It’s time to watch (or explain) soccer again

Football fans, it’s Euro Cup 2012 time. If you live in the U.S., like me, prepare to justify your existence to people who prefer to watch other sports. If you live in other countries, I celebrate your freedom to share your joy with anyone within spitting distance. Lucky you.

But surely what unites all of us is the onslaught of football-related infographics, complete with awesome Photoshop cutouts of players, images of the coiffed Ronaldo, exploding piecharts and Pinterest boards too numerous to mention. Thus far, I haven’t found any graphics as funny as the Onion’s World Cup 2010 interactive, but it’s early, so I’m still hopeful–there’s a lot of Photoshop licenses out there.

The Onion's World Cup 2010 interactive

The Onion's World Cup 2010 interactive

If you’re a football fan, I’m sure you’ve already seen this interactive calendar by Marca.com as well as this fixture schedule, both featured on the CultFootball site.

interactive calendar cult football by Marca.com

UEFA's Euro Cup 2012 fixtures map

Aside from logistics, there’s the ongoing boycott petition in Germany, sponsored by a GLBT group (and Germany’s first openly gay football player) in protest of the Ukraine president’s refusal to denounce his country’s laws which criminalize homosexuality. The petition asks Angela Merkel to follow France and the UK’s example and boycott the Euro Cup (as foreign dignitaries). We’ll see, she says. This isn’t an infographic, per se, but it’s a visual statement nonetheless.

Euro 2012 anti homophobia

And then there is this, kindly brought to us by the gambling community (reminding us that betting is a huge part of football):

Euro-2012-Infographic

One of my favorite football-related infographics is always the slew of stadium infographics and maps, each one looking suspiciously like high-tech UFOs (why did I say that? Is there any other kind of UFO?). This year is no different. When the little green men/women/whosamawhatsit come to visit, they’ll feel right at home in one of these:

UFO stadiums Euro Cup 2012

And then there’s the Spanish team buzz on social media. Well, it is what it is. Go Spain!!!

Spain and the Euro Cup social media

 

Staying fit through data visualizations

Better living through data visualizations? A new web app called “Spark” claims to improve your body through data viz. And art. And a gizmo called a fitbit. Whatever you call it, it’s both interesting and scary. If you have the time to spare (and, presumably, the calories), you can purchase the fitbit gizmo to track your every physical movement to help you get a very, very detailed sense of your physical activity throughout the seconds and minutes of your life. Really. People do this.

Okay, enough of that. What’s interesting is the use of data visualization to emotionally inspire people to keep moving, walking, jogging, or whatever people do who don’t have enough sense to ride a bike.

Upload your fitbit data (remember that’s the gizmo you have to purchase and presumably wetwire into the back of your skull) to your computer or tablet, log into “Spark” and you’ll be rewarded with piles of visualizations reflecting your activity level. In real time (using the fitbit API, Raphael and HTML5 Canvas). Please ignore the fact that Spark is hosted on a website with a url that begins with “QuantifiedSelf.com.” Apparently data vis is headed for greener pastures.

Sarcasm aside, Spark provides an interesting example of how data visualization can extend into nontraditional paths. More power to ‘em, I say.

Spark