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Radhya Adityavarman Exercise #2: Case Studies in Data Analysis (5 Ways to Make a Story out of Numbers). Real-Time Cities: an Introduction to Urban Cybernetics Harvard Design School: SCI 0646900 Spring 2014. Mapping Stories .

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Real-Time Cities: an Introduction to Urban Cybernetics Harvard Design School: SCI 0646900 Spring 2014

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Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

Radhya Adityavarman

Exercise #2: Case Studies in Data Analysis (5 Ways to Make a Story out of Numbers)

Real-Time Cities: an Introduction to Urban Cybernetics

Harvard Design School: SCI 0646900

Spring 2014


Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

Mapping Stories

The following case studies attempt to create a visual story using data. The product of the case studies are often abstract and reveal a hidden narrative.

1 | Beatquake

2 | L.A. Street QualGrades

3 | Mapped: Twitter Languages in New York

4 | Credit Card Usage Changes in a City during a Big Conference

5 | Global Transfers of Small Arms and Ammunition


Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

1 | Beatquake

Mapping Music on Facebook by Stamen Design for Facebook shows the dynamic characteristics of the typical listening activity across Facebook.

Inspired by the dynamic movement of a graphic equalizer, Beatquake maps the popularity of the top three most popular songs in the U.S., each day over the course of 90 days, by way of vertically moving particles.

Colored layers, each representing one song, rise and fall over geographic locations to correspond with the number of plays in that area. The texture of the map is driven by BPMs (beats per minute), and thus changes as one song overtakes another in popularity.

Project Video: https://vimeo.com/66938732


Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

1 | Beatquake


Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

1 | Beatquake

What is the raw data?

Sound wave data of popular songs

What processes are deployed to transform the raw data to information?

The texture of the map is driven by BPMs (beats per minute) and changes as one song overtakes another in popularity.

What is the information that is the outcome of the aforementioned processes?

It visualizes what millions of sound waves traveling through Facebook looks like, and how different parts of the country react differently to popular songs.


Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

1 | Beatquake

How the act of sensing or access to raw data leads to comparison, judgment, reflection, reasoning, and abstraction?

We are able to see in an abstract visualization how the popularity of a song may change depending on location. We can then compare it to cultural aspects of the area and predict genres based on location.

How the sum of all the above processes is resulting in a limited sort of agency for the data-driven construct?

We are able to understand how different areas of the country react to different types of songs, from that data we can see the how the general age, race, gender, etc. of people living in that location may play a role in the popularity of a particular song


Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

2| L.A. Street QualGrades

Developed by the Los Angeles Times Data Desk, L.A. Street QualGrades maps the pavement quality rating for each of the 68,000 street segments in L.A., the largest municipal system in the US with about 6,500 miles of paved roadway streets.

Project Link: http://graphics.latimes.com/la-streets-map/#12/34.1722/-118.4333


Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

2 | L.A. Street QualGrades


Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

2 | L.A. Street QualGrades

What is the raw data?

A van equipped with cameras and lasers, the Bureau of Street Services graded each single street segment of L.A.'s vast street network

What processes are deployed to transform the raw data to information?

The grades were based on a 100-point scale called the "pavement condition index". Each street was graded from A (dark green) to F (dark pink) and was visualized as a map.

What is the information that is the outcome of the aforementioned processes?

Analysis of street inspection data found wide disparities in road quality among the city's 114 neighborhoods, and found out that The differences are not driven by wealth or political power. In fact, some of the poorest parts of the city have some of the best roads.


Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

2 | L.A. Street QualGrades

How the act of sensing or access to raw data leads to comparison, judgment, reflection, reasoning, and abstraction?

We are able to see more clearly areas where roads are used the most, and others that are better maintained. Discovering that The heart of the problem is aging streets, heavy traffic, undulating terrain and the sheer size of the network

How the sum of all the above processes is resulting in a limited sort of agency for the data-driven construct?

It points out areas where some roads should be maintained more, and offers interesting information on where new roads can be built.


Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

3 | Mapped: Twitter Languages in New York

The New York map, developed by James Cheshire, Ed Manley and John Barratt, is based on about 8.5 million geo-located tweets captured between January 2010 and February 2013. The resulting maps are actually a combination of the latent language distribution and density of the local population, as well as that from the international tourists.

Project Link: http://ny.spatial.ly/


Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

3 | Mapped: Twitter Languages in New York


Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

3 | Mapped: Twitter Languages in New York

What is the raw data?

Twitter Messages

What processes are deployed to transform the raw data to information?

the maps above were produced using the R software platform with the ggplot2 package. Millions of points are then plotted to a map

What is the information that is the outcome of the aforementioned processes?

Shows areas where different languages are grouped around as well as areas that have the most linguistically diverse tweets.


Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

3 | Mapped: Twitter Languages in New York

How the act of sensing or access to raw data leads to comparison, judgment, reflection, reasoning, and abstraction?

We are able to compare different language groups and their locations. The abstract map can be used to plan events targeting particular groups of people.

How the sum of all the above processes is resulting in a limited sort of agency for the data-driven construct?

We are given a map that shows areas that have varying intensities in terms of languages spoken, from this we can see where particular groups of people may be located and use that information to target marketing as well as other things.


Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

4 | Credit Card Usage Changes in a City during a Big Conference

The comparative maps show the number of credit card transactions in Barcelona performed by locals as well as visitors. Additional images display data from the week before versus the week during the Mobile World Congress in February/March 2012, in order to reveal the social and economic dynamics of this event in the city.

Project Link: http://mwcimpact.com/


Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

4 | Credit Card Usage Changes in a City during a Big Conference


Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

4 | Credit Card Usage Changes in a City during a Big Conference

What is the raw data?

Credit card transactions

What processes are deployed to transform the raw data to information?

A map is produced by giving colors to specific transactions. The data has been wholly anonymized, and includes only where and when transactions were performed.

What is the information that is the outcome of the aforementioned processes?

This display contains three variables: location, time, visitor/local. The information that is the outcome of this shows the different intensities of payments in the areas.


Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

4 | Credit Card Usage Changes in a City during a Big Conference

How the act of sensing or access to raw data leads to comparison, judgment, reflection, reasoning, and abstraction?

We are able to make comparisons in peoples spending habits at different times of the day, location, and during specific events. As well as compare the differences in how visitors and locals spend their money

How the sum of all the above processes is resulting in a limited sort of agency for the data-driven construct?

We are given a map that displays areas of important transactions. Given this data we can predict where people will go during the day and prepare events around that knowledge.


Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

5 | Global Transfers of Small Arms and Ammunition

Small Arms and Ammunition - Imports and Exports was developed by Google as part of Google Ideas. The visualization itself represents more than 1 million import and export events, gathered from annual custom reports from about 250 states around the world between 1992 and 2010.

Project Link: http://workshop.chromeexperiments.com/projects/armsglobe/


Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

5 | Global Transfers of Small Arms and Ammunition


Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

5 | Global Transfers of Small Arms and Ammunition

What is the raw data?

Small arms and ammunition import and export data

What processes are deployed to transform the raw data to information?

The data is transformed into a 3D globe3D fully-navigable world globe with shiny neon curves that connect different import (blue color tones) and export (red color tones) destinations. An interactive timeline at the bottom of the screens allows for further time-based exploration, and gives access to a more traditional line graph representation of global change statistics.

What is the information that is the outcome of the aforementioned processes?

The information that results from these processes inform the reader of things such as which countries import/ export the most. The distances that the trades occur, and a timeline of demand throughout the years,


Real time cities an introduction to urban cybernetics harvard design school sci 0646900 spring 2014

5 | Global Transfers of Small Arms and Ammunition

How the act of sensing or access to raw data leads to comparison, judgment, reflection, reasoning, and abstraction?

We are able to compare which countries are responsible for the most imports/ exports. From there we can judge power as a result. The abstract globe that is driven by the data creates a clear view for the topic.

How the sum of all the above processes is resulting in a limited sort of agency for the data-driven construct?

We are given a data driven construct that specifically shows countries that are more involved in small arms trade. From this we knowledge we can not only make more informed business decisions by political ones as well.


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