Analytics, Data Visualization

Where Do Sloanies Go After They Graduate?

It’s been a year since I graduated from the full-time MBA program at MIT Sloan and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to work as a Product Manager. I thought it would be interesting to see where Sloanies go after they graduate and, using data from a survey sent out shortly before graduation, came up with an interactive visualization: Sloanies Around the World.

Sloanies Around the World

Clicking on “USA” from the menu presents a clearer picture of where Sloanies ended up in the States:

Sloanies Around the World - USA

The top 4 cities where my classmates ended up are:

  1. Boston
  2. San Francisco Bay Area
  3. New York
  4. Seattle

It is interesting to see how post-MBA career choice determines location. I wanted to remain in software, and chose MIT because of its reputation in technology and entrepreneurship. In fact, technology is the second most popular career choice (after consulting) for Sloanies. Indeed, out of all the M7 business schools, Sloan had the highest proportion of graduates choosing technology (26%). (Source: The M7: The Super Elite Business Schools By The Numbers) For me, the Bay Area was the obvious choice even though it’s on the opposite coast. Many of my classmates echoed this sentiment, which explains San Francisco and Seattle being top post-MBA destinations.

While I’d expect this year’s graduating class to have a similar map, what would be most interesting is visualizations from other schools. I would expect to see maps for schools with a strong finance reputations like Harvard, Booth, Wharton and Columbia be much more heavily skewed towards financial centers like New York.

Data Visualization

Map-Based Visualization Revisited

In January, I created an animated visualization showing the movement of domestic flights of Indian carrier Jet Airways over the course of a day:

Al flights

The time of day is depicted using a slider that moves across horizontally over time:

Al time  

The motivation behind this visualization, besides trying to build something cool, was to showcase the capabilities of my former employer’s Geographic Map API and encourage developers to build map-based visualizations.

I am thrilled to see that a similar approach is taken by Google’s visualization of flights to and from London, which was released earlier this month:

Google flights

The time of day in this case is depicted using a simple clock:

Google time

This visualization is part of the More Than a Map website showcasing the capabilities of the Google Maps API – do check it out.

I’ve always been a big fan of Google Maps. I remember looking at the newly released Street View feature in 2007 and shaking my head in awe. And MapsGL released earlier this year produced a similar reaction.

What’s great for developers is that they can leverage all of the goodness of Google Maps via the API for free! What will you build?

Data Visualization

Chroma Chrono: Using Color to Visualize Time

The other day, it occurred to me that one of the oldest and simplest visualizations is the analog clock–it is a visualization of time using angles on a circular scale.

So, I decided to experiment with using color to visualize time and the result is Chromo Chrono:

Chroma Chrono: Using Color to Visualize Time

It comes in two flavors. This is Pulse:


A series of concentric circles, going outwards from the centre, represent the hour, minute, second and millisecond. Each circle is colored on a scale that ranges from orange to black.

Depending on whether it is AM or PM, the innermost (hour) circle, gets brighter or darker. It is orange at noon and as the day progresses, it gets darker until it is black at midnight. From midnight to noon, it get progressively brighter until it is orange at noon and the cycle starts again. 

Similarly, the minute and  second circles go from orange to black once every hour and minute respectively in the AM and in the reverse direction in the PM. The millisecond circle pulses from orange to black or vice versa once every second.

This mechanism is inspired by nature–the overall brightness of the clock is an approximation of the overall brightness of the sky.

The Kinetic works on the same principle, except it has rings instead of circles and doesn’t show milliseconds:

2 anno

The main difference, however is a guide inside of each ring that makes it easier to tell the time. In each ring, the point where the color of the ring matches the color of the guide represents the time in exactly the same way as on a traditional analog clock. These points are highlighted using green arrows. If you look at the second ring closely, you will notice that it appears to be somehow moving. This an optical illusion caused by the fact that the point at which the ring and guides match is moving around the circumference of the clock.

Data Visualization

Visualizing Jet Airways India Domestic Flight Schedules

Like most airlines, Jet Airways publishes flight schedules on their website.

I thought it would be interesting to bring these these schedules to life by creating a visualization showing flights take-off and land as the day progresses.

The result is the Infragistics Flight Watcher app, a showcase for visualizing flights schedules with the Infragistics Geographic Map 2011.2 CTP:

.NET, Data Visualization

Exploding Bubbles: Visualising Multi-dimensional Data using Infragistics Silverlight Controls (Part 1)

The Short Version

You can interact with the chart by:

  • Left-clicking on bubbles to explode them
  • Right-clicking on exploded bubbles to implode them

[Run Exploding Bubbles]

UPDATE: Exploding Bubbles was made into a showcase application by Infragistics. It was restyled and renamed to Population Explosion. The restyled version can be found here:

[Run Population Explosion]

The Long Version

In a fascinating video titled Nano-data and Now-Casting: The Analytics Revolution, MIT Sloan Professor Roberto Rigobon says,

“The world has a lot of data, now available [sic]. (But), the world has very little information.”

In a previous post, I touched upon the need for innovative ways to make meaning from the large amount of data that we have access to today and the growing importance of analytics:

“Massive amounts of data – either publicly available, or within enterprises – is a defining feature of computing today, and of growing importance for tomorrow.  In fact it’s given rise to a new discipline: data science. As the amount of data grows, traditional methods and tools for making sense of all this data break down and new innovations are necessary.”

One of the ways to understand data is interactive data visualisations. Multidimensional data is especially tricky to visualise because of the complexities of each data point, but if done properly, can provide real insight from the macro- as well as micro-level. A great example of this is the “exploding bubbles” technique, presented by Hans Rosling in a TED Talk from 2006. Look for exploding bubbles starting from around 9m30s into the video.

Inspired by this, I developed the Exploding Bubbles application using Infragistics Silverlight and Silverlight Data Visualization controls.

Here is a video of Exploding Bubbles in action:

This is what the application looks like when you first run it:


On the left you will notice a pivot grid showing multidimensional data. On the right is a bubble chart, a visualisation of that data.

The pivot grid shows global “health and wealth” statistics. The data is plotted on the chart in the following way:

  • Population is depicted by bubble size
  • GDP Per Capita is depicted on the X-axis on a logarithmic scale
  • Life Expectancy is depicted on the Y-axis on a linear scale

You can interact with the chart by:

  • Left-clicking on bubbles to explode them
  • Right-clicking on exploded bubbles to implode them

You can also interact with pivot grid by expanding or collapsing rows – the bubble chart is synchronised with the pivot grid’s data.


You can download the source code from here:

Have fun!

In following posts, I will talk about the implementation details and cover aspects of the following Infragistics controls/features:

  • Pivot Grid
  • Data Chart
  • Excel
  • Dock Manager
  • Motion Framework
  • Theming

In the meantime, for more details of what you can achieve using these and other Silverlight controls from Infragistics, you can browse through the samples and read the documentation.

Read the rest of the posts in the series:

Part 2: Data Aspects

Part 3: Visualisation Aspects

Part 4: Docking, Theming, Cloud Deployment

Data Visualization

Stats are Sexy

If you want to know what the future holds, or find out about the most brilliant and innovative work being done in any field, there is no better freely available resource than TED videos. My inevitable reaction to a new TED video is shaking my head and thinking “brilliant, just brilliant”. Like this one from Aaron Koblin, in which he talks about his works spanning data visualization, crowdsourcing, digital art and social experimentation bordering on cheekiness.

Massive amounts of data – either publicly available, or within enterprises – is a defining feature of computing today, and of growing importance for tomorrow.  In fact it’s given rise to a new discipline: data science. As the amount of data grows, traditional methods and tools for making sense of all this data break down and new innovations are necessary. A defining piece of work in data visualizations was Hans Rosling’s work on GapMinder which he presented a few years ago. The world got to know about it through TED:

At Infragistics, our product range includes general-purpose high-performance data visualization controls, making it easy for you build rich, powerful data visualizations for web, desktop and mobile applications. One of the innovative features is the Motion Framework, which allows you do visualize how data has changed over time, just like in the video above.  The WorldStats sample shows the same Gapminder data as in Hans’ video:


WorldStats uses a bubble chart, but Motion Framework can be used to automatically animate any type of chart included in our Data Visualization framework including maps!