Here are three more variations on displaying the Capital Bikesahre data from March 23, 2012. That was the busiest day up to that point. Each 90-second movie uses a different method for conveying the trip data. There is no definitive method for displaying data, and the available choices are infinite. A common device is having a circle follow the path from the station where a bike was checked out to the station where it was returned, drawing in a straight line only because we have no way of knowing the actual path taken.

The animation below uses the metaphor of a bug walking across the surface of a pond, sending forth ripples with each step. Green ripples emanate from trips taken by casual users (signing up for 1 or 3 days), and blue ripples emanate from registered users (signing up for a month or a year).

There is a larger-resolution version of this video on display at the DC Arts Center, part of a show called Zeitgeist III: Too Much Information?. It runs through June 10, 2012, and I hope you get a chance to visit it if you are in Adams Morgan.

This next version displays fading trails for each trip. I was hoping for a more magical effect, like the fairy dust left by Cinderella’s fairy godmother’s wand. But this version does nicely convey the notion of a network of stations.

Lastly, I created a version that illustrates check-ins and check-outs. When a cyclist departs a station, a green ripple spreads out. And as they approach their arrival, a red circle closes and dissappears as they check in their bike.

Each of these videos could spawn a thousand variations, changing the colors, speeds, and of course the entire metaphor.

Here are older posts that also play with animating Capital Bikeshare data:

Variations on Displaying Data

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