The Fourth Portland Data Visualization Group | Wednesday July 28, 2010: 6:30–9Pm at Webtrends

It’s time for another Portland Data Visualization Meetup! The last one occurred on Thurs, April 29. We’ll have three to four main presentations and networking time. Webtrends will again graciously host us on their top floor.

Michael Paukner - Data Visualization

Current speakers for Data Viz #4:

1. Periscopic will present two pieces of data visualization they’ve done.

The first is Vote Smart – a new visualization & voter’s assistant tool that uses data
from Project Vote Smart, and Open Secrets.  Designed to help you find out
which candidates are most like you. 10 min presentation plus 15-20 minutes for questions.

State of the Polar Bear – visual designs for a project that is still in development.  Half infographic movie, and half exploratory visualization.  Designed to raise awareness about CO2 levels and how that affects polar bears and arctic sea ice.  5-10 min presentation and
10-15 mins for questions.

2. Aaron Parecki and Amber Case will present new data from a project they’ve been working on dealing with GPS and SMS data called They may also present a visualization of wiki commits to over time.

3. A number of Portland Data Viz group members recently attended a Tufte lecture, which most everyone found to be very useful! Joe, a Portland Data Viz member, enjoyed the blot maps presented by Tufte. He will give a very short presentation on them. It will include a guide on how to build your own from US Geographic boundary files, as well as a discussion on Tufte’s criticism of this data visualization method.

Who Should Go?

The event is open to everyone interested in or working in the field of data visualization. This means designers, programmers, information architects, data miners, anthropologists, ect. We’re expecting a similar amount of people to last time (probably around 20-30 people).

Location and Time

July 28th, 2010 | 6:30-9:30PM


851 SW 6th Ave.
Portland OR 97204

RSVP on Yahoo! Upcoming, or view the event on Calagator

Note to newcomers: If you haven’t been to Webtrends before, you might have a difficult time gaining access to the building. Please E-mail me for detailed instructions on how to enter the building, and a phone number you can reach to gain access once inside.

Google Group:

Ed Borasky started a Google group called pdx-visualization. As the name implies, it is a group for Portland-area people interested in languages and techniques for visualization of data.

Innovation in Data Visualization Group on Flickr:

I’ve been collecting interesting data viz photos for a while now and posting them to Flickr. They’re all accessible on my Flickr account in this set. Most pictures contain descriptions and links to the viz sources. If you have any Flickr photos of data viz work you’ve done, or work your find innovative, be sure to add them to the group!

Also check out Aaron Parecki’s GPS Logs and Data Visualizations on Flickr.

Hope to see you all there!



Amber Case, (@caseorganic) is a Cyborg Anthropologist studying the interaction between humans and computers and how our relationship with information is changing the way we think, act, and understand the world around us. She’s obsessed with compressing the space and time it takes to get data from one place to another, especially when the final destination is the mind.

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Data Viz: Donations to the Cyborg Reconstruction Fund

Portland Donation Amount by Location - Cyborg Reconstruction Fund

On March 17, 2010, I slipped on a slippery deck in Austin, Texas. It was the last day of the SXSW Interactive Conference, and it had been a long night.

I wanted to get outside to take a break from all of the madness, and I fell. I broke all of the bones in my ankle and was rushed to the emergency room. I didn’t feel any pain, and I thought that my ankle was simply sprained. It was not. The emergency room staff gave me a pair of crutches and told me how to walk on them. It was very difficult at first, but now I’ve gotten pretty good at them.

I woke up the next morning still in shock, so nothing hurt yet. My flight from Austin to Portland was later that afternoon, and I was determined to go home, even with a broken ankle. I took a few Tylenol and got to the airport with the help of Paige Saez and many others at the Social Media Clubhouse. When I got back to Portland I asked Twitter for an orthopedic surgeon. @pdxflaneur gave me the name of one and I scheduled surgery the next evening. I was checked into day surgery at 3 Pm and waited for surgery until 1Am. The waiting was the most difficult part.

Then, I became a Cyborg. Here’s an X-ray of what the orthopedic surgeon put into my ankle. The surgery was originally supposed to take 45 minutes, but when they opened up the sides of my ankle, they realized that all the bones had splintered into tiny pieces. The surgery ended up taking 4 hours. A lot of hardware was required to stabilize the bones while they healed back into place.

Amber Case's Cyborg ankle post-surgery

Right away, Vancouver-based photographer Kris Krug started the Cyborg Reconstruction Fund in an attempt to help defray medical costs. Once the word got out, the donations started rolling in. Aaron Parecki and I thought it might be fun to visualize the data.


The following images are visualizations of donations to the fund from March 20, 2010 to April 10, 2010. The data was taken from a PayPal Excel file and put into a SQL database based on location and amount of donation. The Google Maps API was used to place and visualize the donation data.

Bar Graph - Average Donations Per State Cyborg Reconstruction Fund

Here, we graphed the total amount of money donated by ‘state’. Oregon was in first place, with $1,200, followed by California, New York and Washington State. Note that this graph has some non-states as well, like British Columbia, London, Ontario, Quebec and Alcorcon (which is in Spain). Perhaps it could be called donations by territory instead.

Total National Donations Per State - Cyborg Reconstruction Fund

Here are the total donations per state. Oregon had the largest number of donations, but the average donation amount amount was less than the other states.

National Average Donation Amount Per Person - Cyborg Reconstruction Fund

This map shows the average donations per person by state. Washington and New York had the largest donation amount per person, but less donations overall. California followed, due to some awesome people in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

National Donation Amount Per Location - Cyborg Reconstruction Fund

This map shows donations by location and amount.The size of the circle shows the total volume of money donated. The circles are set at 50% opacity, so many donations overlapping (in the case of Portland) create a more opaque circle.

Portland Donation Amount by Location - Cyborg Reconstruction Fund

This map shows donations from Portland, Oregon. Portland had the highest number of donations, which makes a lot of sense. Portland is my local tech community! Everyone was kind and concerned about the injury. But there’s an issue on this map: circles float above people’s houses. This undermines personal data privacy. To fix this, the address data of donors was made ‘fuzzy’ in order to protect the confidential addresses of Paypal donors. The fuzziness was made by taking the latitude and longitude coordinates of each address and adding a random number to each.

Again, to everyone who has chipped in: thank you so much for all of your messages, your kindness and your support. The surgery actually cost more than twice the amount of the estimate that shown on the donation site. I applied for financial support from the hospital system, so things should turn out okay in the end. If it wasn’t for all of you, I wouldn’t have been able to pay the necessary bills required at the hospital. All of you made that possible. You helped purchase a walking boot, X-rays, appointments and checkups, local anesthesia, food, and pain medication. You got me through.

And you’ve all made me feel connected to this community in a much different way than ever experienced before. I’m honored to know so many incredible people. Thanks again for your amazing connectivity and efforts.

A Great Big Thank You

It turns out that it does “Take a Village to Build Cyborg”. Thanks again to the wonderful Vancouverites Kris Krug, Danielle Sipple, Dave Olson, Jason Saunders, and Robert Scales. Thanks to Chris Heuer and Kristie Wells for providing support and help with getting some funding and insurance. Thanks to Ponzi Pirillo for the delicious sandwiches and multiple rides to the hospital. I couldn’t have fallen in a better place. I couldn’t imagine falling alone.

Thanks to Paige Saez for helping me at the airport, through security, for carrying my stuff and keeping me company on the long plane ride from Austin to Portland. Thanks to Sheldon Renan for bringing me comics and soup and providing continuous council. Thanks to Brian K. for bringing ferns with microchips in them to my hospital room. Thanks to Ian Carmany for dealing with impossible hospital room waits and a whole lot of other things.

A very special thanks to Abraham Hyatt, Igal Koshevoy, Chris Pirillo, Audrey Eschright, Linda Canavan, Anne Buckley, Valdis Krebs, Orian Marx, Kate Bornstein, Susan Farrell and Spary Dauterman.

Enormous thanks to Periscopic, SalaamGarage, and Bo McFarland.

While I can’t mention everyone, I made an effort to personally thank everyone by E-mail. If you didn’t get an E-mail from me, please let me know! I want to make sure that I thanked you! It’s very important.

Still want to donate?

This donate link will take you directly to PayPal.


Amber Case, (@caseorganic) is a Cyborg Anthropologist studying the interaction between humans and computers and how our relationship with information is changing the way we think, act, and understand the world around us. She’s obsessed with compressing the space and time it takes to get data from one place to another, especially when the final destination is the mind.