Tag Archive | Data

Data Visualisation – Graphical Web Conference -Exeter – November 2016

The Met Office Informatics Lab are hosting the Graphical Web conference this November in Exeter and we thought it would be the kind of thing you might be interested in. There is a very wide range of speakers spanning web tech in the broadest sense. This year has a theme of data visualisation. Confirmed talks so far include:

* making climate data go viral
* how data visualisation can take inspiration from music composition
* using ballet to communicate data
* using virtual reality to tell stories

And we have speakers from Google Maps, Amazon Data, Bristol’s own Taxi Studio, Financial Times, and obviously many more.

Find out more here http://2016.graphicalweb.org/


This article is copied from Dan Lockton’s Blog

Powerchord is an ongoing (2014—) exploration of sonifying energy use in near-real time. The prototypes developed so far monitor multiple household electrical appliances in parallel, turning readings of the instantaneous power being drawn into various kinds of sound, providing a form of ambient experiential feedback intended to fit with the soundscapes of everyday domestic life, while (perhaps) enabling a deeper understanding of the characteristics of energy use. The concept was developed, working with Flora Bowden, from ideas suggested by householders during co-creation sessions as part of the European SusLabNWEproject, funded by INTERREG IVB, as part of our wider exploration of the invisibility of energy which also led to the Drawing Energy project. Subsequent development has been self-funded.

Two papers about the project have been published:

Powerchord is designed to use swappable micro-SD cards with sound ‘families’ on them, so complementary (or not) schemes can be chosen or compiled. The version in the videos on this page uses varieties ofbirdsong, of different intensities—from recordings at xeno-canto.org—but initial experiments centred around chords (hence the name) and direct synthesiser mapping, which sounded awful. Working with Claire Matthews, a wider range of sound schemes has subsequently been produced, drawing on ideas suggested by members of the public at the 2014 V&A Digital Design Weekend after they tried it out. The project has also been exhibited, at different stages, at V&A Digital Futures, the UK Art Science Prize, TU Delft’s ‘Human in the Loop’ exhibition, and the Helen Hamlyn Centre show, and is illustrated in the Royal Academy of Engineering‘s Built for Living report.

In a sense, Powerchord is a platform for experimenting with energy sonification. The prototypes shown here use the ‘guts’ of a CurrentCost energy monitor (one of the most common UK types—and which can also be used to read gas meter data), which reads power values from wireless individual appliance monitors, and is then connected to an Arduino which reads the XML data stream from the monitor and maps the power levels to particular tracks, played using a WAV Trigger. The next iteration, in progress, is based around a (more reliable) method of using EDF EcoManager transmitter plugs, developed by Jack Kelly at Imperial College London.

Of course the form here is not fully resolved—the picture frame format was partly to enable it to fit into domestic settings in a way which was obviously different to a conventional energy monitor, but also, perhaps, to attempt to show the system deconstructed, not quite in a Daniel Weil way, but also inspired byCoralie Gourguechon’s work. This is the sort of modern wireless product that doesn’t really need to have any obvious form: it could be in a box, a bag, a tube, anything. It could just be a small hidden unit transmitting to a stereo or home entertainment system, or Bluetooth speakers.


Influencing people’s energy use is a major research topic across multiple technological and social science disciplines. Feedback displays for electricity or gas, and smart meters, which enable additional networked functionality, such as adaptive pricing changes, have shown some influence on people’s actions, but the situation is complex: simple numerical feedback may not take account of the realities of household life, or people’s understanding of units and quantities, nor link people to wider understanding of the energy system. Some work, e.g. by the Interactive Institute, has sought to bring an ‘ambient’ approach.

The invisibility of energy emerged from interviews and workshops with householders I ran with Flora Bowden as a major issue in householders’ lack of understanding, contributing to energy waste. This suggested opportunities for visualisation beyond numbers, but also non-visually, for example sonification. In co-creation with householders, it was suggested that being able to ‘listen’ to whether appliances were switched on, the relative magnitude and characteristics of their energy use, and what state they were in (e.g. listening to a washing machine will give a good idea as to where it is in its cycle), was potentially useful. There are echoes of early work in calm technology and ubiquitous computing, such as Natalie Jeremijenko’s Live Wire (Dangling String), and Murray Schafer’s concept of soundscapes. Sonification can potentially enable ambient, peripheral comprehension of data with multiple dimensions, including pattern recognition and detecting state changes.

My initial experiments were with summary sonification—in a university office, with a kettle, a laser printer, and a gang socket for a row of desks monitored over 12 hours, turning the power use data into a three-track 30-second MIDI file, with lower pitches representing higher power, and vice versa (a householder suggestion), and hourly drumbeat ‘ticks’.


EUPORIAS | Met Office | Kaleider

An Out of The Kaleider Commission

EUPORIAS, the Met Office and Kaleider are seeking an individual or group to create a playable /playful /fascinating /interesting /thrilling /poetic /challenging /delightful/ extraordinary experience to take place during the EUPORIAS General Assembly at the Met Office in October 2016.

Application Information:

Application deadline: Friday 10 June 2016

Dates and location of event: sometime during 4-7 October, 2016; Met Office, Exeter, UK

The successful artist(s) will be awarded:

  • Up to £15,000 available to include the artist’s fee and expenses, accommodation, travel and production costs.
  • Residency at Kaleider’s curated studio in Exeter.
  • Producer support and creative feedback during development and production.
  • Development time with Met Office scientists.
  • An opportunity to do something a little bit different.

What we’d like to see in an application:

A project that:

  • is inspired by climate science / climate services / EUPORIAS
  • is co-designed with us
  • uses the network of people and skills inside The Kaleider
  • can take place at the Met Office
  • might be disruptive
  • is definitely surprising
  • is personally challenging to the audience but not professionally uncomfortable
  • is definitely playful (but with a bit of a bitter aftertaste?!)
  • might be playable
  • could be wholly designed prior to the General Assembly and then take place at the event or partially designed prior to the General Assembly and then adapted in response to the goings-on at the event.

What you can expect from us:

  • We’re not going to tell you what to do – we welcome proposals from any discipline.
  • An open and a playful approach to collaboration.
  • Access to Met Office scientists and EUPORIAS collaborators to help inspire and shape the experience, plus the opportunity to play with our data!
  • If appropriate, we’ll work with you to explore opportunities to tour the work to other locations.

How to apply:


  • Email emily@kaleider.com a short proposal of your idea (500 words maximum)
  • If you have visualisations/drawings/diagrams you can also attach these (please don’t use this as a sneaky excuse to use more words – we won’t read them)
  • Please include an initial budget for your project (not included in word count limit)


  • If you would rather apply via a video please ensure it is no longer than 3 minutes and is uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo.
  • Please email the link to emily@kaleider.com (include a password if relevant)
  • Please include an initial budget for your project

The commission call

We want to commission an individual or a group to create an experience that will take place during the EUPORIAS General Assembly. We’re not prescriptive about discipline, but we’re interested in something that is playful/playable/fascinating/interesting/thrilling/poetic/challenging/delightful.

It might use tech, performance, installation, sound, taste, texture, magic. It might be digital, non-digital or a hybrid. It might be site responsive, human responsive, data responsive or all three.

We want to interrupt the normal conference proceedings with something a bit different, inspired by the world of climate services and EUPORIAS. What this might be and when in the meeting this might happen is for us, and you, to decide.

A bit of background:

Throughout human history, we have learned to adapt to the day-to-day variations in our weather alongside longer-term, but perhaps less noticeable, changes in our climate. We have learned how to use weather records and climatic information to help us engineer bridges and hospitals, grow drought and flood-tolerant crops and build our overall resilience to extreme weather.

Generally, we have assumed that the underlying climate isn’t really changing. But in the past we have been caught off-guard when shifts in our climate have altered the environment around us. Today we know that our climate is not stationary, in fact it is changing rapidly.  We need to create tools and share knowledge to help us deal with the emerging challenges these rapid changes pose to our societies – we need to create climate services.

For this reason the European Commission has invested heavily in a strategic plan to put Europe at the forefront of climate service development and delivery. This is the start of an exciting new field, but given the importance climate adaptation will have for our future, it is crucial we develop the ambition, knowledge and tools to deal with these new challenges.

EUPORIAS is one collaborative project leading the way in exploring climate services involving 24 institutions across Europe, led by the Met Office. EUPORIAS has given Europe an opportunity to learn how climate information can be made usable and actionable for decision makers in different sectors, including water, agriculture, transport, food security and energy; it is truly at the forefront of this new field. We’re now coming to the end of the project and from 4-7 October 2016, we’re holding the final EUPORIAS General Assembly at the Met Office HQ in Exeter, UK.


We wanted to make the FAQ’s as live as possible so we have posted a number of questions on the discussion board at the bottom of this page. Please feel free to ask questions or comment on questions already posted.


If you have private questions after reading the FAQs, please email emily@kaleider.com  (Executive Producer, Kaleider)