Stamen is a design and technology studio in San Francisco.

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Feb 13, 2010

Stamen Designs Live Twitter Visualizations of the Vancouver Olympics

I've been feeling for some time now that the data visualization space is about to go completely bananas, where "bananas" means "taken for granted" in the sense that no major cultural event will feel complete without a corresponding live data visualization. The breadth and depth of the conversation happening on twitter around the Olympics is just blowing my mind, as tragedy and farce and pop culture and stardom roll together—but remain distinct and understandable—in a display that's changing minute-by minute as I look at it.

The project is live here.

The last few weeks have been something of a whirl, as we pulled all the pieces together to make this happen. Stamen is responsible for the backend and moderation piece of the production this time (much more about this later),* so the project has pulled all the parts of the studio together in a way that's deeply satisfying. The 5 of us sitting around the same table in the big sun room, cranking like mad, sending instant messages to people sitting 2 feet from us so as not to get them too distracted, reminded me of the old days when Mike and I used to sit in a tiny room smoking cigarettes and coding our fingers off. Except now the space is nicer and bigger, we have a great support team to back us up & keep things moving smoothly, there's a whole lot less smoking going on, and—it's the Olympics!!

*The smarties at Swarm Collective are managing the content side of things, and doing a great job of it. Hire them for this kind of job if you can.