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Showing posts from January, 2011

Infoviz in 2011: a status report

"I predict that we will see a lot more visualization in journalism. A lot of stories are already about numbers, with language mostly telling readers the conclusions. Simple charts with some interaction can provide a bit more context, and more can be added very easily. I doubt that we'll see a big visual journalism revolution in 2011, mostly because of the lack of accessible and practical tools, but we will see a lot more experimentation. The increasing demand will lead to more journalism-focused services being provided by visualization websites, in particular ones that also provide the analytic capabilities (i.e., not just pretty charts)."-- from "The State of Information Visualization, 2011," by UNC Charlotte's Robert Kosara. Emphasis added, as this is exactly What We Do here at Synoptical Charts.

Cool Map: Emissions worldwide

From the Center for Public Integrity comes this interactive map showing greenhouse gas emissions from many of the world's largest economies.

Lots of data is packed into this simple interface, and the map itself is blessedly clear.

Note, though, that when it comes to infoviz issues, even these pros needed a do-over. Check out the message in the lower left corner. In an earlier version they made the common mistake of comparing circles based on radius, instead of by area. It's to their credit that not only did they fix the mistake, but they also owned up to it and made the change. The larger problem, though, is that distinguishing the relative size of circles is not easy for the average viewer; rectangles are clearer, and would probably have made this cool map even stronger.

Note also that stats are from 2005. Since then there's been substantial economic growth in China (for example), so the current numbers are likely to be even higher than what's shown here.

Differing Vie…

Cool Map: Lincoln's county-by-county map of slave population

A sobering look at U.S. social conditions, circa 150 years ago. Notice how concentrated slave ownership is in the areas surrounding the major rivers (the Mississippi Delta is one obvious example) and near the largest ports (Houston, the Chesapeake region, Charleston). If you want more detail, there's an interactive version at