essays from artists, designers, psychogeographers, cultural researchers, futurologists and neuroscientists, brought together by Christian Nold, to explore the political, social and cultural implications of visualising intimate biometric data and emotional experiences using technology.
Worth checking out!