Google Big Picture leaders, Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg released the wind map project on March 28th. It displays data updated from the National Weather Service, National Digital Forecast Database. That would be interesting enough but could also be painful to look at because of design choices. Viégas and Wattenberg made excellent choices. The map is gray scale with the currents of wind undulating across the surface like turbulent, flowing water.
Mashables described the presentation as being like “rivulets of mercury.” And said it was “hypnotizing to watch the gusty trails blast across the American continent, skitter over the Sierras, get roughed up by the Rockies, and whoosh over the great plains on its way to Canada.”
Wattenberg provides an overview of hint.fm, the home of the wind project:
We invent new ways for people to think and talk about data.
As technologists we ask, Can visualization help people think collectively? Can visualization move beyond numbers into the realm of words and images?
As artists we seek the joy of revelation. Can visualization tell never-before-told stories? Can it uncover truths about color, memory, and sensuality?
Another hint.fm project is called The Art Of Reproduction. From the site: “For a series of famous artworks, we’ve taken fragments from different reproductions found on the web, and (with a nod to David Hockney) assembled them back into wholes. In a few cases we’ve also created compositions made from the same detail across a set of different reproductions.”