Visualizing Data - Virginia Tech to Host Places & Spaces: Mapping Science Exhibition

Places and Spaces Science Paths
Science Paths by Kim Albrecht, Albert-László Barabási and Roberta Sinatra

Love maps and data? Come visit the Places & Spaces: Mapping Science data visualization exhibition at Virginia Tech’s Newman Library in Blacksburg, Va., Aug. 21-Nov. 22, 2017.

The Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center (CNS), a research center at Indiana University’s School of Informatics and Computing, is proud to introduce four new interactive visualizations in their debut appearance with the Places & Spaces exhibition. The newest collection of visualizations, which we call macroscopes, are ideal for conveying a sense of scale and navigating through data at different scales. They include some of the largest data sets imaginable, such as the cosmos and the history of the world. Yet, they also let you focus on an individual detail, like the most important paper in one scientist’s career.

Until recently, big data analytics have been the purview of business tycoons and statistically oriented scholars. In recent years, however, infographics and data visualizations have gained popularity in mainstream media as a means for explaining complex topics based on data-rich sources. The ability to visually make sense of large volumes of data is becoming as critical as the ability to read and write.

The works presented in the Places & Spaces: Mapping Science exhibition draw their data from a wide range of topics, including movie plots and infectious diseases. More than 100 maps of science, 12 interactive visualizations, three data-focused sculptures by artist Ingo Günther, and hands-on activities for various ages will be on display.

The new interactive visualizations:
New exhibition selections are chosen by an advisory board of leading data visualization experts. The submissions received this year were exceptionally rich, reflecting recent advances in data visualization.

  • The Cosmic Web (Kim Albrecht and Albert-László Barabási) – three models of the cosmic web that show the structure of the universe and how galaxies are connected.
  • Histography (Matan Stauber) – an interactive timeline that uses Wikipedia to visualize the history of the world.
  • Megaregions of the US (Garrett Dash Nelson and Alesdair Rae) – a map of the US with new regional boundaries drawn based on commuter routes.
  • Science Paths (Kim Albrecht, Albert-László Barabási and Roberta Sinatra) – an illustration of the publication histories of nearly 10,000 scientists.

Honorable Mention
The following selections received honorable mention for their outstanding scientific value and ability to empower users to learn more about science and technology.

  • ESA Star Mapper (Jan Willem Tulip and Karen O’Flaherty)
  • Visualizing Scholarly Influence Over Time (Jason Portenoy and Jevin West)
  • PitchSpace: Visualizing Startup Similarity Using Bicentric Diagrams (Hyanwoo Park and Rahul Basole)
  • TopoBox (TopoBox, LLC)

About the Places & Spaces exhibition: Drawing from across cultures and across scholarly disciplines, Places & Spaces: Mapping Science demonstrates the power of maps to address vital questions about the contours and content of human knowledge. An interdisciplinary and international advisory board chose each one of the works in the Places & Spaces: Mapping Science exhibit as an outstanding example of how visualization can bring patterns in scientific data into focus. The exhibit is curated by the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center at Indiana University. The exhibit has been on display at over 330 venues in 28 countries on 6 continents. It showcases the work of 239 mapmakers that hail from 17 different countries. For further information, please visit our website at

About the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center (CNS): CNS is a research center at Indiana University’s School of Informatics and Computing in Bloomington, Indiana. For more than 15 years, CNS has played a leading role in the field of data visualization, developing open source tools for the creation of data visualizations, offering the IVMOOC, co-organizing international workshops and conferences, and promoting network science and visualization through international initiatives. CNS’s research, teaching, and software development efforts benefit from long-term collaborations with colleagues in academia, government, and industry.

Media Contact

Ken Bikoff
Communications Specialist
Phone: (812) 856-6908