Presentations 2.0

February 17, 2011

Power-point used to be the gold standard for presentations. Not anymore.

Improving the visual appearance of slides, reducing the amount of text and increasing the number of pictures is not enough. Recent development in mapping software now allow anyone to create presentations that are actually maps and not a sequence of slides. Advantages are obvious (although not necessarily easy to implement): you can easily offer overview and zoom, show how things relate to each other and keep the “big picture”.

I already blogged about Prezi, which is making impressive improvements in every new release. More options are available, exploiting the same mapping principle.

Ahead is a web based mapping tool, similar to Prezi but with a few more options. Same principle: the basic version is free and your maps are public. If you want more options there’s a monthly subscription. Even their websites is made with Ahead!

Timetoast is an interactive tool for creating timelines and roadmaps. As they say in the tag-line “to share the past, or even the future”.

Thank you Rahel for the hints!

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7 Classic Foundational Vis Papers

February 9, 2011

In the post “7 Classic Foundational Vis Papers You Might not Want to Publicly Confess you Don’t Know” the blog author, Enrico Bertini, provides a list of foundation papers of information visualization, with a summary and comments for each paper. In his words it’s a ” collection of classics”: very useful and with a personal touch of insightful comments.

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Visualizing insight: Reactive Business Intelligence book

February 1, 2011

An interesting description of visualization for business intelligence is provided in a forthcoming book by Roberto Battiti and Mauro Brunato. You can see online the pre-print version of the book “Reactive Business Intelligence. From Data to Models to Insight” , published by the Università di Trento (Italy) in December 2010.

The first chapters give a description of various information visualization techniques, from simple histograms to parallel coordinates and motion. In the second half of the book the authors explain advanced techniques for data visualization and modeling to gain business insight. To visualize the abstract concepts explained, they use visualizatios generated with the software program they developed, called Grapheur, a data mining and interactive visualization tool. A free evaluation copy is available for download.

The book is filled of nice quotes and comics as well: one of my favorites is the visual explanation of the dendrogram on page 49, and the definition of data mining on page 83: “Data Mining, noun 1. Torturing the data until it confesses. . . and if you torture it long enough, you can get it to confess to anything.” 😀

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Geovisualization for predicting avalanche risk

February 1, 2011

The Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, located in Davos, makes a consistent use of geographic visualization to predict avalanche risk in Switzerland. Unlike weather forecast, they look at the past to make predictions. Very interesting serial mode to visualize information:

Thanks to Nicole and her husband for the insights!

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Visual Davos

February 1, 2011

Some interesting visual material from Davos…

The picture on the left portraits a sign which seems a bit out of place, given the 60 cm of snow in Davos at the moment 🙂

For the picture on the right side, I need your help to understand what it is…
Seems unconventional that the “0” (zero) does not start on the top…

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