The beauty of data and graffiti

The call for media companies to make more out of data has been growing for a while now, but I’ve just seen something that beautifully shows how there’s amazing ways to use data for things most of us haven’t even thought about…

Like many cool things, when I first picked up on it via The Pirate’s Dilemma, and PSFK, I wasn’t entirely sure it was real…

Anyway, this week is apparently Graffiti Markup Language Week:

GML = Graffiti Markup Language from Evan Roth on Vimeo.

As an aside, is it me or are far more digitally-savvy people choosing Vimeo over Youtube?

Anyway, what’s amazing is that there’s actually a markup language for grafitti, which is a specialised XML protocol dedicated to capturing the motion data created by tagging – allowing sharing, studying, cataloguing and analysis.

There’s so much data in our everyday lives which can now be collated, aggregated, analysed, dissected, repurposed, reused, translated, displayed.

And yet comparatively little appears in mainstream news sources – although that seems to be slowly changing.

But any media, marketing or PR effort should be looking at how to effectively use public or proprietary data to inform, entertain, amaze etc..

It’s why I’m still so excited about the One Golden Square Labs project, Compare My Radio, (disclosure, I work for One Golden Square/Absolute Radio). It takes data and uses it for something noone else had done…

Other great examples include The Guardian’s Datastore – a compendium of publicly-available data which can be used for free – Paul Bradshaw has a nice look at it… Or what about Daytum, which allows you to collect and communicate your data on whatever you choose?

And the visual ways of communicating data can attract attention – particularly when we have so much text and so many moving pictures coming into our space on a daily basis…

There’s no excuse for producing anything which doesn’t have decent data behind it (I’m not suggesting 100% perfection…but so much isn’t good enough), and there’s no reason why I should accept 100% of people like something because you asked 20, and they all said yes.

And allow us to explore it, play with it, and produce our own interpretations – and export it into other places…


  1. […] sure that Graffiti markup is going to be extremely useful, but for me it just looks extremely […]