National Map of Shared Services

The Local Government Association have used Googlemaps to visualise shared services  throughout England as shown in the map below.

Although shared services may not be suitable for every council or for that matter every service, the drastic public sector cuts we are witnessing mean major changes for every Local Authority. A search of the Guardian’s Government Computing web pages show how many councils are planning or implementing shared services

The colours on the map indicate which service is being shared, the stars indicate operational shared services.

The interactive map and the source data can be accessed via the LGA’s website

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New Year Resolutions

For many 2012 will start with the usual New Year’s resolutions, Teresa Wozniak an Illustrator from Halifax, Canada produced the poster shown below with a few suggestions.

I didn’t really make any resolutions but finish every book you have started reading and spend more time behind the camera rang a few bells with me.

In case you are wondering what bangs refers to, I think it’s an american/canadian term for your fringe!




















Jocely K Glei Editor of 99% provides a different perspective on the process of making New Years Resolutions. have also produced a visual guide to New Year’s resolutions using US data.

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The 10,000 Hour Rule

10,000 hours is believed by many to be the magic number of hours needed to become an expert or the best in a particular field.

Malcolm Gladwell discusses the 10,000 hour rule in his book Outliers, Gladwell states “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing that makes you good”. In other words becoming an expert is not about innate talent but rather about how much dedication you have to continue practicing a skill or a profession.

Gladwell is interviewed about his book and the 10,000 hour rule in this video clip.

Gladwell’s book cites K A Ericsson a Pschologist at Florida and his colleagues who produced a study called ‘The Acquisition of Expert Performance and Deliberate Practice’. Ericsson and his colleagues studied musicians at Berlin’s Elite Academy of Music. They grouped the violinist into three groups – those unlikely to play professionally, good and world class. They all started to play violin at about the same age but those who became the best increased the amount of practice as they got older.

The diagram below summarises some of their findings.

Source: K. A. Ericsson, Krampe, R. T., & Tesch-Römer, C. (1993). The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological Review, 100(3), 363-406

Not everyone will want or need to become an expert in their field however the old saying ‘practice makes perfect’ does seem to be true.

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Painting by numbers

The London Transport Museum has a new exhibition of posters which opens on the 6th January 2012 called Painting by Numbersas the title suggests the exhibition focuses on how graphic design was used to communicate statistics.

The example below was produced by Alfred Leete in 1915, an Illustrator who also produced the famous war poster of Lord Kitchener. The poster below makes a simple comparison of speeds  between the Underground and it’s competitors.

One of the other posters featured in the exhibition (shown below) looked familiar to me, then I realised I had seen a redesign of a very similar graphic earlier in the year.  It just goes to show there really is nothing new under the Sun!

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A free tool to help map your thoughts

Freemind is an open source software package which allows the user to map out ideas (or mindmap) projects or thoughts visually.

The software is relatively easy to use, create new branches using the return key, drag and drop or use ctrl + arrows to change the order.

I produced the simple example below to illustrate the issues to consider prior to launching a community on CoP within a few minutes of using the software.

The idea is shown in the centre with the various goals on the left and the questions I asked myself on the right.

There are a number of video tutorials to help you learn how to use freemind on youtube

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Social Media Visualised

The Global Web Index Lite has been created by Trend Stream to visualise social media profiles.

The user selects the relevant country, gender, age group and behaviour, a simple browser is then used to provide the results. The example below is the ‘lite’ version, more detailed data is available but I assume it will be at a cost.

The Global Web Index is one example of a number of interactive data visualisation tools which are appearing on the horizon. The developers have done a great job of making this tool intuitive and easy on the eye without over complicating the graphics.

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Quick Response Codes

I have yet to experience the power of QR (Quick Response) codes as I still don’t own a smart phone.

Quick Response codes are 2D barcodes first created in Japan to track car components.

Scanning a QR code using a smartphone (plus a QR app) delivers information directly to your phone such as taking you to a companies website or providing you with directions to an event.

Nick Wellington recently posted a question on the Information Graphics and Visualisation Community asking about the imaginitive uses of QR codes by councils.

Nick’s question raised another question in my mind, what is the strangest use of a QR code? A quick search of the internet provided several examples, this was the strangest!

The Quick Response Infographic below was produced by topseoliverpool

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