The Art of Data Visualization: Program

Download the print program here.


Tuesday, April 5th

Location: Davis Auditorium (Room 412 Schapiro CEPSR)

2:00 PM - 2:15 PM
2:15 PM - 3:15 PM

Visualizing a World in Motion: Designing for Real-Time Data, Keynote by: Martin Wattenberg

Description: Change is the only constant, for data as well as the world. I'll discuss a series of visualizations that show the world in motion, over time scales ranging from seasons to days to minutes. I'll also talk about ways to make visualization fast--and even automatic--so that as new data comes in it's easy for anyone, even laypeople, to gain insight. The design processes and patterns used in these examples are likely to be applicable in other contexts where data is live and messy.

3:15 PM - 4:00 PM
Networking & Light Refreshment  


Wednesday, April 6th

Location: Davis Auditorium (Room 412 Schapiro CEPSR)

10:00 AM - 10:45 AM

The Evolution of Insect Images, Presentation by: Joseph Parker

Description: The forms of biological structures reflect their functions as well as their past evolutionary histories. Yet, for some primeval reason, at every scale the natural world appears beautiful to the human eye. As a consequence, the field of biology is an inherently aesthetic discipline, and central to the discipline’s own evolution has been the continued development of new ways for depicting the intricacies of biological entities. In this talk, I focus on a branch of biology fixated on the very small: entomology. From historical scientific drawings of insects to modern laser confocal microscopy and micro-CT, the arsenal of illustration and visualization methods at the entomologist’s disposal has grown. Details of morphology, patterns of gene expression during embryonic development, and internal structures of fossil insects can be revealed that were unimaginable to the 19th century entomologist.

Video of The Evolution of Insect Images

10:50 AM - 11:35 AM

Activity Mapping, Presentation by: Juan Francisco

Description: Foursquare check-ins? Citibike rides? Open data can tell us a lot about our cities and how we use them: what we think of them, how we feel about them and how we live in them. In this talk we will present two research projects that use this data to explore and understand how people live in New York. We will analyze check-in data from Foursquare and Facebook to examine how social media activity relates to socio-economic factors and what this kind of data can tell us about how people feel about the modern city. We will also analyze Citibike ride data visualizing the imbalance problems the system faces. All of this, while also exploring multiple ways of representing spatial data.

Video of Activity Mapping

11:45 AM - 12:30 PM

Encoding Ambiguity: Visualizing Qualitative Relationships and Uncertain Values, Presentation by: Emily Fuhrman

Description: The practice of data visualization rests on visual disambiguation. Information graphics employ solid lines, defined shapes, and familiar approaches to dividing up a plane that assume the stability of the represented data. More often than not, however, the data itself is mutable, imperfect, and more prone to interpretation than it appears. This talk will address the risks of adopting certain visual conventions, the implications of specific visual methods, and some practical approaches toward ensuring transparency and accountability in data visualization.

Video of Encoding Ambiguity: Visualizing Qualitative Relationships and Uncertain Values

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM Light Refreshment
1:30 PM - 2:15 PM Mapping LGBT Communities, Now and Then, Presentation by: Jeff Ferzoco

Description: This talk will provide reasons for and the process behind, the challenges of the amateur historian, and the possible locations of new NYC gay neighborhoods. This talk will go into some technical detail behind mapping and explore why mapping it is important to the community.

Video of Mapping LGBT Communities, Now and Then

2:25 PM - 3:25 PM

Smart Maps, Insights, and Data Visualization at Esri, Presentation by: Dr. Mark Harrower, Mapping and Visualization Expert

Description: As the the lines between GIS, data visualization, spatial analytics, and story telling become increasingly blurred, a number of ongoing projects at Esri are exploring what it means to ask questions and generate answers using a new generation of highly interactive, ’smart’ mapping technologies and data exploration tools. This talk will showcase some of this work while connecting it back to larger themes and common challenges that cut across much geographic visualization and web technology today.

Video of Smart Maps, Insights, and Data Visualization at Esri


A series of consecutively occurring hands-on workshops with software provided by the Columbia University Libraries.

Events are limited to Columbia Affiliates Only.

UPDATE: Due to overwhelming interest, these events are currently full.

Thursday, April 7th

Lehman Library, Group Study Room 3
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Downloading API data through Python, Led by: Juan Francisco Saldarriaga

Description: This workshop will introduce you to basic Python programing and to social media APIs. Students will learn how to write basic Python code to import data, query API's and extract information, and export the results in formats that can be used for analysis or mapping.

11:35 AM - 12:35 PM
Mapping and Visualization with CartoDB, Led by: Jeff Ferzoco and Andy Eschbacher  
12:40 PM - 1:40 PM

Choropleth Mapping, Led by: Eric Glass

Description: This hands-on workshop will introduce cartographic design principles and techniques for symbolizing quantitative data using color.

1:45 PM - 2:45 PM Web GIS – The Power of Analyzing and Visualizing Locations, Led by: Dave LaShell, Esri  
Location: Science & Engineering Library, Innovation Space
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

3D Data Visualization from Scratch with Processing, Led by: Eamonn Bell

Description: This workshop introduces the Processing programming language, focusing on its 3d drawing functionality.  We will also learn how to consume and handle data from external sources in Processing, and how to organize a large Processing sketch by applying the principes of object-oriented design. Please BYOD and install the Processing IDE before arriving:

11:35 AM - 12:35 PM

Molecular Modeling, Led by Philip Rodenbough

Description: We will cover the use of database information to extract molecular models which can then be edited using open source tools to generate digital 3D models, which can then be printed on a 3D printer for educational and display purposes. We will use VESTA and Blender in this workshop.

Location:   Butler Library, Room 203
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

An Introduction to the D3.js Library, Led by: Emily Fuhrman

Description: At the root of complex visualizations are simple, data-driven shapes. This workshop will provide a simple introduction to the basics of the D3.js JavaScript library, providing participants with the foundation to begin building web-based interactive visualizations from custom datasets. Basic knowledge of HTML and JavaScript recommended.

11:35 AM - 12:35 PM

Location Extraction and Georeferencing with Python and QGIS, Led by: Phillip Robert Polefrone

Description: Literary mapping presents exciting possibilities for literary criticism, but until recently it has been held back by the need to hand-code locations. This workshop will lead participants through one method of automatically extracting and georeferencing locations from textual data using Python, NLTK, and the Geonames API. It will also discuss the possibilities of literary mapping and the many challenges that remain with automatic extraction.

Requirements: Working proficiency in Python is strongly recommended for this workshop. Users unfamiliar with Python should complete units 1-5 and 7-8 of the Codecademy Python tutorial (or equivalent) before attending. In addition, all users should install NLTK and make a Mapbox account.

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

An Introduction to Visualizing Text with Python, Led by: Jonathan Reeve

Description: Computational text analysis is a powerful tool for anyone that works with digital texts. In this workshop, participants will learn the basics of text analysis and visualization using the Python programming language and its Natural Language Processing Toolkit (NLTK). No prior programming experience is required. Participants are encouraged to install iPython 3 and the NLTK prior to the workshop, and to bring a digital text to analyze, such as a novel or collection of documents.