Data visualization as a tool for understanding the city
A while ago, I posted this video by Juan Francisco Saldarriaga, which is a beautiful data visualization showing the movement of cabs in Manhattan over the course of 24 hours.
The above video is a new project of Juan, which is built from the same type of data, but taking a different perspective: the visualization shows the densities of origin and departure locations of taxi rides. You can see concentrations of places where relatively high numbers of people are being dropped off and picked up by cabs. Rather than showing routes, it indirectly shows where the cab users come from and where they want to go.
It’s not just fun to watch, it can also help understand the movement of city dwellers and visitors (for example in order to adjust infrastructure for creating smoother traffic flows). Insights into urban dynamics are extremely important in managing a city. Moreover, they often uncover things that cannot be seen or are easily overlooked when datasets are not converted into graphics. So however frivolous or artsy these data visualisations may seem, the have a huge potential for uncovering urban rhythms and helping understand the city.
Previously on City Breaths on this topic:
MAPPING INFORMATION: BRITAIN FROM ABOVE - BBC
Thanks to Rob Viola for giving me the heads up on this one.