Curated Content's Blog

Content marketing articles from our agency


May 2011

The Dawn of Big Data Visualisation

Posted by / in Blog, Infographics, Motion Graphics / 4 comments

A heavy hitter in the tech world is opening its kimono and letting you play with its data.

Interested in the correlation of ‘peanut brittle’ as a search term and the Ebola virus? If this potential thematic cross-over excites you, then this is the tool for you.

As its name would suggest, Google Correlate relies heavily of correlation of search terms. These correlations are then trended and a basic visualisation layer plots the statistical smorgasbord for public consumption. Data can be exported as a CSV file and line charts and scatter plots can be shared via Google Buzz and Reader, Twitter, and Facebook.

Visualisation Image - Peanut Brittle

Searches for the tasty treat of peanut brittle peaks around Christmas.

Visualisation Image - Ebola

Ebola as a search term and as virus is less popular today than it was in 2004.

The export to CSV function is the exciting part. Not the feature itself, but the ability to take Google’s data home to your artist’s loft, kick you feet up, put the kettle on and start creating.

The dawn of big data visualisation is coming.

With the advent of this corporate openness, data that was once hidden behind firewalls and passwords is now exposed in the best possible way. Companies like Google know that the crowd, in this case data visualisers such as Curated Content, can interpret the data, choose a narrative for telling the data’s story, and artistically render it for easy consumption by the public. Vastness and complexity becomes beauty and simplicity.

Why is this just the dawn?

Well, up until now, it wasn’t in the corporate interest for proprietary data to leave corporate hands. Now, tools like Correlate serve the same purpose as a  marketing campaign for the companies which offer them. Increasingly, infographic creators and data visualisers are the artisans and social networks are often their distribution channel. Attribution to the data platform in blog posts and in the footer of infographics is powerful enough to peak the interest of a larger audience, such as small business owners, media buyers, and advertising agencies.

In turn, the data owners sell premium access or consulting services to other businesses. Think of LinkedIn and its premium services targeted to employment agencies and corporate recruiters. (Note: LinkedIn has released its own visualisation tool, LinkedIn Connection Timeline.)

As access to big data increases, so does the need for someone to interpret it and design it for the non-statistical minds.

Cue the data visualiser.

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Otto Ottinger is the Senior Product Manager of Curated Content, in charge of bringing infographics, data visualization, video and other visual content to life. Originally, a game designer and Online Manager for National Geographic Kids in Washington, D.C., Otto began producing apps and Web sites for Telstra brands such as Whereis, Citysearch, and 1234. One strategy to get ahold of him is through Twitter —!/OttoOttinger