Check Out These Cool Data Visualizations From Mike Pell

April 1, 2016 by Dave Haynes


Mike Pell of Microsoft was one of the speakers last fall at the DSrupted conference. I was really happy he agreed to speak because he had a lot to say about visualized data needing to be insightful first, and then, possibly, pretty.

He’s released a set of visualizations he calls “Datascrapers” that has been inspired by New York City’s skyscrapers. They were done using Micorsoft’s interesting new experimental data explorer, called SandDance. It comes out of the Microsoft Garage in Seattle, where Pell is based.

All of the individual cubes within the Datascraper shapes, Pell writes on his blog, are single data points from the same data set. “These images are actual data visualizations of that real data set, interpreted as art. The colors and perspectives are all from exploring the data within SandDance. The concepts represented are partially from the world of data science mixed with the architecture of the city.”

In final forms, you’d want legends and headlines explaining what people are looking at, but if you have a creative mind, you could imagine how this sort of thing could be used by companies and government agencies to tap into real-time data and show in graphics what doesn’t really resonate as a set of numbers in a spreadsheet.

I THINK the top one shows wealth based on the US map, with the tallest stacks in the US northeast.

As I’ve written many times, data viz is something just about everyone in this business should be investing time to learn about, and then start to use.



  1. ATL says:

    Really Insightful post on DV (Data Viz.) experiences in the DS realm.

    However, currently in the DS CMS realm, DV features are kinds limited as the requirement for one org A’s DV requirements is much different than another’s DV requirements.

    However, platforms like DOMO, Tableau, Geckoboard serve as the voice of DV in the DS realm.

    Easy set-up as well….

    1- you connect the data sources of the target company to these platforms (Excel, Salesforce, SAP, Oracle)

    2- Fire up Chrome browser on the myriads of the Mini PC’s or Chromesticks.

    3- Launch the DV platform and boom….you have all your Org’s real time data from your boring sources displayed in a pretty graphical way.

    In hindsight DV does make sense for an Org, as it basically displays raw information into actionable strategies which the terms can observe and act swiftly upon.

    Think of DV as the dashboard of your car, if you can see the speed, fuel, miles then the driver adjusts is driving accordingly. Same applies for organizations wanting to justify DS+DV installations.

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