That’s one crowded room

There’s no denying that I still use my fingers in the simplest of additions, so to say that getting my head around large figures is difficult is definitely an understatement. And I can certainly tell you that if someone told me the entire population of North, Central and South America could be represented individually in one room, I definitely wouldn’t have believed them. Until I saw this…

Not only are these representations forms of data visualization but they’re unlike many that are just simply 2D in their form. They’re tangible representations which exist within our own physical world. The use of the grain of rice is symbolic in that it is a rudimentary aspect of human experience which one can easily put into proportion against almost anything in their own mind.  Through data visualization, they have taken the invisible – the human race (which although is visible, is inconceivable) and created a visible visual register, through which we are able to easily analyse, compare, discover patterns and structure new relationships.

It has a persuasive rhetoric in that it urges us to consider the bigger picture. By creating an abstraction of the human race inside one single room, us mere mortals are able see the world through proportioned lenses and comprehend social issues through a visual scale.

Some other noteworthy visualisations:

Social media advertising firm DBB collaborated with the Polish State Railways to develop an electronic train timetable that measured waiting time not only in minutes or hour but in the amount of McDonald’s items which could be consumed before the trains departure, with the nearest store being a convenient 50 metres away. (Taking a mere number value and turning it into an experience everyone can relate to…I’m lovin it!)

Designed by art and technology student Sarah Hallacher, Beef Stakes, is a data representation of the amount of beef produced in each state of the US in 2011. The height of each steak (only the Top 4 states were created) is proportionate to the amount of beef produced in that state alone ( 1 inch per every billion pounds). The price to produce the beef as well as how much each individual would have had to eat to consume the state’s yearly production is on the price tags. (I usually love my steak but this just makes me feel sorry for all those cow… data visualisation creating social awareness for an issue.)


Figure 1: Beef consumption data visualisation for Kansas (Hallacher 2007)


Figure 2: Beef consumption data visualisation for Texas (Hallacher 2007)

C&A has launched a clothes rack in their Brazilian stores that shows in real-time the amount of likes each clothing item has received on Facebook, allowing customers to see how each item is perceived by the masses. (Creating a numerical value of people’s perceptions in a visual way…reverse data visualisation that works!)


Figure 3: Data visualisation of Facebook likes for clothing items (Unknown 2012)


Hallacher, Sarah, 2012, Beef consumption data representation for Kansas, digital image, Sarah Makes A Blog, accessed 22 April 2013, < >

Hallacher, Sarah, 2012, Beef consumption data representation for Texas, digital image, Sarah Makes A Blog, accessed 22 April 2013, < >

Unknown, 2012, Data visualisation of Facebook Likes for clothing items, digital image, The Verge, accessed 22 April 2013, < >


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s