There should be an image here!How do the experts solve difficult problems when working with data? Beautiful Data explains this and more as it gives you an opportunity to look over the shoulders of prominent data designers, managers, and handlers for a glimpse into some of their most interesting projects.

The authors think aloud as they work through their projects and show readers the evolution of simple and elegant solutions to problems encountered along the way (even if they sometimes break the rules). You’ll hear from the best data practitioners in the field, and find out just how wide-ranging — and beautiful — working with data can be.

With Beautiful Data, you will:

  • Explore the opportunities and challenges involved in working with the vast number of datasets made available by the Web
  • Learn how to visualize trends in urban crime, using maps and data mashups
  • Discover the challenges of designing a data processing system that works within the constraints of space travel
  • Learn how crowdsourcing and transparency have combined to advance the state of drug research
  • Understand how new data can automatically trigger alerts when it matches or overlaps pre-existing data
  • Learn about the massive infrastructure required to create, capture, and process DNA data

In the preface of Beautiful Data, co-editors Toby Segaran and Jeff Hammerbacher talk about the process of compiling this challenging book. “When we were first approached with the idea… we found [it] exciting and very ambitious. Collecting, visualizing, and processing data now touches every professional field and so many aspects of daily life that a great collection [of stories] would have to be almost unreasonably broad in scope. So we contacted a highly diverse group of people whose work we admired, and were thrilled that so many agreed to contribute.”

They continue, “This book is the result, and we hope it captures just how wide-ranging (and beautiful) working with data can be. In it you’ll learn everything from fighting with governments to working with the Mars lander; you’ll learn how to use statistics programs, make visualizations, and remix a Radiohead video; you’ll see maps, DNA, and something we can only really call ‘data philosophy.'”

For anyone who handles data, this is a truly fascinating book, and one that will make you consider how your own encounters with data shape the world.