Fortune 500 visualization

Concept: Graph the Fortune 500 companies, rank over time

Data Source
Complete list of Fortune 500 companies 1955-2009

The hue of a company is determined by the first year the company appears in the visualization. Companies are highlighted when hovered over. The box on the bottom displays the year and rank of the mouse position, as well as the highlighted company, if one exists. This project is implemented in C++ with openFrameworks.


The form of this visualization affords the following:

  • Efficiently answer what companies were successful at time X
  • Follow the Fortune 500 ranking of an individual company
  • Observe greater trends of ranking changes


Drawing the curves

The shapes are more or less Bézier curves combined with straight line segments. To achieve this, I had to draw the outline, which proceeded in the order one line segment followed by two Bézier curve segments. openFrameworks does not smooth filled shapes so to get the nice edges, I drew each shape a second time without fill.

Caching images

The drawing of all the shapes requires a significant amount of computation. Fortunately, the background image does not change. Taking advantage of this, in setup(), I drew the static image in pieces and saved the screens to an array of ofImage objects. Therefore, during the main loop, the ofImage’s are drawn in their appropriate locations followed by the drawing of only one company if needed (the one hovered over).

Hover detection

It’s usually harder to make traditional interactive mouse applications in platforms such as Processing and openFrameworks where there isn’t really a concept of a GUI object. To solve this problem, I used the rather hacky process of saving the generated color of each company. Whenever the mouse moves, the program grabs the color of the point under the mouse and does a lookup in the color-company map.

  • Can Duruk

    This looks pretty cool. What's with the shift around 1995?

    Also, any reason why can't share the implementation? Not that I care for myself that much but just wondering.