Here's where we post periodic updates on what we've been up to at Fathom. Reflections on the interesting stories that emerge from our client work, side projects, after-hours rabbitholes, and other miscellaneous threads of inquiry.
I am fascinated with metro maps. You may be more familiar with the term "metro" as the T, subway, L, Underground, Tube, Tram, BART, Muni, Subte, T-bana, U-bahn, Tren-Urbano, SkyTrain, MTR, Tren Electrico, T-bane, S-tog, Rapid, and even Clockwork Orange depending on your home city.
Thomson Reuters released their 2012 Annual Report online last week. While VSA Partners designed and implemented the site, we worked on a set of five graphics that highlight a selection of Reuters’s core business units.
For the past several years, my three brothers and I have convened at the eldest brother's house for the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament (also known as March Madness), doing our best to watch as many of the initial 32 games of the tournament during a melba toast and orange juice-soaked* four days of disregard for the outside world. Over time this has evolved—it initially started with just the two oldest brothers in an Arizona basement—into a gathering of up to two dozen friends, neighbors, wives, and kids.
Working digitally has some similarities to the physical world. For example, when painting, brushes can break down, lighting can change, and models can shift. Often these variable forces have interesting visual results. We've collected a handful of our favorites from the Connected China project. This first image is the result of Katy testing out the homepage on Windows through VMware:
All of our projects start with a data set. As we begin designing a piece, we poke through the data to see how clean it is and what sort of stories it will support, and we investigate what form the final piece could take: is it an app? an exploratory tool? an infographic? At this stage, we'll use various languages or tools (Processing, Python, Excel, and R tend to be the most common) to build custom software that will help us interact with the data and test our ideas about what the data contains.
We are almost one week into the launch of Connected China! One notable discovery has been the early audience indicators: much of the site's traffic has come from within mainland China, and a majority of visitors worldwide are using browsers that have the zh-cn character encoding (suggesting Chinese language computers). This response is surprising given that the site seems to be at least partially blocked in China, with reports of blocked tweets and weibos (Weibo is a Chinese micro-blogging site) cropping up even earlier.
We are thrilled to announce the launch of Connected China, our collaborative project with Thomson Reuters. Available on the Web as an HTML5 application, and optimized for the iPad, Connected China uses a custom database to explore the cultural and political factors that shape the dynamics of power in modern China.