While working at Information is Beautiful I helped with the design and realisation of an Infographic that visualised all of the Doctor Who journeys. He'd done a similar one for his first book, but this was of a scale and complexity far above that.

Exploring Data

One of the hardest things about working with data is understanding the shape of it. With large or complex data sets it is good practice to use simple tools to try and introduce some other ways of looking at the data other than a spreadsheet. If the tools do not exist then they must be made!

During the wireframing process I programmed a quick program that plotted all the journeys using Processing. You could zoom in and out on it and slide the mouse from side to side to move forward and back in time. It wasn't really something that we were going to use as a finished thing, but as a tool to see where the most interesting eras where, it was pretty cool.

When the curve goes up, it is a journey backwards in time, and below, forwards. In the centre is the current year, and the top shows the range. Each of the eleven Doctors has a different colour.

The vertical looking lines are journeys that are so temporally distant that the curve it describes appears almost straight.

Exploring the data in this way enabled the team to make editorial decisions about what to show within the limited space available on the page. 

Here is an overview of the finished piece and a couple of details. Most of the lines were put in place by the amazing Piero Zagami.