Check out dataviz.tumblr.com, a two-month-old collection of charts, information graphics and other artifacts to ponder. Naturally, some are richer and more compelling than others. Three particularly clear, thoughtful examples:
Instrument RangeWhat I like: Color coding, always a plus if used intelligently; excellent labeling (sonic frequencies, where octaves start) — which is almost unnecessary given the clever use of the keyboard as the Y axis; X-axis groupings demonstrate not only how categories of instruments compare, but also how each instrument compares with other members of its category. Wishlist: There's not much that needs improvement here. Use a serif font, maybe?
Comparing Dangers of Popular Drugs What I like: Shades of solid gray, perfect for photocopying; legible and consistent presentation; table of numbers alongside chart — potentially a distraction — underscores message and clarifies why drugs are charted in this order (by user dependence, in descending order). Wishli…
For my part, since I am a lifelong Bardbrain (I once wrote a thesis on metaphorical structure in the language of Shakespeare's plays), I find this subsite especially intriguing. I'll try to whip up a Shakespeare-related visualization and post it here soon.
Fast Company's Cliff Kuang tells his readers that information graphics are all the rage among young graphic designers these days, and for good reason: The discipline—involving cartographers, statisticians, computer programmers, and graphic designers—creates public debate on a level graphic design rarely does. As Manuel Lima, the founder of the information graphics website Visual Complexity, once told me, "One of the big challenges we face now is dealing with all the data around us, and finding ways to make it useful.""Visualizing the Economic Stimulus" — Fast Company
Two days ago, I wrote:I'm hoping that someone at ProPublica will soon update [a treemap of the House's stimulus bill], including a treemap of the bill's Senate version and providing graphics that compare 1) the proposed dollar amounts, 2) sector spending and 3) the timetables.Apparently I'm not the only one who thought this would be a good idea, because now Shovelwatch.org presents a treemap of the Senate bill — and, even better, a bar chart comparing the two versions. ProPublica has a brief text item on the contrasts, but the chart is a far superior means of expressing them. Here's why: It's interactive, so you can choose exactly what you which aspects of the data you want to see and exactly how you want to see them (by average, by total, by whose bill they come from). Sometimes interactivity is like lipstick on a pig (ahem) — a last-ditch gimmick to save a bad chart — but here it's appropriate and meaningful.
Occasionally you don't need an image-driven graphic to convey a lot of data; sometimes a table of numbers alone can be quite illuminating. Here's a comparative table put together by ProPublica.org that shows how the House's version of the US stimulus bill stacks up against the Senate version (passed just moments ago). PP explains: Some highlights: The House version would spend $60 billion more on education. The Senate version adds more than $100 billion for tax cuts to individuals and families. The House would spend more to upgrade the country’s electricity grid. The Senate would spend more on medical research. The table's very clear and concise, but I do wish the numbers cited there were linked to the actual text of the proposed legislation (or, even better, some sort of graphic translation of it) so readers could see for themselves the exact details of each provision.
Meanwhile, there's also a treemap of the late-January House version (made with ManyEyes) over at S…
We have a perfectly nice bar chart here: clear, legible, professionally done, all that. This chart tells us two (2) things: what month it is and how many jobs were lost. Surely there is additional info about this two-year stretch that would add depth and meaning (and potentially even yield an epiphany or two!).
One suggestion: The story says, "Manufacturers eliminated 207,000 jobs, more than in any year since 1982. The construction industry eliminated 111,000 jobs. And retailers, who were wrapping up their worst holiday shopping season in years, eliminated 45,000 jobs." Segmenting each bar by color to represent the various sectors would show at a glance where the biggest losses were coming from.
Again, a perfectly nice fever chart. (I don't mean to minimize the…
The second version is far clearer and more scaleable — not to mention that it's more correct mathematically. (He alters the bars to make them all the same width; this does away with any questions about whether the varying widths mean anything, and if so, what that might be.)
Overall, Peltier's site is a handy resource, with pages of newbie-friendly tutorials and tips here. Thanks, Jon.
A new map of Travel Time to Major Cities - developed by the European Commission and the World Bank - captures this connectivity and the concentration of economic activity and also highlights that there is little wilderness left... accessibility is relevant at all levels, from local development to global trade and this map fills an important gap in our understanding of the spatial patterns of economic, physical and social connectivity.The creators of this map went beyond simple considerations of road mileage and cities' distance from the coast to calculate a more complex measure of "friction surface" — in other words, how long it really takes to cover a given mile of terrain. Among the other factors that add to travel time (i.e., friction) are topography, national borders (the crossing of which can cause delays), and land cover. (Check out the data sources page to see where all that information originated, and what the data's parameters are.)