Eyeo Data Visualization Challenge: Ghost Counties

About a day before the deadline I have submitted my entry for the Eyeo Data Visualization Challenge by Visualizing.org where the grand prize is a ticket to the brilliant Eyeo Festival.

You can see the final result here: http://www.janwillemtulp.com/eyeo.

The visualization depicts the number of homes and vacant homes for all the counties for each state. The size of the outer bubble represents the total number of homes, the size of the inner bubble represents the number of vacant homes. The y-axis shows the population size (on a logarithmic scale) and the x-axis of the bubbels shows the number of vacant homes per population. Each bubble is also connected with a line to another axis: the population / home ratio. On the top right you can see some exact numbers for this data.

This time I built the visualization in Processing, mainly because I expected to work with large datasets from the US Census Bureau and I might had to use some OpenGL for better performance. Eventually I didn’t use OpenGL. Building the visualization in Processing was lots of fun. To get sense of the data I tried as many as 5 completely different approaches. Here are some of the sketches that eventually led to this visualization (view this selection on my Flickr stream).

The data itself was not very complex, but rather big, and the biggest challenge was to find a creative approach to visualize this data, but without using a map (which would be rather obvious since it’s about locations).


  • Decio
    May 19, 2011 - 21:52 | Permalink

    Hi Jan,
    I have came across your work because I have been playing with the d3 js library. Your visualisations are nice, but this one had something special… I had to leave a comment. Good luck for the challenge!

  • May 19, 2011 - 21:57 | Permalink

    He Jan Willem,

    This is simply stunning! Amazing job, I hope you will win!


  • Jos Verwoerd
    June 28, 2011 - 13:45 | Permalink

    Nog gefeliciteerd met het winnen van de DataViz challenge met deze inzending!

    Sinds we elkaar in Santa Clara ontmoetten hebben we bij BigML niet stil gezeten. We hebben onze infrastructuur klaar en leggen nu de laatste hand aan onze data analyse service. Als je t leuk vindt kan ik je in de loop van juli wel een demo geven. Ben benieuwd wat je er van vindt.

    Jos Verwoerd

  • September 5, 2011 - 11:03 | Permalink

    I want this on my wall! Informative and BEAUTIFUL!!

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