Tag Archives: Travel


Later this week, I’ll be traveling to the UK. First, to present at the always excellent Flash on the Beach conference in Brighton. I’m excited about this year’s event where, in addition to the usual suspects, organizer John Davey has added some new names.

I’m particularly looking forward to see Karsten Schmidt (aka Toxi) present. I am an admirer of Karsten’s work and couldn’t get through a day of Processing without using one or more of his fantastically useful libraries. I’m also looking forward to Andy Polaine’s session. Andy is a writer and researcher who will share some insights learned from his PhD project on interactivity and play. Add to that a new math-themed session from Mario Klingemann, and I know I’ll be leaving Brighton with a full brain.

After Brighton, I am in London for 4 days, where I will try to sneak into ThisHappened, and likely check out a few other events during London Digital Week. If anyone has any suggestions for shows/pubs/exhibitions to check out while I’m in London, let me know.

Visualizing TED Global (Now with 100% more TED Jokes)

I recently was asked by Wired UK to produce a graphic to accompany an upcoming story about the TED Global event in Oxford, UK. In the process, I’ve learned some interesting things.

First of all, the job titles for TED speakers make excellent jokes (if you’ve got some good punchlines for these, leave them in the comments below):

This movie requires Flash Player 9

To do some more serious explorations, I built an app in Processing that allows me to take the speaker list (scraped from the site) and get latitude/longitude values from the MetaCarta API. The data is stored in a Google Spreadsheet, which processing can remotely read and edit. These lat/lon points are then rendered on a globe, and the trip that each speaker takes to get to Oxford is shown as a paper airplane flight. Here are three renders, each with a different texture used on the globe:

Visualizing TED Global – 182,793km to Oxford (Paper) from blprnt on Vimeo.

Visualizing TED Global – 182,793km to Oxford from blprnt on Vimeo.

Visualizing TED Global – 182,793km to Oxford (B&W) from blprnt on Vimeo.

This is a very similar system to the one I used forĀ Just Landed – the only real difference here is that the locations and travel paths are mapped onto a globe rather than onto a flat surface. Indeed, this gives me pretty much everything I need to render a spherical version of Just Landed – when I get a spare hour or two.

A side effect of mapping all of these trips was the chance to find out how much ground (or air) was covered – I estimated that the 62 speakers at TED have travelled a total of ~182,793km to get to Oxford! I’m not even going to ask about carbon credits.

I’m not sure what the final image will look like – you’ll have to buy the issue of Wired UK – but I have been having some fun playing with this system. While a full 3D environment may seem like overkill for a print project, having the system built the way it is means that I can very quickly prototype many compositional variants, and then tweak and adjust the system as needed to get a good output for print.