Tag Archives: Visu

LIFT09: Visualizing City Dynamics (Updated)

There were two neat presentations on data visualization of communication dynamics in urban environments. The first, by Stéphane Distinguin from UrbanMobs, included the following visualization of text messages sent throughout Paris during World Music Day:

The visualization below is of “mobile phone calls in Barcelona during the European Football Championship 2008 final and the day after the victory. You can easily notice the different game phases: kick off, half time, goal, end of the match and celebration of the Spanish team victory.”

Carlo Ratti from MIT’s SENSEable City Lab also gave a really neat talk on dynamic visualizations within cities and the patterns that arise.


Carlo showed engaging visualizations are a series of cities. Take the Real Time Rome project which aggregated data from mobile phones over different periods in Rome. The video represents the communication patterns across Rome during a Madonna concert.

Time zones influence the global rhythm of communications. In the video below, international calls between New York and 255 countries are visualized over a 24-hour period. “Areas of the world receiving and making fewer phone calls shrink while areas experiencing a greater amount of voice call activity expand.”

Carlo also showed an animation of “The Water Pavilion” located at the entrance to Expo Zaragoza 2008. Carlo and his team wanted to convey the sense of water in digital terms and therefore designed an interactive building made of water. Think of digital water like an inkjet printer on a large scale but with water instead of ink.

Patrick Philippe Meier