Reddit is a great place to look when you’re searching for inspiration. Occasionally a gem will emerge from the background noise that will blow you away; and I often find it’s the simplest ideas that have the most impact. For example: take 424,000 Wikipedia articles and cross-reference their date and location and you get “A History of the World in 100 Seconds”. A simple idea with inspiring results.
The visualisation starts off slowly but around 1400AD there’s an explosion of activity. It’s interesting to see that there’s one little island in the middle of it all where a high percentage of the activity occurs. You may be able to guess its name, but if not, it is of course the United Kingdom. By the end of the video you can clearly see a map of the world and it’s even possible to pinpoint many individual countries.
I’d love to see a version that only focuses on Europe; there are so many references to it in the data but the visualisation zoom level doesn’t do it justice. The authors Gareth Lloyd and Tom Martin have done a fantastic job of making a staggering amount of data into an interesting visual work of art.