Since we’ve been talking about London…I found this visualization to be fascinating. It’s from Jay Gordon’s thesis research into London transit journeys, in which data from Oyster card usage was transformed into a time-lapse video showing the movements of people into, around, and out of the city.
Each pixel represents a 100-meter square section of Greater London, and the brightness of each of the three RGB color components indicates the number of riders in one of three categories. Green indicates the number of passengers in the transit system, whether on a bus or in one of several rail modes. Blue indicates the presence of riders prior to their first transaction of the day or after their last: it is assumed that the location of a rider’s first or last transaction approximates their place of residence. Red indicates cardholders who are between transit trips, whether transferring, engaging in activities, or traveling outside the transit system.
One of the big challenges of modern science is to present huge rafts of data in forms that can be useful to our brains — which, alas, are not as good at handling data sets as computers are. We need to “see” the data somehow, to make a picture with it. This visualization is a brilliant data interpretation, and oddly beautiful at the same time. It looks to me like a giant organism, pulsing with life.
Which, of course, it is.