The Beauty Of Data Visualization

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Here’s a recent talk I gave at TED Global Oxford about my passion for data visualization and information design.

Here’s the page on if the video isn’t working for you. It’s also on YouTube. Enjoy!

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Show Comments ( )

  • Matt

    This is really great. Love the idea that we all have a dormant data literacy.

  • Al

    That was really, really interesting and insightful. I have suspected that collecting all this data would cost a lot of time and effort, but not that it would be this much. But the result is always absolutely worth it. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Sherp

    Great talk, David! Congratulations. :-)

  • Alex Turpin

    Incredibly interesting!

  • Allan Sleeman

    Great talk David!

    Your “billion” graphic sometimes confuses stocks with flows (the stock of outstanding debt as of 9-7-10 versus the GDP generated during 2009) and sometimes you compare expenditure in a year with expenditures over several years. This is fine but can confuse careless viewers of the graphic.

    You seem to share the enthusiasm for “bubbles” and “disks”. I find these difficult to interpret, the areas of rectangles and squares are easier to compare. Some graphic designers confuse diameters with areas.

  • S.

    Wonderful! Thank you.

  • Jon Whitehead

    Excellent talk, David, and a good insight into your thought process and design of data visualisations. But I was hoping for some kind of live data visualisation produced from the piano and drums ;)

  • Rob

    He’s so articulate, perhaps due to the same passion that draws him to effectively convey information visually.

  • hellveen

    It’s really nice and inspiring.
    Thank you!

  • steve foster

    I was confused and puzzled by Ray Kurzweil’s statement in his book,”The Singularity Is Near”, when he says the point of all the computers in the future will be “to fill up the Universe with knowledge”*. After watching David’s presentation I believe that I have some inkling of what Ray might have been talking about!
    This seems such a natural, powerful, future field I wonder if any universities are specifically teaching it.
    * Please note this is not an exact quote of what Ray stated, only my interpretation, which probably varies from what he meant.

  • Daniel

    Clap clap clap clap!!!
    Good job.

  • Ashley

    This was really inspiring. As graphic designer turned data visualizer your talk really revamped my excitement for the field. I love your mix of visuals from simple to complex! It’s all about telling a story, and you’re quite a storyteller!

  • http://www, Charlotte

    Just got a chance to watch this. Your presentation was wonderful. Calm demeanor and fascinating info and graphics. Thanks!

  • David

    Great work. I’m trying some amateur data graphics at the min relating to cuts / economic austerity, it’s not easy work.

    The data can always lie though, for instance, does your point about US military budget versus GDP take into account the application of that spending (e.g. war versus defense spending), government subsidies, arms sales and to whom etc. While its fair to relate health spending to GDP, military budgets are slightly different, in that we have to separate defense (and national security) from war spending.

  • Balaj Alin


  • Jasper

    Great talk! Very inspiring indeed.

  • Bryce

    Excellent presentation and work that you are doing! Bravo

  • Lynley Hood

    My request is that you present the data on the relative information input from our different senses as a pie chart. As a writer now dealing with impaired vision, I want to know the % of sensory input we normally get through our eyes, compared to our ears, touch etc. Among other things, it would help make sense of the gulf between the perceptions, understandings and life experiences (and, indeed, between the politics and history of that gulf) of those born blind and those who become blind or partially sighted later in life. Also, what is the source of that data? I looked up a publication by the guy you referred to (whose name escapes me). It contained no information on the source of the data. Maybe I missed something. That’s the trouble with being vision impaired. Keep up the good work! L

  • Raveen Beemsingh

    this is great work, yours and hans rosling work are very useful,