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Name Voyager (2005)
The Name Voyager visualizes a century of baby name trends. It was created to celebrate the launch of my wife's book, The Baby Name Wizard.
The Name Mapper, launched in 2008, displays geographic name trends.
Related academic paper:
Baby Names, Visualization, and Social Data Analysis. Martin Wattenberg. InfoVis 2005.
The Name Voyager lets you type in a name and see a graph of its popularity over the past century. But there's a twist: as you type the visualization shows, letter by letter, the overall popularity of the letters you've entered so far. Because names with similar sounds often have similar trends, it's easy to spot waves of name fashion.
What we did not expect was that it became popular even among people with no interest in children. The site has received millions of visits since launch, and has been the subject of thousands of blog posts and online conversations. The activity around this visualization was one of the inspirations for my current research focus on the social aspects of data visualization and analysis.
In 2008, we created a new visualization, the Name Mapper, that showed
geographic name trends in the past four decades. The Name Mapper features two views,
a map display and a timeline, as seen in these screenshots: