100 Beautiful and Informative Notebooks of 2021

Tom Larkworthy
34 min readDec 31, 2021

It’s the end of 2021, and I would like to reminisce about the amazing work that was produced on Observable over the last year. I have taken all the notebooks that were trending from the Top Trending Notebook Twitter Bot and picked 100 good ones.

The broad categories apparent in 2021 were “dataviz, art, mathematics, maps, apps, development, design, tutorials and tools”. Every notebook listed here is worth a read, but there is rather a lot so it might take you a few sessions!

OK, enough chat… here are my favorite notebooks of 2021, sorted into topics…


Observable is a digital community for data practitioners. In 2021 an enormous quantity of informative dataviz notebooks were produced, but here is some of the very best. Special shout out to @karimdouieb who has been on fire using 3D graphics to visualize large datasets with great effect in works like All the passes.

The Sun’s analemma by @fil

If you were to look at the sky every of the year at the exact same hour, where would the Sun be? The diagram below shows its position for each hour of the day, limited by the horizon. Each twisted loop (called an analemma), is in fact made of dots, one for each of the year. The analemma shows by how much solar time is fast or slow compared to clock time, at different periods of the year. Click on the map to set the observer’s location (defaults to Greenwich).

Equal-Area Radial Matrix of LGBT Rights by @kerryrodden

In Why use a radial data visualization?, I wrote about some of the pros and cons of choosing a radial layout for time series, categorical, or hierarchical data. I left out matrix/heatmap data, though — so for Pride month, here’s a partial re-creation of a radial matrix visualization I love, The Guardian’s Gay rights in the US, state by state (whose scope covers both sexual…

Tom Larkworthy

Observablehq/Cloud consultant. Developing webcode.run to serverless to Observablehq. Ex-Firebase, Ex-Google Cloud.