All sorts of companies, including agencies like R/West, use data visualizations to tell stories from numbers. Understanding trends, correlations, outliers, and other behaviors within data sets is tricky if you’re just looking at a spreadsheet or database. Here are a few inspiring, thought-provoking, and quirky examples of data visualization.

Physical mapping

Finding the shortest path to visit all 48 capitols in the Continental United States


Plotting millions of journal entries from ship logs from 1700-1900 to reveal trade routes



Animating work versus home behavior flow in Manhattan



Overlaying histograms of world population by latitude and longitude



Comparing human routes and dog routes while hiking


Planning for terraforming on the Moon and Mars


Suggesting it’s not always about the shortest route


Going West, young man (and woman)



Mapping US history




Human behavior

Giving high school students a little boost


Naming US-born male babies (Raj, Rajiv, and Faruq aren’t as popular here)



Finding out what’s most likely to kill you, depending on your age



Learning everything you wanted to know about pooping, and then some


Comparing dating texts to married texts


Sup, bro? Yo, dude!


Measuring cumulative damage caused by Calvin


Shearing a wealth of data about facial hair (this needs to be updated)



Visualizing hand value in Texas Hold’em Poker


Searching for, and finding, Waldo


Beating heart beating hard during a marriage proposal




Understanding correlation and causation

Visualizations of data correlations that tell us absolutely nothing about causations


Written by: Alex Head