Personal Data : Personal Meaning
On October 10th and 11th we held our fifth Quantified Self conference. These conferences have become a wonderful part of our ongoing work to expose the amazing experiences and insights of individuals tracking and exploring their personal data. Those experiences are brought to the forefront in our Show&Tell talks. These are the cornerstone of sharing the QS experience. A short talk that asks the presenter to tell us what they did, how they did it, and what they learned. Over the last 5 years of watching people give these talks we've learned that visualizing personal data is a key piece of the QS experience. A compelling chart or graph can speak volumes. 

With that in mind we made a simple request of all our conference attendees - send us your favorite personal data visualization and tell us what it means to you. Within a few hours we started receiving these wonderful images. We posted them at the conference and created some great conversation around making meaning through visualization. But, a conference only lasts a few days so we decided to publish them here, along with the same request to you. 

If you've learned something that you are willing to share from seeing your own data in a chart or a graph, please send it along.  A simple screen grab is fine. Include a few sentences to we understand what we're looking at. We'll do more posts of this kind soon.

Thank you to everybody who came to the conference this year and shared their amazing work. See you Amsterdam in May!
Five years of my personal GPS logs. 
- Aaron Parecki
This is my life during the past six months. Each square = 15 minutes. Each column = 1 day. This picture represents 138 days or  3,000+ activities. 
- David El Achkar
This is concatenation of screenshots from my sleep app. Most sleep apps don't let you zoom out like this and still see daily/nightly detail, so I just made it myself. I like that it shows how almost-consistent I am with my sleep, and made me ask new questions about the "shape" of a night of sleep for me.
 - Anita Lillie
Sports I've played: 1979-2012. Since being active is important to me, I wanted to have a kind of annual journal of the sports I've been involved in. I drew a box for a sport for any year that I felt I did a significant amount of that sport. You can see that I had a very brief fling with hockey (It hurt my back), but at the same time I started climbing, which I've done all of the past 8 years.
 - Anita Lillie
 My percentile feedback graph of my development productivity helps my motivation 
 - Nick Winter.
I gained a lot of insights from this heat map. The most obvious weight gain was no surprise -- that's when I periodically don't track. In any case, the big picture patterns are easily identified with a heat map.

Realized looking at this heat map that the point of no return was mid-April 2012 -- my data shows that was when I switched protein shakes with an egg based breakfast. I have since experimented and seen that protein shake in the morning seems to keep my blood sugar more stable and as a result my weight under control!
 - Mette Dhyrberg
Here's a period of a few days of webcam images taken using Stan James' LifeSlice during the final days of editing my thesis on Quantified Self uses of personal data. Serious business!
 - Sara M. Watson

Editor's note: You can read Sara's thesis here
This is a visualization of one month of my blood sugar readings from October 2012. I see that my control was generally good, with high blood sugars happening most often around midnight (at the top of the circle).
 - Doug Kanter
Here's a cool visualization of approximately 1 month of my location data in and around New York City using Moves and a Processing sketch Nicholas Felton put together. Yellow lines are walking (you'll see the hot spots where I walk my dog or around my office, blue are cycling (usually to/from the soccer field), and gray are subways/car/taxi. Pretty neat! It shows that I am very much a creature of habit or I walk the
same routes all the time to conserve willpower! 
 - Bob Troia 
A driver made a left turn from a stright-only lane right in front of me as I was proceeding straight through the
intersection from my straight or left lane.
I have occasionally turned on the accelerometer and gyro
logging in FluxStream Capture while I drive. This time
around, I have even more data. You can see the massive
deceleration and the associated spike in my heart rate and
drop in my beat spacing (RR). I haven't pulled my GPS data
yet, but I was able to spot this easily in the FluxStream
graph. Those dips in the Acceleration data really stand out.
Interestingly, my heart rate also reflects my mood afterward.

Initially relieved that I didn't get hit this time, then enraged
that it had nearly happened again, calming slowly as I
composed in my head a letter to the City of Addison
imploring them to add more signage at that intersection.
 - Bill Schuller 
Two Disagreements 
Basis Heart Rate and steps plot of walk to and from lawyer's office for one hour meeting. Note disagreement with wife, and disagreement with lawyers.
 - Gordon Bell 
I'm a huge music fan as I used to be a hippie. I've been
tracking and competing with my friends on the rock concerts we've gone to using Everylog.com. Here's a bar graph of the shows I rocked out at since the beginning of 2012. I'm stoked to see the up-and-to-the-right trend. I'm going to challenge myself to ensure that the trend, and the rock n' roll, as Neil Young would say, is here to stay. 
 - Joe Zaczyk
This map shows all my outdoor trips in the Pacific Northwest since 2008. Red is driving, yellow is hiking or paddling. I find this map useful not just for remembering past trips, but also for helping me decide what areas to explore next.
 - Eric Jain
In an average work day, I don't consider communication (email, instant message, etc) to be terribly meaningful work. I'd much rather be working on building software. Getting more sleep the night before increases the amount of meaningful work I'm likely to do in a day. 
 - Robby Maconell
This visualization shows 3 months of my happiness data. After reviewing it two years ago, it showed me that I was unhappy when traveling for work and, shortly after, I quit my job.
 - Mark Moschel 
Songs sorted by calories burned (while listening to respective song) in September 2013. (Feeling rather vulnerably to admit Ke$ha is trending at #2 this month.) I've learned what songs inspire me to burn the most calories (at least over short durations). 
- Michael Rucker
My running mileage per week over the past 10 years while training for 15 marathons.
 - Julie Price

 
Number of steps by air temperature. Color coded by city and amount of deep sleep. More deep sleep = larger squares. Over a couple year period. Data from Zeo, Fitbit, weather data and travel schedule. (made with the Tableau visualization tool

Laurie Frick
Pulse rate over 24 hours for 70 days from my Basis watch. Grey=null, blues=85.
With 6 years of QS data -- including weight, physical activity, strength, and key events -- this chart tells the story of my health since 2007, when I experienced a life-threatening medical problem and decided to change my lifestyle. What have I learned? Well, I've proven to myself that with the help of QS techniques, I can change my own lifelong habits.
  - Mark Leavitt
This simple line chart shows my electrodermal activity during a presentation/talk that I gave. Electrodermal Activity is highly correlated with emotional arousal and/or "stress". You can see where the meeting starts - EDA goes up and then gradually lessens while I am presenting, then obviously higher stress and arousal during the Q&A timeframe at the end!
 - Paul Johns
I observed my INR stay within prescribed therapeutic range during a 2 month cycle of weekly testing in which I made small diet changes that could have affected INR values.
 - Rob Rothfarb
I'm looking at how I spend my time at work and how my work schedule affects other aspects of my life, such as sleeping patterns. 
 - Erin Quealy
This is how I use TicTrac to visualize my Fitbit Flex and Aria scale data in a single graph.
 - Mark Krynsky 
Concentration logging by giving it a number between 0-10 during programming work. 
 - Jim Clermonts
This is my blood pressure response to standing, measured on a beat-to-beat basis using the output of a Bluetooth pulse oximeter. The pattern of blood pressure response to standing seems to vary with a number of factors such as sleep, stress, caffeine use, hydration, etc. When I have assessed other people there seem to be five basic patterns: 1) return of blood pressure to baseline in 15 to 20 seconds 2) blood pressure overshoots as it is returning to baseline and then drops to baseline 3) blood pressure returns to baseline but starts to drop again after a short period 4) Incomplete return of blood pressure to baseline 5) Blood pressure fails to have any significant return after it drops upon standing. The small fluctuations in the blood pressure trending graph is my breathing causing increase and decrease in blood pressure. 
 - Jess Goodman
My 8:36pm (inspired by @buster) is a great way of getting very interesting observations about my daily life.
 - Maarten den Braber
 ECG and Heart Rate visualization: deep breathing and meditation effects on heart rate. 
- Fu-Chieh Hsu
Posture Viewer showing head trajectory during a dozing meditation; while Z (dozing) the viewer is showing dozing in real time. When we fall unconscious, we lose muscle tone for head and neck support, resulting in dozing movement that's captured nicely by tracking accelerometers.
 - Fu-Chieh Hsu

 
Here's a fun graph where I attempt to quantify the thrill of gambling - in this case, a day at the racetrack during the Belmont Stakes. You can learn more at the accompanying blogpost here.
 - Bob Troia
The 7000 hours I've spent building Beeminder.
 - Daniel Reeves
 
Here I participated in a 6-week HIIT squat training. Workload (Blue bars -- multiply by 10 for Joules) & Power output (Purple line -- Watts) were tracked as my squat form was improved or weight was increased (normalized to my body weight). HRmax was recorded for most sessions, and normalized to the 220-age calculation. Lastly, the green line (repetitions total) correlates strongly with Workload or Power curves; therefore, any one of these three may represent the "value" of the workout, and improvement w/ time. 
 - David Jackemeyer
Ultra-simple (almost embarrassingly so) weight and meditation tracking graphs. But they are two of my key metrics for physical and mental health. (I have two similar calendars of daily physical exercise and healthy eating.) 
 - Michael Kronstadt 
I'm surprised to find the amount of time I think about eating equates to the time I spend at eating establishments. 
 - Loren West
 I broke my ankle running in early December. Even though the rehab feels slow, this graph shows that I'm almost back!
 - Jeanine Walters
 A chart displaying a number of different metrics visually. Average mood, average energy, physical level and average engagement/focus associated with people/places/things in my life captured via smartphone tracked checkins over the period of a week.
 - DJ Wetmore
LDL cholesterol and estimated daily consumption of saturated fat (grams). Fat consumption exponentially smoothed (0.125*x[t] + 0.875*prior_sum, roughly equivalent to a 16 day moving average). 
 - Peter McClusky
Summary of my FitBit activity since the beginning of 2012. Note the increase in stair climbing in April 2012 as I started training for a hiking trip in the Himalayas. Next stop Everest Base Camp in May 2014. Averaged 8.5 miles of hiking and nearly 40 floors of climbing per day for more than 600 consecutive days. Seeing the numbers and the visualizations is a powerful motivator for me.   
 - David Grenewetzki
Chart of Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) over time. Diet is the same throughout - paleo, high saturated fat. Some studies show that LDL can be linked to infections.
  - Damien Blenkinsopp
Very interesting correlation between my body weight and sleep. Please take a look at into peaks! Taken from my weigh loss program from the last 6 months from RecoApp mobile application. 
 - Markus Mäntynen 
My Stress Level evolution over time with a regular use of
O.zen game. 
 - Olivier Janin 
By tracking and plotting my stomach problem severity I could see where interventions I staged made a real difference! 
 - Sue Lueder
We have a network to look at environmental context of a community. Here's a shot of Nitrogen Dioxide over a day from a few different locations.
 - Richard Beckwith 

I really like the new visualization from our website - ProjectAddApp

- Mauro Sibilia 

Graph of my LDL cholesterol "bad cholesterol" which has
plummeted from 130 to 107 (3 months), then 112 to 85
(1.5months), by following a low saturated fat diet, and
without taking any medications. Graph is from InsideTracker
from Segterra, a new Boston company. 
 - Mark Drangsholt
I've been working on a basic weather board recently, and this is a snapshot of the relative light levels captured by the light sensor over a ~20hr period. My ultimate goal is to combine various personal data sets so I can analyze my relationship with the world around me. My current task is to find a means by which I can add a timestamp to the board's output. My long-term goal is to automate the logging of data to my online database in realtime. 
 - Reid Bradley
This is a personal experiment assessing the impact of an herbal supplement on a 'misery index' I've been tracking over a long period of time. The circles represent evidence of a 'special cause' indicating that my index changed more than is explained by my past ups and downs. This has convinced me to retest the supplements to see if they improve my overall sense of wellbeing on a longer-term basis. 
 - Ian Eslick
I ran the same route at different environmental temperatures to see if the temp affects my total calorie burn; this chart visualizes that relationship and is one of several analyses that led me conclude tentatively that lower temperature runs cause higher rates of calorie burn. 
 - Nick Alexander
While this may not be fancy or as complicated as some of the other data I have, it means a lot to me because it shows progress on something I have always struggled with. My drop in weight also represents an increase in positive mood, a decrease in blood sugar (away from Type 2 diabetes), a healthier digestive system (without wheat), and a less medically sick me. T hat graph represents the beginning of an awesome transformation that I got through data tracking! 
 - Katrina Rodzon
Activity-Sleep-Blood Pressure-Heart Rate. Analysis of daily activity and sleep patterns with correlation to heart rate and
blood pressure values. 
 - Rob Rothfarb