Web Seer

A few months ago two data artists, Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg, released a beautiful visualization tool that uses Google Suggest to create an addictive way to explore the world’s searching. I came across this while looking at their 2003 project, History Flow, about visualizing edits to Wikipedia. The example below shows Google’s suggestions to complete the phrases “are diets…” and “is chocolate…”, with the size of arrows and words showing Google’s count of how many web pages address each completed question.

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Map of Wikipedia usage worldwide

Last week I did a short talk at TED on Wikipedia’s evolving impact. I’ve posted an expanded version of the slides (PDF) and want to use a few blog posts to elaborate on some of the points covered.

First point for this blog post, I was looking for a way to visualize some the great analysis Erik Zachte did recently on the geographic source of traffic to Wikipedia. A trip through Commons pointed me to a slick online mapping tool and Erik was incredibly helpful at providing me with the data I needed. Here’s the map we came up with, which represents average monthly Wikipedia page views per internet user during July, August and September of 2009:

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