Data Stories #51: Smart Cities w/ Dietmar Offenhuber

Hi Folks!

Dietmar Offenhuber

We have another great guest on the show. Dietmar Offenhuber visits us to talk about smart cities and visualizing data coming from cities.

Dietmar has an interesting background. He has a background in architecture with a Dipl. Ing. from the Technical University Vienna and then he got a MS in Media Arts and Sciences from the MIT Media Lab and a PhD in Urban Planning from MIT. He’s also been a key researcher at Ars Electronica Futurelab.

Now he is an Assistant Professor at Northeastern University in the departments of Art + Design and Public Policy, where he does research on the technological and social aspects of smart cities and urban governance.

In the show we talk about many of his super interesting projects such as Wegzeit  (timespace visualizations of LA) and Trash Track (on tracking and visualizing where garbage goes), and interesting concepts such as Accountability Technologies and Infrastructure Legibility. We also talk about the future of smart cities and what we should expect to get our of smart cities.

Enjoy the show!


(Moritz Launched ON BROADWAY with Lev Manovich, Dominikus Baur, Daniel Goddemeyer)

Our Guest: Dietmar Offenhuber
Arts Electronica Future Lab
MIT Senseable City Lab
Northeastern University Department of Art + Design
Wegzeit – timespace visualizations of LA
Comment Flow (social media visualization)
Semaspace (graph editing tool)
Trash Track (tracking and visualizing trash)
Smartcitizen (distributed crowdsourced sensors)
Bill Mitchell (MIT Media Lab Professor of Architecture and Media Arts and Sciences)
Mapping the archive (project with Dietmar and Moritz on the Arts Electronica Archive)
Dietmar’s Interview: Sorting Out Cities
Deitmar’s Book: Inscribing A Square (how urban data shapes public space / discourse, and what kinds of representations are involved, and what is their function)
Dietmar’s Book: Accountability Technologies – Tools for Asking Hard Questions
Dietmar’s Book: Decoding The City

Data Stories #50: Happy Birthday Data Stories!

Ah! We made it to 50 episodes and three years of this lovely podcast of ours. We have loved every bit of it, every guest, every single discussion and all the support we received from everyone.

For this episode we asked repeatedly to submit a short audio snippet or text and we received a few amazing ones. We are very grateful to you all guys, this is amazing.

In the episode we talk about a few statistics we extracted on episodes with highest number of listeners and blog posts with highest number of visits. We then read the text messages we received. And finally we have inserted the audio messages we received. THANKS A LOT! This is amazing.

P.S. Special thanks to Erik Jacobson for his amazing collage! :)


Most popular episodes (of about the last 12 months)

Data Stories #39: DensityDesign w/ Paolo Ciuccarelli
Data Stories #38: Visual Complexity w/ Manuel Lima
Data Stories #40: Narrative Visualization Research w/ Jessica Hullman
Data Stories #44: w/ Tamara Munzner

Most popular pages:

Data Stories #5 – How To Learn Data Visualization (with Andy Kirk)
Data Stories #22: NYT Graphics and D3 with Mike Bostock and Shan Carter
Data Stories #35: Visual Storytelling w/ Alberto Cairo and Robert Kosara

Podcast recommendations:

Talking Machines (on Machine Learning)
Theory Of Everything
Song Exploder
Reply All



Data Stories #49: Data Journalism at ProPublica w/ Scott Klein

Hi everyone,

In this episode we have Scott Klein from ProPublica with us. ProPublica is a nonprofit organization that does investigative journalism and Scott directs a team of data journalists and programmers to create new applications based on data and data visualization.

In the show we talk about how ProPublica works and what challenges they are confronted with. How do you pick a story? How do you develop it? How do you make sure you are not making mistakes? This are some of the questions we discuss. We also talk about tools and libraries and how to train yourself to become a data journalist.

This was a very much needed episode as we never had a proper episode on data journalism. Thanks Scott for coming on the show!


ProPublica’s Dollars for Docs
Book: How Not To Be Wrong by Jordan Ellenberg
PDF Scraping Tool: Tabula (
The IPython Notebook (web-based interactive computational environment)
ProPublica’s Open Source Tools
The New School’s Program Journalism + Design
The ProPublica Nerd Blog
Knight-Mozilla Open News (community of data journalists)
NICAR-L Mailing List (National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting)

Leave A Message To Say Happy Birthday To Data Stories!

Hi everyone, we just marked our third birthday and, coincidentally, we are also going to mark our 50th episode! It’s been such a great journey for everyone.

For our 50th episode we’d like to collect messages from our listeners. We’ll select the funniest ones. So it’s up to you to make us laugh! :)

Please state your name in the message and let us know about you Data Stories listening habits (some people listen to us in some very weird conditions).

To leave a message you can:

  1. Call our Google Voice number (347) 881-3740 and leave a voice mail message (let it ring until the voicemail starts).
  2. Record a snipped from your computer and send it to us as a dropbox link (or similar solutions) to:
  3. You can always send us an email to and we will read it for you.

Hurry up! That’s going to be fun!

Data Stories #48 Vis Going Mainstream w/ Stamen’s CEO Eric Rodenbeck

Eric-Rodenbeck-blackandwhiteGreat episode here folks! We have Stamen‘s CEO Eric Rodenbeck on the show to talk about “Visualization Going Mainstream”. Moritz took inspiration from Eric’s Eyeo talk “And Then There Were Twelve – How to (keep) running a successful data visualization and design studio.” and decided he must come on the show.

Stamen is a design studio in San Francisco founded in 2001 by Eric. They have been real pioneers in data visualization and cartographic mapping with the production of great apps and libraries such as Pretty Maps, Trulia Hindsight, Crimespotting and many many more. (See also our episode with Mike Migurski)

With Eric we discuss a broad range of important topics including: how to manage a vis business, how to have an impact with visualization and visualization success stories.

Enjoy the show!


Data Stories #47: Moritz and Enrico on Books, Data Literacy, Their Projects, Etc.

[We are now sponsored by Qlik. You can download it for free here]

Hi Folks,

This is some kind of new experiment: it’s just us, Enrico and Moritz, on the show. We talk about stuff we normally don’t have the opportunity to talk about when we have a guest. We feel it’s nice to have from time to time something different. We hope you like this new format!

In this episode we talk about some books we like and suggest, updates on some of our work, and about data literacy. If you want to suggest something to talk about in future episodes like this feel free to drop us a line on twitter, facebook, as a comment to this episode or via email.


Data Stories #46 — Year 2014 Review w/ Robert Kosara and Andy Kirk

Hey yo! We have two classic guests for a classic episode: a year review with Robert Kosara and Andy Kirk. We talk about what happened in visualization in 2014 and what may happen in 2015. We start the show saying that nothing really special happened but then you’ll see we cover a lot of ground and end up deciding a lot happened eventually! You can see that from our long list of links. Enjoy the show!


Data Stories #45: With Nicholas Felton

Happy new year, everyone!

We start 2015 with a bang, and have Nicholas Felton on the show. We talk about his personal annual reports, typography, privacy, and how we all deal with data and tracking today. Great conversation.

One more link we only found later: Practical Typography is a great starting point for anyone who would like to learn more about typography and type.

Thanks again to Tableau Software for sponsoring the show! Check out the free trial they have, it’s a great piece of software.

And, in other news: We are looking for support with the audio editing! So, if you have some experience with audio editing podcasts, and could also imagine to help us with collection the links and titling the chapters etc, this would be great. We can offer a small compensation, too. And, of course, you’re among the very first people worldwide to listen to the new Data Stories recordings :)

Next week, we will record a 2014 review with a few of the usual suspects. What moved you this year? Leave us a comment or tweet us!

Data Stories #44: w/ Tamara Munzner

munzner-2014-headshotHi Folks! We have Prof. Tamara Munzner from University of British Columbia with us in this episode. Tamara is one of the most prominent figures in visualization research. She has done tons of interesting work starting from the nineties (look into her publications page) including the famous “Nested Model of Visualization Design” and her numerous design studies work, like the excellent “Overview“, a tool for journalistic investigative analysis. We also talk about her new book “Visualization Analysis and Design“. Finally a textbook teaching how to create visualization tools for analysis purposes!

Enjoy the show!


Data Stories #43: IEEE VIS’14

It took us a while, but — here we go! A three part episode from IEEE VIS 2014.

Thanks again to Robert Kosara for coming on our show again to talk shop, and look back on a week full of really interesting scientific findings about data visualization. The list below should make great reading for the holidays :)

A big thanks also to our sponsor Tableau Software who continue to support us, which we are very grateful for.

Here are some of the links we discussed:

Everything except the chart

“Multivariate Network Exploration and Presentation: From Detail to Overview via Selections and Aggregations”
Domino: Extracting, Comparing, and Manipulating Subsets across Multiple Tabular Datasets

Revisiting Bertin matrices: New Interactions for Crafting Tabular Visualizations

Semiology of graphics

iVisDesigner: Expressive Interactive Design of Information Visualizations

The Effects of Interactive Latency on Exploratory Visual Analysis

Error Bars Considered Harmful: Exploring Alternate Encodings for Mean and Error

Four Experiments on the Perception of Bar Charts

An Algebraic Process for Visualization Design

The Not-so-Staggering Effect of Staggered Animated Transitions on Visual Tracking

Combing the Communication Hairball: Visualizing Large-Scale Parallel Execution Traces using Logical Time

Perceptual Kernels
Data and source code:

Ranking Visualization of Correlation Using Weber’s Law

A Principled Way of Assessing Visualization Literacy

Barbara Tversky

Scott McCloud

Let us know your thoughts! Which study did you find most interesting?