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50 Most Innovative Companies: Stamen Design

Fast Company

Nobody makes data accessible and beautiful like Stamen. A Stamen-designed Twitter display at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards captured, on-screen, the instant Twitterverse outrage when Kanye West grabbed Taylor Swift’s mike. The Olympics and Nike Basketball both signed on as Stamen clients in 2010. Earlier this year, the San Francisco-based firm launched its first product, Eddy, a “curation platform” that “takes the fire hose of data from Twitter and turns it into something meaningful,” says Stamen CEO Eric Rodenbeck.

The firm’s technological and aesthetic savvy has helped visualize much more, including taxi traffic, real-estate values, even crime patterns–all depicted in jarringly gorgeous maps. It’s working on a broadband-access map for the FCC that will show how wide disparities are across the United States. Stamen’s big dream is even loftier: to use data-visualization techniques to make information on crucial scientific topics, such as climate change, accessible to all.