Data Visualization is a hobby of mine. I’ve got Visualizing Data and The Elements of Graphing Data by William S. Cleveland sitting just a few feet away from me. They really are two of the best books on presenting information that you can buy.
When small sets of data are presented it is often in a simple report or maybe a chart. But how do you present 5 plus years of data between 620,000 lenders and 615,000 borrowers? That’s 4,033,920 loan connections! While a simple report or chart can easily convey high level summary information of vast amounts of information, adding animation for time and color for categorization really makes the data come alive.
This video shows a great way to do just that. Color and animation really elevates the simple data (This lender sent money to this borrower on this date, and this borrower repaid their loan on this date) into information. I find this fascinating to watch. Beware, there is sound so if you are checking out Cars and Code from work you might want to turn down your speakers or mute them. The video looks great in full screen on a big monitor in High Def. You have to go to the Vimeo site to watch it in HD. Just hover over the video and click the word Vimeo and it will take you to a page where you can watch this in HD. I love the explosion of loans that happens in the fall of 2006 when Kiva is shown on Frontline.
BTW, a few of those loans are mine. Kiva is a great site that allows borrows and lenders to connect. Kiva takes nothing from the money you lend and charges nothing to the field partners who handle the borrowers loans. Kiva is supported by optional donations and from grants, corporate sponsors, and foundations. Kiva has recently added the ability for borrowers in the US to hook up with Kiva lenders worldwide. You can join a Kiva team which is kind of fun. The team can set goals and discuss who they are lending to and why.
The best data visualizations are ones where the viewer changes their behavior. If you are not a member of Kiva, why not get started with Kiva today?