in data science

DataVis Berlin Meetup

Hi! I’ve spent few days in Berlin. I think that this city may be considered as European startup Mekka. I was visiting Berlin for touristic reason but when I saw this meeting on I decided to take a part in it. There were 6 presentations and I would like to share with you some interesting thoughts I’ve heard.

Berlin is very interesting. It is quite differentiated. If you are going there I can recommend you to visit this blog. Especially when you want to see something more than Mitte. Although Niesmiegielska writes in Polish, her beautiful photos should amaze you.

Getting back to data visualization. Meetup was organized in betahaus cafe. Nice place that besides serving coffee, offers space for work and organizing meetings.

betahaus berlin


Disclaimer. I do not intend to make solid review of this meetup. I just want to highlight what was most interesting for me.


1. Visualizing effectiveness of transport in the city using isobars.

author: Flavio Gortana

In his project Flavio draws on map isobars that show area where you can get from the place you are in specified time (i.e. 15 minutes). Such isobar may look like this:

New York isoscope – source:

This is a great idea for visualizing effectiveness of transport. Short look is enough to identify potential problems and bottlenecks. It is very easy to compare different cities using isobars.

Isoscope – Different cities comparison – source:

In next release of Isoscope (2.0) you can compare isobars for different means of transport. It is also interesting how these areas changes during the day.


2. Visualization is a bridge between two different worlds.

autor: Kim Albrecht

I really liked thought from second presentation that data visualization connects humanity and science. It helps explaining complex things in easy to understand way. That sounds good, doesn’t it?

Kim Albrecht


Author told also few words about his previous / current / future projects and motivations that give him energy to work.



3. Cultural sets niche

autor: Marian Dork

Marian showed projects he was involved in and noted that cultural datasets are interesting niche to explore. Many cultural collections have been recently digitalized and there is a need for applications that can utilize this potential.

Marian Dork



4. Microvisualizations – typography mixed with graphics

autor: Jonas Parnow


Jonas Parnow


Author talked about conception from his master thesis. He has explained microvisualizations – micro graphics integrated into text. It seems very useful way to show a little bit more than you can with digits but without distracting reader from the text. Sparkline is a nice example of this idea.



Of course there is no scale and values in this micrographic but it says more information to reader than plain text.


5. How to reach wide audience with complex project?

autor: Christian Gross

Christian Gross


In this presentation author talked about his project that shows how much information is gathered by different agencies basing on our digital footprints. There is a great level of surveillance in the Internet but many people are not aware of that fact. Project was interesting but the most valuable thing from this presentation was the way how Christian reach wide audience with it.

He has started from preparing infographics but they were not clear enough for someone without proper knowledge. Then he has prepared application interface that shows how could look like application used by different agencies to track information about us. Thanks to that everyone could take a role of surveillance agent who monitor activities of citizens.

It was still too complicated to get attention of an average Internet user so Christian has prepared special film that describes short story and show how someone uses artificial interface he made before. Film caused that people started to share his project.

Here is the link to website of the project – You can find there infogrpahics, application interface and film.


6. Data Visualizastion as a complicated process

autor: Till Nagel

Till Nagel


Till Nagel was last presenter. He said that visualizing data is like meandering river. In the early phase of the project analyst / designer has to try out different techniques and conceptions to choose one that is the best for describing specific problem.

Process of visualization is well described by 2 slides from Nill’s presentation. (Here you can see whole presentation.)


Moreover author talked about projects he was involved in :

  • 2012 data visualization marathon – comparing domestic and international flights for different countries,
  • visualization of public transport traffic in Singapour
  • visualization of subway traffic in Shanghai



Here is beautiful bonus for you. It’s a sketchnote that summarize DataVis event on one page. It was made by Juli Sikorska.

DataVis Berlin – Juli Sikorska sketchnote


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