Category Archives: visualization

Middle east, radiance 2000 vs. 2013

Urban Radiance

What have global data sets that estimate population density, economic productivity, measles outbreaks, rural poverty, resource footprints and electrification rates, urbanization and suburbanization, or average wages in common? They are all based on nighttime imagery of city lights captured by the Operational Line Scanner (OLS) sensor on the satellites from the US Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP). [Link to project] What should later become the workhorse of geographers and economists was initially a completely accidental by-product: of a cold-war era military satellite program—launched in the…

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Excavating a 2002 piece – wegzeit

An old project, part of my thesis in architecture 2002: an early web-3d visualization project introducing different cartogram techniques and methods of urban time-space representation using real-time traffic information. Since the technology used then does no longer work (virtools), I tried to salvage what still worked for the video. “When you ask someone in Los Angeles how far it is from the beach to downtown, he or she will answer with the number of minutes it generally takes to traverse the distance rather than noting…

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Urban entropy

A project for the ars electronica facade, created during a residency at ars for the connecting cities conference and the soundframe festival. My explanation from a blog post: “My project is actually quite simple. On the LED façade, I display complaints received by the city, and thus visualize in the public sphere what people are complaining about. I find this fascinating because there are now many different systems that publish such complaints on a website. But I think it’s something completely different when they’re displayed…

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Sorting Out Cities

Piece for the Geo-Cosmos display at Miraikan – the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, Tokyo. Dietmar Offenhuber & Ars Electronica Futurelab – Roland Haring, Peter Holzkorn, Andreas Jalsovec , Michael Mayr, Nicolas Naveau, Emiko Ogawa Although cities cover only a small fraction of the earth, they have a tremendous impact on the world. This theme explores how cities relate to the rest of the world in terms of the space they occupy, the people they shelter, the resources they use, the global movements…

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What do New Yorkers complain about?

Currently I am working on a comparative study of the design factors of citizen feedback systems based on the data they generate. The recent history of these systems is a tale of growing ambition. In the past decade, most large US cities have implemented non-emergency incident reporting systems via telephone helplines, websites, and recently mobile applications. During that time, 311 systems, named after the three-digit telephone number reserved for that purpose, have evolved from service hotlines to public accountability instruments, data sources for urban maintenance…

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Waste / Packaging Index

A workshop together with Pablo Rey from Basurama in the Guggenheim Lab Berlin investigating the hidden processes and stories that are embedded in consumer products. We all know how our waste looks like, but often overlook that a large part of the waste we generate is invisible. Lets say we buy an apple – sometimes wrapped in paper, sometimes not. But this paper is not the only waste generated in this transaction: we also have to count in the bag in which we carry it home,…

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Collection activity of the Cooperative, orange: collection with handcart, blue: collection with truck

forage tracking

The Forage Tracking project is mapping the tacit knowledge and spatial organization of informal recyclers in downtown Saõ Paulo. We used location-detecting hardware and software to investigate how the Catadores, informal recyclers, find and collect material in the city. We are also developing participatory platforms that will help them to organize their activities and connect the cooperative to the citizens. In our work with the recycling cooperative COOPAMARE, we try to increase visibility and understanding of the service they provide to the city. Project homepage…

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Mapping the Archive

Evelyn Münster, Jaume Nualart, Dietmar Offenhuber, Moritz Stefaner, Gerhard Dirmoser This project presents the results of an interdisciplinary investigation of the Prix Ars Electronica archive in the form of interactive and static visualizations of information. The archive is examined on three levels: total submissions since 1987 as a quantitative analysis, the jury process as a social network analysis, and the winning projects and their context in accordance with art scholarship. The project is a collaboration between the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute Media.Art.Research. and Ars Electronica. More…

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A Timeline of Audiovisual Culture

Related to the See this Sound exhibition, The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute created on an encyclopedia of audiovisual culture during the last three years. As a installation in the exhibition, Stefan Schilcher and I created an interactive visualization showing the structural properties of the different texts, chapters in this encyclopedia. Credits: Visual Concept: Dietmar Offenhuber und Stefan Schilcher Programming: Stefan Schilcher Content: Sandra Naumann und Mario Röhrle more on the blog of see this sound.

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The Scent of Information – Symposium

This two-day expert meeting is dedicated to the discussion and comparison of new approaches to organize, analyze and visualize large bodies of archival information.  Archives like the ars electronica archive present themselves as massive collections of heterogeneous and, in some ways, conflicting data organized in many different formats. In order to make sense of this information, traditional database structures and query interfaces are not sufficient. At the same time, it becomes more and more important to connect and contextualize information resources that already exist. For…

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Comment Flow

MIT media lab / sociable media group dietmar offenhuber, judith donath Social networks are abstract organizational structures that help us understand the relationships among a group of interconnected individuals. Much recent research has focused on understanding the structure of these networks, identifying patterns such as bridges, structural holes, etc. and on developing visualizations for these often complex entities. Yet the network itself is a conceptual topology.   The key is the activity that flows along the network paths: the support offered, the information given, the gossip…

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Public exhibition at Ars Electronica 2006


SemaSpace is a compact graph editor and browser for the construction and analysis of knowledge networks. The program was specially designed for the fast, interactive manipulation of very large networks. SemaSpace was first released in 2004 and actively developed until 2010 by Dietmar Offenhuber & Gerhard Dirmoser. The first version of SemaSpace was developed out of the need for a fast and powerful browser for semantic networks that involve a lot of visual content. Semaspace, a joint project with Gerhard Dirmoser, resulted in an interactive network editor and…

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For the start of Austria’s presidency of the European Union in January 2006, 200 individuals from all over Europe were interviewed about their opinions on the strengths, weaknesses, chances and risks of the European Union. I was commissioned to analyze and visualize the semantic space of these responses. By identifying recurring topics and common associations in the text corpus of the material, I was able to generate a semantic network of the european thoughtscape. The result showed that everyone seems to agree upon the strengths…

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Isotope is a generative architecture derived from the proportional system of the Stonborough House (1925, also known as Haus Wittgenstein) designed by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and the Austrian architect Paul Engelmann. The house is assembled from seven cubes, arranged in a carefully balanced proportionate system. All elements correspond to each other, and it is impossible to change this system without destroying the balance of volumes and voids. Starting from a textual representation of the model in the VRML language, the “isotopes” of the original…

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Picture 10


Describing the city through repeated everyday actions In his novel L’Innommable Beckett describes a strange world made up from a complex system of repetitive cyclical events. What is described as social architecture – the spatial / temporal organisation of everyday life- is often very similar to this: people do the same things at the same time. They follow the same routes in regular periods. Sometimes when riding the tram, visiting a cafe or going to the supermarket I recognize strangers who seem to live in…

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The Language of Networks – Symposium

The Language of Networks is a symposium / exhibition I co-curated for Ars Electronica 2004. The lineup was  interdisciplinary, including visualization developers, media artists, mathematicians and social scientists. The festival website is offline, since ars electronica restructured their archive, but the pdf program can still be downloaded here. A nice blogpost about the symposium can be found here. Program Panel I – Information Visualization Ulrik Brandes (DE) – Network Visualization and Graph Drawing Lothar Krempel (DE) – Communicating Empirical Information with Color Anne Nigten (NL)…

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Routine Pathways

three women describe their daily routine pathways, giving insight in how personal practice shapes the perception of the city. The interactive diagram juxtaposes their descriptions with “objective” way descriptions from a navigation system. By highlighting the time a person spends talking about a specific section of her path in relation to the sections actual length, the diagram captures the focal points of personal subjective spaces. The project was developed as part of the EMARE artist in residency at the Werkleitz gesellschaft. It can be viewed…

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5 minute places

Starting from a central place, five minutes of movement in all directions with different means of transport are recorded. This project builds upon the work of Masaki Fujihata and Joachim Sauter, who combined GPS and video footage to create a map of the environment. in this case however, the GPS traces are mapped in time-space. using the videotraces, it becomes visible where the traveler interrupted his way … Link to the project, developed in the course of an Emare Residency at the Werkleitz Gesellschaft in…

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The Geometry of Relative Distance my Thesis in Architecture .pdf “When you ask someone in Los Angeles how far it is from the beach to downtown, he or she will answer with the number of minutes it generally takes to traverse the distance rather than noting the number of miles. This system of defining and representing distance has recently been codified for use on the California Department of Transportation’s large LED “Freeway Condition” signs, which offer up-to-the-minute projections of estimated drive times: “8 minutes to…

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