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The Latest Updates from Uber Visualization

Welcome to the first edition of the Uber Visualization newsletter! Read on to learn more about Visualization Nights, our open source geospatial analysis tool, kepler.gl, and a selection of innovative visualizations made with our tools.

Visualization Nights @Uber

For the past year, the Visualization team has been organizing #VisualizationNights,  a meetup series dedicated to celebrating excellence in design and development of data visualizations and has featured presentations by speakers from Netflix, Adobe, Microsoft, Accurat, NYU, and more. This event has been held in San Francisco, Seattle, and New York. At our fourth Visualization Night, we hosted 200 visualization practitioners for an evening of talks from Netflix, Uber, and Salesforce information designers. The event was a success and we’re already planning our next meetup. Click here for more information!

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New Releases


kepler.gl Upgrades to deck.gl v5

kepler.gl will be upgraded to use the latest stable deck.gl (v5) in the coming weeks. This upgrade will fix visualization issues, such as spikes showing on polygons (Issue 79). It will also prevent version conflicts caused by multiple versions of luma.gl loaded in projects that leverage both kepler.gl and deck.gl. This upgrade will also incorporate improved performance on rendering and filtering.                                                                                                 
deck.gl v6 Release
deck.gl 6.0 comes with several new features, the seamless integration of a DeckGL component with ReactAPI, attribute transitions support across its core layers and new customization API, GPU accelerated aggregation in ScreenGridLayer, new Layer prop PropTypes for improving comparison speeds and validation, a declarative WebGL state setting using the Deck.parameter prop, and more. For more details follow our development on whats-new.md.

What People Are Saying


Maps in the Wild

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This map, made by Franz Neubert of Ubilabs, shows about 500,000 ship positions reported via the AIS (Automatic identification system) in Hamburg. The data is collected by an antenna mounted on the roof of Ubilabs’ office. Ships send out encoded messages including properties such as position, speed, heading, or even the size of the ship. The screenshot shows the decoded messages of a single day; the purple “hotspots” show anchored ships and stops for the public transport ships here in Hamburg.

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This animation, made by Nathan Pavlovic, an air quality scientist, shows the growth and intensity of the wine country wildfires north of San Francisco on October 8, 2017 using the newly-released GOES-16 FDC fire detection data.

kepler.gl User Feedback

It has been over a month since we formally launched kepler.gl to the broader community. Since then, we’ve received extensive recognition and constructive suggestions from our peers in the visualization world. Below is a snapshot of their feedback: 

“[kepler.gl] is an amazing product. The visually appealing graphics and speed of rendering as well as the map export as images is a great touch!” - GIS Software Developer, Public Health Industry

“You really hit the sweet spot: [kepler.gl] is both very powerful and very easy-to-use. As a professional, it has all the features that I need and it makes doing *good* work a breeze. ” - Product Manager, Data Visualization

“I wish I could upload data in other formats as well.” - Developer, Geological Research Institute

“It would be really cool and useful if we were able to do some data manipulation based on layers.” - Executive, Civic Tech Company

“Looking forward to seeing plug-and-play integrations with third party APIs and also compatibility to embed within other web apps.” - Founder, Venture Capital Firm


We are currently working to form a more robust kepler.gl community in which all contributors and interested parties can  participate in kepler.gl’s growth by leveraging their ideas and expertise to take kepler.gl to the next level. Our official roadmap is on its way and will be shared with everyone soon. Stay tuned! 

Things to Read


More than bar charts: Our former teammate Andrew McNutt describes how react-vis can be used to create advanced visualizations (Towards Data Science)
Comparing comparisons: Mike Bostock evaluates four different methods of map comparison: (Observable)
A touch of crayon: Timothée Giraud shows how to create maps with a color pencil effect in R (hypotheses.org)
Insight is 20/20: Dutch news organization NOS polled its users on whether they would support Belgium or Germany in the 2018 World Cup since the Netherlands did not qualify and built a cool map with the results (nos.nl)
Truth and beauty in visualization: Moritz Stefaner, one of the most celebrated visualization practitioners, selects 5 of his favorite essays from over a decade of writing (truth-and-beauty.net)
How to build immersive stories: NPR describes how they use hypothesis-driven design (HDD) to consistently create compelling stories (NPR)
Surveying the field: For the second year in a row, Elijah Meeks polls data vis practitioners on to take a pulse on the state of the field (Medium)

Connect with Us

We’re holding a kepler.gl meetup next week, Wednesday, July 11, at the Mapbox office. We’ll have guest speakers including Chris Gerving from Uber Elevate talk about their kepler.gl use-cases. Come hang out with us!
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vis-newsletter@uber.com

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