Data is art

I’ve recently been to some pretty inspiring events on data visualisation. Seeing information presented in striking, unusual and engaging ways is really exciting. There is a lot of detailed data out in the world, and a lot of different ways to make it accessible, beautiful and fun. Data visualisation skills are essential in conservation biology, a field in which communicating results to a wide audience effectively is really important.  There are a lot of info-graphics out there that immediately look exciting and then actually turn out to be confusing, or complicated and over-enthusiastically multicoloured, but luckily there’s a good number of really excellent graphics too.

Here are some of the things I’ve recently found and enjoyed looking at…

Carbon emissions by Stanford Kay, a pretty classic infographic:

Carbon Footprint

An infographic history of the world by valentinadefilippo highlighting how much of life is made up of single-celled organisms:

A reimagined periodic table by stefanie posavec showing similarities between different elements:


OneZoom is an impressive (although occasionally nauseating) fractal zooming tour of the history of the natural world:

The field of commemoration and listen-to-wikipedia-being-created-in-real-time are stunning entries into last years information is beautiful awards:

And if enjoying the images isnt enough… there are some big pots of money out there for the winners of data-vis challenges:

Landscapes for people, food and nature

I was invited to write a blog piece on our riparian reserve research for the Landscapes for Food, People and Nature Initiative.


The initiative fosters cross-sectoral dialogue, learning and action to improve food sustainability and biodiversity conservation. The partners involved include UNEP, the World Resources Institute, The World Agroforestry Centre, Conservation International and several others. Their aim is “to understand and support integrated agricultural landscape approaches to simultaneously meet goals for food production, ecosystem health and human wellbeing.” They are carrying out a global review of knowledge on integrated sustainable land management, through which they put people in touch with a wider range of beneficiaries of ecosystem services and help establish new institutions to manage rural and urban landscapes. 

My post “Assessing sustainable palm oil production with the help of dung beetles” has just gone out on their website.