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"it's a really great example of how someone
is using data to create new value."

- Andrew Odewahn, Director of Business Development at O’Reilly Media

"data visualization wizards…"

- Glenn Derene, Senior Technical Editor, Popular Mechanics

Society of Publication Designers Gold Medal Award Winner!

Category: Digital, Tablet Rich Media/Infographics
46th Annual Awards

Gizmodo App of The Day!

A Living Infographic

When the first iPad was scheduled for launch in 2010, Hearst's Popular Mechanics wanted to own the moment. Some magazines chose to wait and see. Others used various frameworks to replicate their print content on the tablet. PopMech built their own app from scratch, before the iPad had even been released. They knew that maximum engagement meant more than delivering print content on a screen.

Senior staff called on Cousins & Sears to create an interactive centerpiece to the issue. It would accompany an editorial piece about earthquakes. Together, the continuous availability of data from the US Geological Survey and the available historical data created an ideal data foundation.

We conceptualized a visualization that revealed not only an earthquake's location on the map, but also its depth under the ground. An earthquake's depth is an important but oft-overlooked component to its impact on human activity.

As is often the case, we then looked for other dimensions that could be crossed with and amplify the story in the core dataset. In this case, we realized that cities, their population and their density were key components of the real story of an earthquake. The visualization takes advantage of the third dimension to represent this information. Twenty-five towers extend from the surface. The height of a tower represents the population of a city. The density of moving elements inside each tower reveals the density of people living in that city.

The issue refreshes with new data when it is available. It shows this up-to-date information alongside the historical record of the 10 largest record earthquakes in the US.

Audiences and critics loved it (Gizmodo | AOL Daily Finance). They praised the continued relevance and value it brought to the issue. The visualization went on to win the Society of Publication Designers Gold Medal in Tablet Rich Media & Infographics.

Finding and telling stories in data isn't just for the mainstream media. We've worked with organizations in almost any industry you can imagine to help discover, highlight and communicate the stories in their data. Whether for public consumption or internal intelligence, the untapped potential in big data is enormous and grows bigger every day.

Contact us for help unleashing it.

Original Code Sketches

Here are some stills of the original Processing-based code sketches for this piece.

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