7 Visualizations That Bring Big Data to Life


The reach and power of big data can’t be overstated, but many data sets –– especially those with thousands or even millions of variables –– can be challenging for non-data scientists to process and understand. That’s where data visualization comes in. Data visualizations can demystify even the most complex data sets, using an easy-to-digest format to reveal important trends, influential factors and patterns of behavior.

These seven fascinating visualizations below represent data sets that span centuries, industries and topics; Check them out to find inspiration for your own big data projects:

1. Daily Rituals 

How does a brilliant person go about their day? Take a look at a breakdown of the daily routines of some of history’s greatest minds.

2. What’s Trending?

If you want to analyze news trends, look to Twitter. This visualization breaks down 184.5 million tweets to provide a bird’s eye of view of 2014’s biggest stories.

3. Evolution of Rock 

The 100-year evolution of rock genres are revealed here, complete with audio samples. Rock on, big data.

4. London Cholera Map

Data visualization isn’t a new invention; epidemiologist John Snow used it in 1854 to identify the source of a deadly cholera outbreak in London.

5. War Mortality

In 1855, the British were fighting a two-front war: one with Russia, and one with deadly disease on the frontline. In order to convince the British army to allocate more funding to hospitals, healthcare and sanitation, nurse Florence Nightingale used a data visualization to reveal the shocking number soldiers dying from preventable, disease-related issues.

6. Selfiecity

This study used data visualization to explore the different styles of selfie poses across Bangkok, Berlin, Moscow, New York, and Sao Paulo. You’ll also find an interesting analysis of smiles and degree of head tilt across gender and location.

7. Intro to Machine Learning

For the data scientists in the house: this interactive visualization uses a data set about homes to create a machine learning model distinguishing homes in New York from homes in San Francisco.

These illuminating examples are only a fraction of the visualizations you can find online –– start exploring!


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