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Friday, November 14, was the 2nd day of seminar at Visualizar'09. See our previous post about its Kick-Off. Xavier Alonso presented data404, a collection of sources of public information. In the following talk, Jan-Christoph Zoels discussed on how data visualization can influence public behavior towards more sustainable attitudes. Jan presented several visualizations developed by Experientia within the context of the c_life project, which was the winner of the low2no design competition. He explained the importance of visualization in the process and in the final interface design of the project. Continuing the discussion, Paolo Viterbo and Valentina Barsotti presented a particular approach to engage people by collecting urban information in real-time and returning it to the public after placing it within the environmental context. According to them, data should be part of the environment and, linked to a specific goal, it should be presented simultaneous to harmful practices in order to produce change. Back to legislation, Javier Candeira presented a way of dealing with Copyright and Public Data based on evidence-based policies.

In the afternoon, Kerr Mitchell presented the work of the Sunlight Foundation and its Labs. He presented the Capitolwords project (which has been already featured on this blog)
and the a mashup with the Layar project, which had been already cited by José Alonso on the first day of Visualizar. Layar is an Android mobile phone application that allows users to visualize contextualized data (in this case, public spending) by using the camera of their mobile phones.

The highly anticipated talks of Aaron Koblin and Ben Cervery closed the day. Aaron presented some of his well known projects, such as the Flight Patterns and the New York Talk Exchange, which demonstrate his unique ability to retry interesting questions out of long existing data sets. He also displayed recent projects related to sound, such as the well known House of Cards and Bicycle Built for Two Thousand.

At Ben Cerveny's talk, titled "The Dance of the Variables", some key concepts around information visualization where exposed. He explained how information tend to result from finding patterns on exponentially growing data sets and while dealing with this complexity, one cannot avoid discussing concepts such as emergence and entropy. Some of these patterns are identified through recent Stamen´s projects. The exercise of visualizing information consists in applying physical qualities to a data set, transforming it in a "self-contained system that can work as a metaphor of reality".

The video stream of these seminars should be available soon, at Medialab Prado Visualizar webpage.

This post was written by Larissa Pschetz and Miguel Cardoso.