James Bond(s), quantified

The Economist compares the average of Martinis, romantic involvements and kills per Bond movie per actor:

How the Bonds stack up against each other (Source: The Economist)

The various Bonds fare quite differently in the three departments. I wonder if the increased Martini intake of Daniel Craig’s Bond is a consequence of the more somber style of the recent films with a Bond full of self-doubt or indicative of the Craig-era fincancial woes of the MGM empire (think product placement)?

Sad map: Conflicts of humankind

The Dutch web development Studio TecToys built http://www.conflicthistory.com, a map and timeline of all important human conflicts. The base data for the visualization comes from Freebase and is enriched with Wikipedia content. The timeline lets you slice the data at adjustable interval widths. I’m not sure, just how exhaustive and geographically un-biased the coverage of the data is, it certainly looks impressive on the map. Naturally, the geographic scope of the conflicts on the map varies also with the world regions known to humankind at a given time.

From geographic and conflict research literature I know that people try to link violent conflicts to the presence of certain social and environmental factors, the latter being much more easily measured, usually. I faintly remember reading an article that linked the likelihood of guerilla activity to the topography of a region. Maybe some of these models are a bit too simplistic at times, but nevertheless I’d be interested to explore the data of such a study in a form similar to Conflict History.

(via information aesthetics)

Potential for improvement: Font legibility in cars

Researchers from MIT AgeLab and a typeface design company have investigated, how font readability of digital menus on a 7 inch display affects glance times of drivers, that is the time the drivers had their eyes on the display rather than on the (simulated!) road. Glance times were measured using an eye-tracking system. The experiment employed the following two fonts:

Font legibility

With 82 participants at various ages it was found that glance time for the lower font in above depiction was reduced by about 10% for men, but not at all for women. (One of the researchers hypothesises that may have to do with how women process information or interact with the technology used in the experiment).

Depending on the speed those 10% may make a significant difference in an actual dangerous traffic scenario. Hopefully, the car manufacturers see enough branding and emotional potential in super-legible fonts.

Related and worth checking out: Some weeks ago infovis experts have discussed speedometer design here and here.

(via Popsci)

Background of Mapocalypse

The internet has been abuzz about Apple’s iPhone 5 “mapocalypse“. The Verge has new background information: Apple took the decision to ship their own mapping app “over a year before the company’s agreement to use Google Maps expired“. Apparently, the people at Apple “felt that the older Google Maps-powered Maps in iOS were falling behind Android — particularly since they didn’t have access to turn-by-turn navigation (…).” Google on the other hand has been reported to have wished for more branding and inclusion of Latitude.

Anyway, “mapocalypse” is here and is presumably bound to stay a while, until either Apple fixes its globe or Google has finished their iOS6 mapping app and it’s been given admission to the app store by Apple. While competition is always a good thing, I’m not sure if Apple has indeed the capacity to amend their data on a global scale within a short time range. Combing through and improving the consistency of geodata from heterogeneous sources is a daunting task, after all. Google Maps (started 2005) and Google Earth (released under this moniker for the first time in 2005) also took years to arrive at a level which most users are happy with most of the time. The praise at the introduction of the new Apple maps is what their progress in quality will be measured against:

(…) when iOS software VP Scott Forstall introduced the new mapping system in June, he called it “beautiful” and “gorgeous” and stressed that “we’re doing all the cartography ourselves.”

(Source The Verge)

Swiss population density versus that of cities

The Swiss population has grown more or less steadily over the last decades:

With a current growth of about 1%, the Federal Statistics Office has forecast that Switzerland should have welcomed the 8 millionth inhabitant at some point this summer (jeez, I remember learning at school that Switzerland has 6.5 mio. inhabitants – you can check above where that puts me on the graph).

Now, Switzerland as a country is relatively heterogeneous, topographically speaking, with the Alps in the south. So it would be hard to spread out built-up areas evenly:

Yet, as an experiment I have taken data about some well-known, diverse, international cities and have computed the area that would be needed to house the entire Swiss population of 8 millions (give or take) at the cities’ population densities. Lo and behold, how compact, in fact, Switzerland could be (if we only wanted hard enough;  or click here for a pdf in A3 format or here for a bigger graphic:

Switzerland as a City State?“: How big an area would be needed to house the population of Switzerland, at population densities of various cities around the world (click to view high-resolution image)