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posted by Donato Ricci
Friday, November 25th, 2011

DataViz Workshop

We are excited and proud to announce the “DATAVIZ: VISUAL REPRESENTATION OF COMPLEX PHENOMENA” workshop.

Brought to you by Better Nouveau, it will feature a partnership between the NodeBox — Experimental Media Research Group and DensityDesign.

Inspired coders, designers but also viz-amateurs are welcome with their knowledge, skills and creativity for a full-immersion visualization experience.

All the details can be found here.
See you in Turin from December 12 to 17.

posted by Paolo Ciuccarelli
Friday, November 25th, 2011

DensityDesign in Paris: when visualization meets other disciplines

Dear friends, a informative post (in a long silent period) just to say that we’re in Paris this week – and the following one – to start two very interesting new challenges. Since yesterday we’re presenting at the conference “Ignis Mutat Res: Penser l’architecture, la ville et les paysages au prisme de l’énergie” (November 24-25th) where the selected research projects for the homonymous call funded by  French government will be presented. We participated in writing one of the selected proposal, and so we’ll partner with Elioth (Egis Concept), Shanghai Tongji Urban Planning and Design Institute, École Nationale Supérieure du Paysage de Versailles (ENSPV), Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture Paris-Malaquais (ENSAPM), École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (ENSP) in the [Re][For][Me] project. The aim of this two-years project is to create a new cartography of energy, where all the flows that make a city alive will be mapped and visually integrated. Our specific role is to develop a dynamic and interactive visual platform that will represent the city from the very (and wide) perspective of energy. The topic of energy in general is a very hot one (!) and we’re very pleased to work together with architects and urban planners to help them – and all the other stakeholders – to understand and represent the behavior of the cities of Paris, Milan and Shanghai in terms of energy flows.

Next week (November 29-30th), the kick-off meeting of the EMAPS European project (Electronic Maps to Assist Public Science) will take place. We will work together with Fundació Barcelona Media Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Technische Universität Dortmund, Digital Methods Initiative – University of Amsterdam, Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques (Sciences Po), The Young Foundation – UK for the next three years in observing trough the Internet two main socio-technical controversies climate change and life expectancy.  More precisely, the aim of EMAPS, in the domain of science-society interactions, is to get a better understanding of whether the web can provide a meaningful equipment to produce an enhanced interest of a wider public (i.e. scientists, journalists, activists, corporations or citizens…) in science and technology issues, not as receivers of information about end results of science, but as potential participants in science in the making.

Our role in this project is to conceive visualization tools able to depict the form of complex social phenomena assuming that understanding a phenomenon means understanding its form and understanding the form means, also, to see and to visualize its data and information patterns. The main effort is to reveal and dynamically describe connections between people, politics, information and scientific issues.

In the middle of these two kick-off meetings, on Monday the 28, I’ll be very pleased to talk about our work – and our vision/approach to visualization – at ENSCI Les Aterliers, where I’ll meet also some very good friends! The speech is scheduled in the evening, with the title “Macroscopes. Designing visual tools to help people understand and make sense of complex phenomena“. A title that I actually like very much!

We’re all very excited at DensityDesign for these new challenges: two great opportunities to improve our knowledge on the potential role of design in making the complexity of social phenomena visible, accessible and usable. It’s also a very positive sign, showing how very different disciplines are nowadays looking at visualization as a tool to improve their research/knowledge processes. Between infographics for the media-scape and visualization for Business Intelligence and fast analytics there is a huge territory to be explored, an extension of the scientific visualization domain where understanding is really the first goal: (economic) performances and the quest for attractive and glittering pictures only come after, if any. In this territory we believe designers have a fundamental role to play.

We’ll try to keep you updated about these new projects via our blog.

posted by Paolo Ciuccarelli
Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Welcome Helena!

A warm welcome to our first intern – Helena Castro from Universidade de Aveiro (Portugal) – funded by the Leonardo da Vinci program. A great opportunity to fertilize our lab with external knowledge and view points…and to feel a bit more international!

posted by Michele Mauri
Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Moving (to the next door)


Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
[...]

from ‘Burnt Norton from Four Quartets‘, by T. S. Eliot

posted by Michele Mauri
Monday, September 5th, 2011

Evaluating social politics impact with Fineo

From the very beginning of the Fineo development, our partners at CRISP (Centro di Ricerca Interuniversitario sui Servizi di pubblica utilità alla Persona) tested the tool with their own different data sets to explore the temporal evolution of the samples and to understand the differences between different categories. On one side, they provided us with valuable contributions, on the other they started to figure out a possible integration into a BI platform.

Today they’ve released one of the data sets they’ve used with Fineo, giving us the permission to redistribute it in order to make possible a comparison with other tool.
The data set have been developed inside the Labor Project, using administrative data to analyse how Regione Lombardia’s social politics impact on the labour market. It contains a sample of about 2,000 individuals and their evolution in 7 months in terms of employment contract, job qualification, field and required skill level. The data set also contains information about socio-demographic variables such as age, education, nationality.

You can try the online application with this dataset.

The used data set, in TSV format, is available at this link.

This data set is provided “as is” only for testing purposes, CRISP is owner of all copyrights.

posted by Michele Mauri
Thursday, September 1st, 2011

CIID Summer School

Summer is over. It’s time to work on new amazing projects but first we would like to tell you a summer experience of two of us.
We (Michele Mauri and Giorgio Uboldi), went to Copenaghen for 2 weeks of summer school at the CIID (Copenaghen Institute of Interaction Design), attending the “Computational Design” and the “Physical Computing” workshops with participants from all around the world.
The workshops followed the ‘learning by doing’ philosophy of the School, encouraging participants to discover the potential of generative design and the fascinating world of programming (through the use of Processing and Arduino).

During the first week, held by Patrick Kochlik of The Product*, we experimented the potential of Processing through a series of really process oriented assignments. The aim of the exercises was to translating simple data from an input medium (usually an image) to a series of static and interactive outputs exploring their aesthetic. A new way for us to think about data and how to visualize them.

Then we faced the “Physical Computing” workshop with Massimo Banzi, the co-founder of the Arduino project. During five intensive days of work we played around with sensors, motors, cables and code discovering the possibilities of tangible user interfaces. We learned how to hack and reusing existing hardwares to build small “living” objects. It’s been a great opportunity for us, used to moving pixels on a screen everyday, to use our hands to build “real” products able to capture data from the environment…and after all how Banzi says “I’ts easy!!”.

We would like to thank :
our teammates (Michael-Owen Liston, Gijs Huisman, Kostadinos Frantzis and Claus Cramer-Petersen, and all the wonderful people we met during the workshop)
Patrick Kochlik and Massimo Banzi
the CIID and especially Alie Rose for the perfect organizations of the Summer School
posted by Donato Ricci
Saturday, July 9th, 2011

The few differences between Fineo and ParSets

In the last days some discussions about the affinity between Fineo and ParSets have been arised. Here are just a few notes about why they look similar but they are conceptually very different.

The main difference between Fineo and ParSets is the way they manage the relations between data dimensions, from one axis to the other. Fineo works by comparing two dimensions at the time without caring about other dimensions (the previous and the next ones). The other way around (the ParSets’s one) more information is shown at the expense of readability. But this is the same old trade-off.
read more…

posted by Donato Ricci
Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Bend your data

You have always dreamt drawing amazing Sankey diagram.
You always wondered how we could managed them in our works.
You probably don’t even know that the Captain Sankey had four names.
And yet you surely know everything about Napoleon’s invasion of Russia.
One day Minard’s diagram began it all and, ever since, you desired to draw it yourself.
Life is strange, don’t tell us.
Fineo, the best tool to create Sankey diagrams.

Try it. Now.

or read more about it

posted by Luca Masud
Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

New project: Greenpeace McKinsey’s MAC Curve

For the second time we are very proud to present you another work done with Greenpeace UK. While last time it was about Tunas, this time the visualization represents the issues of the Marginal Abatement Cost Curve used by Governments to take action against environmental pollution. The point is… the curve is only a simplicistic approach to the pollution issue and should not be used to take such important measures.

You can read about the project in the research section!

posted by Luca Masud
Thursday, April 21st, 2011

New Project: Expo 2015 Themes Visualization

Expo 2015 Themes Visualization

As many of you already know the Universal Exposition will come back to Milan in 2015, after 109 years, and if we couldn’t help back then we tried our best this time! Food will be the next Expo theme and given its complexity Expo 2015 S.p.A. asked DensityDesign to make sense of it by means of a visualization.
You can check it out here.
Good read!