The Graphical Web 2013 Conference

I have long argued for doing data visualizations in-house and even there within the people who know about the subject-matters. Statistical organizations suffer from a lot of friction by outsourcing everything software related and even the arguments with internal IT-departments not always result in timely innovation.

Luckily data visualization on the web has become less than a rocket science and especially the ONS Data Visualisation Center has shown excellent work in this space, that was done in-house by statisticians.



Therefore I feel it being appropriate to invite the followers of this blog to The Graphical Web 2013 Conference, which takes place October 21.-23. in San Francisco. The conference may be known to you as SVGopen, which it was called until 2012 but the name-change reflects the wider use of different graphical technologies such as Canvas or WebGL. However they all have in common that they are open standards and don’t require any plugins.

Conference submissions are welcome until June 9th and National Statistical Institutions have certainly a lot of material to showcase in this realm. The conference will give you the opportunity to get in contact with developers from your favorite Library (D3), browser vendors and w3c experts. Also expect a lot of representatives from Adobe to attend.

The Graphical Web Conference 2012

Registration for the The Graphical Web Conference (formerly known as SVGopen) in Zürich Switzerland, Sept. 11-14, is now open and speakers as well as abstracts of the planned talks have now been published.

Why is this of importance to the statistical community? Well, the technologies discussed at this conference are the foundation of all current and future data visualisations on the web. Topics range from Thematic Mapping via Math Education to the Visualization of Soccer Statistics.

The Graphical Web is a conference for discussing what is aesthetically possible on the web.

Under this umbrella you’ll meet like minded web developers, may get in contact with browser vendors and will see what the latest tools of the trade from companies big (Adobe, Google, Microsoft) and small will offer.

Finally the conference closes with a day of workhops, of which the Introduction to d3.js, the swiss army knife of all things data visualisation may be especially important. Similarly the Raphaël library and Interactive Charts with Highcharts will be a good opportunity to directly learn from the inventors of these products.

The Graphical Web 2012 | SVG Open 2012

There are plenty of conferences on data visualisation to go to and then there are even more on the various technologies and tools that drive the web. So apart from language, budget and travel distance one has to narrow down exactly where additional input is needed.

I would argue that National Statistical Institutes or the readers of this blog by now have spent quite some time on the concepts of disseminating, explaining and visualising their data products and I am also of the opinion that off the shelf solutions are less than ideal. But statisticians are usually well suited to a little programming here and there so they should look into building data driven graphics themselves.

Technology wise there had been some discussion in previous years, which technology to follow. Flash was big among designers and developing platform specific apps has become chic. But HTML in its latest incarnation (“5”) together with graphical technologies like CSS, Canvas and SVG form the open web, that still has the best to offer in terms of accessibility to the largest amount of users, to search engines and to all the operating systems and devices that may come and go faster than we can plan in a bureaucracy.

The transition to a plug-in free Web is happening today.

Microsoft’s IE Blog

And clearly, Flash is on the way out, as the continuing success of iPad and iPhone demonstrate. Additionally in preparing this year’s launch of Windows 8 and their recent developments in IE9 and IE10 Microsoft promotes “plugin free surfing” and Adobe caters for modern technologies under the HTML5 umbrella with their tools.

Conference Header

This is where the 1st International Conference on Open Web Graphics comes in which is also the 10th International Conference on Scalable Vector Graphics. It’ll take place September 11 to 14, 2012 at ETH Zurich Hönggerberg Campus in Zurich/Switzerland. As the name change suggests it is not limited to SVG anymore, but clearly it is aimed at the open and graphical web and has in the past been the place where numerous developments of data driven graphics have been showcased.

From recent conferences I can tell you to expect a familial atmosphere where you will meet like-minded people from various backgrounds and professions. The browser vendors are there, w3c people, tools companies like Adobe or the open source Inkscape project and developers of JavaScript libraries.

Compared to other conferences SVG open is very affordable and even more so if you do a presentation. Should your office send at least two participants you should think about becoming a Sponsor of the conference which will be even cheaper than buying two standard tickets.

Hope you can copy something from this post to convince your employer and see you in Switzerland, September 11 to 14.