Stamen Design has spent the last decade on the bleeding edge of data visualization, a design discipline that aims to render our ever-growing pools of data—from municipal data freed up for developers to endless Twitter updates about televised events—into plain old beautiful visual communication. The San Francisco-based tech and design firm has made its good name in data-studded interactive maps for the likes of the city of San Francisco and, more recently, has waded into the swamps of real-time data with the creation of NBC's Olympic Twitter Tracker for the Vancouver Games.
"Our lives are awash with data," said the firm's founder, Eric Rodenbeck. "But searching and lists are bumping up against the technical limits of text."
With tweet tracker, you can get a one-glance view of what the world is tweeting about athletes, events and sports with photo boxes and keywords that represent the level of chatter surrounding the topic. Stamen used a similar tracker for MTV's Video Music Awards, and we can also look forward to more for the London 2012 games—plus whatever insight only those visualizations can reveal. Stamen maps that house news stories, photos and videos about the London games are already live.
"We make lots of maps, but only some are geographic," Mr. Rodenbeck said. "If there's an information landscape, there is a map than can be made of that."
See the rest of the 2010 Creativity 50 here.