14 fantastic examples of complex data visualized

By 2015, the global annual rate of data production is expected to reach 5.6 zettabytes, double the rate of growth in 2012, according to IDC.

That’s a lot of information to digest, especially in black-and-white typeface or an unattractive, 50-page PDF. Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text which makes it much easier for people to understand the significance of data.

Patterns, trends and correlations that might go undetected in text-based data can be exposed and recognized easier with data visualizations.

But regardless of the fact that,, complex data visualizations can still be confusing.

In this post, we’re going to break down 14 fantastic examples of complex data visualized. Here we go.

1. Bloomberg Billionaires: Today’s ranking of the world’s richest people

Richest People

What is it?

This interactive index is a daily ranking of the world’s richest people. It is a dynamic measure of the world’s wealthiest based on market changes, the economy and Bloomberg News stories. The data is updated Monday through Friday at 5:30 p.m. EST.

Where is the data from?

To learn more about how this data is collected and compiled, click here.


Bloomberg makes the data easy to navigate by: rank, plot or map. You can filter searches by:

  • Industries
  • Citizenships
  • Genders
  • Ages
  • Sources of wealth

Click on the heads of these billionaires and up pops information on that particular person.

2. Bloomberg Best (and Worst)

Best and Worst

What is it?

You haven’t seen a lot of data until you’ve seen Bloomberg Best (and Worst) data visualization, which showcases data that has been analyzed, organized and visualized by the Bloomberg Rankings team. The visualizations only include transparent, fact-driven data that has not been editorially-adjusted or opinion-based data.

Where is the data from?

This data has been analyzed, organized and visualized by the Bloomberg Rankings team.


You may sort by topics, which include the following:

  • Business
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Investing
  • Lifestyle
  • Personal Finance
  • Politics & Policy

Or you may also sort by entities, which include:

  • Careers
  • Companies
  • Investments
  • People
  • Places
  • Schools
  • Other

3. State-by-State

State By State

What is it?

State-by-State visualizes the current and historical economic data and analytics about the U.S. It is based on the Economic Health Index, and it includes the latest state unemployment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is updated monthly. The visualization also includes information on housing, health care, energy production, demographics and more.

Where is the data from?

According to the site, “State-by-State visualizes current and historical economic data and analytics about the U.S. Based on the Economic Health Index, State-by-State includes the latest state unemployment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (updated monthly), as well as state data on housing, health care, energy production, demographics and more.”


You can rank any set of states across selected data sets and view trends over time. The data dates back to 2000.

4. The dude map: How Americans refer to their bros

Dude Map

What is it?

This is a funny visualization of how common the word “dude” is in the US now. It highlights in which part of the U.S. “dude” is more popular than others, where they actually use “pal” or “buddy” more.

Where is the data from?

Location data attached to tweets.


Filter the map by “bro,” “buddy,” “dude,” “fella” and “pal.”

5. #Everyday Moments Beta

Everyday Moments

What is it?

Twitter created this interactive visualization that shows Tweets about everyday moments in United Kingdom and Ireland over the span of a normal week. This isn’t a real-time graphic. It only shows Tweets shared between Jan. 1, 2014 and Jan. 4, 2014 at an increased pace.

Where is the data from?

Geotagged Tweets from the UK & ireland – this data is from users that opt-in to geotag their Tweets and is a small percentage of the total volume Tweets.


You can explore conversations on the following topics:

  • Morning
  • Transportation
  • Food & Drink
  • Pets
  • Music
  • Snacks
  • Recreation
  • Family Activities
  • Adjectives
  • Education
  • Sport
  • Exercise
  • Holiday
  • Work
  • TV
  • Night

6. Retail in Real Time

Retail In Real-Time

What is it?

This visualization gives you a glimpse of how and where we spend our cash in the US, showing us just how quickly these numbers increase. Retale created it because they were interested in what a visualization of popular US consumer spending would look like.

Where is the data from?

To learn more about where this data is from, see the references drop-down at the bottom of this page.


Check out the different categories, which include:

  • Printed books
  • Ebooks
  • McDonalds
  • Smartphones
  • Walmart
  • Amazon
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Starbucks
  • Best Buy
  • 7-Eleven
  • Credit card transactions
  • Coca-cola servings
  • Coupons
  • Lottery
  • Apparel
  • Pet food
  • Baby food
  • Toys
  • Firearms

7. A Light Year

Light Year

What is it?

This website is like a day calendar, showcasing the objects that a beam of light might pass by, when traveling from the sun, in a straight line, for one year.

Where is the data from?

Not specified.

8. Pistats.io

Uber Maps

What is it?

I like this super simple data visualization tool that actually uses your information. By logging in with your gmail account, the tool:

  • Calculates your monthly spendings on Uber and Lyft
  • Tells you which days you take Uber or Lyft the most
  • Shows you the rides you’ve taken on a map

Where is the data from?

Pistats.io fetches all Lyft and Uber receipts from your GMail account and transforms them into a unique data set.

9. Major League Baseball Franchise Valuations


What is it?

This visualization is the result of nine months of work by Bloomberg News. It’s a breakdown of how the different teams stack up against each other. What are the elements that compose the value of the league’s 30 teams?

  • Baseball activities
  • Enterprise value
  • Concessions, parking
  • Cable TV
  • Digital media
  • Confidence ratings

Where is the data from?

According to the site, “In calculating Major League Baseball team values, Bloomberg News examines revenue from tickets sales, concessions, sponsorships and broadcast rights, as well as interests in TV channels, radio stations and real estate.”

10. College Speaker Fees

College Speaker Fees

What is it?

Based on Bloomberg research, the visualization shows how much university speakers charge in Florida, which has been scrutinized by students.

Where is the data from?

The source for this data is listed as being from Bloomberg research.

11. The Map of the Internet

Internet Map

What is it?

“The Internet map is a bi-dimensional presentation of links between websites on the Internet. Every site is a circle on the map, and its size is determined by website traffic, the larger the amount of traffic, the bigger the circle. Users’ switching between websites forms links, and the stronger the link, the closer the websites tend to arrange themselves to each other.”

Where is the data from?

Balloons show actual statistics from Alexa.

12. Redditviz

Reddit Viz

What is it?

Redditviz is an interactive map of Reddit, the front page of the Internet. Because Reddit is so large there are some sections you may never stumble upon. This visualization is a map of subreddits connected, based on actual user behavior – much more effective than going by the Reddit sidebar. The algorithm tracked where users posted across their networks for eight months. If there was a big enough trend – for instance 1,000 people posted to two subreddits regularly – the algorithm made the connection between those subreddits on their map.

Where is the data from?

To learn more about how this data was collected and compiled, click here.

13. Renting vs. Buying

Renting vs Buying

What is it?

New York Times Graphic Department Editor and Creator of D3.js Mike Bostock designed an interactive data calculator that provides a cost v. benefit analysis for people considering purchasing homes. The visualization considers the most important costs associated with home buying and calculates the monthly rent equivalent.

Where is the data from?

The sources for this data are listed as Mark Zandi, Chief Economist, Moody’s Analytics; Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Jonathan J. Miller, Miller Samuel Inc. To learn more, click here.

14. An Interactive Visualization of NYC Streets

NYC Streets

What is it?

This visualization is a result of its creators’ curiosity to know what the most common and not-so common trees were in the five boroughs of NYC. It pulls data from NYC Open Data.

Where is the data from?

This vizualization was compiled using NYC Open Data. Click here to learn more.

Which interesting data visualizations did we miss? Tell us in the comments below. We love seeing how complex data can be beautifully visualized! #dataisbeautiful



Pingback: 14 Fantastic Examples of Complex Data Visualized - Responster

Well, I only see maybe 3 fantastic examples: the Internet, Redditz,and possibly the NYC tree.

The others are hardly either fantastic or complex. How is a compilation of speaker fees in Florida complex?

I just don’t see it.

Complex is right. Though interesting, for the sake of not getting sucked into a time warp I won’t click on any of these 🙂

Thanks for cool new tools though!

I wonder why there are so many spnelpmeuts to take with the Gabriel Method. Surely if we eat the healthy well balanced food then we should not need these expensive spnelpmeuts.

The complex nature of the data we now see visualized will be able to enable many hypothesis to determine even newer ways that using the visualization can improve outcomes. What a great step to combine the new technology with basic learning systems to provide new ways of looking for insights which leads to even more new knowledge.

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