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Example: Google Motion Charts

A little something I whipped up about the post-breakup economic conditions in the former Soviet republics, Eastern European client states, and a few other countries, including the United States.


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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…

Quality dataviz about quality-of-life issues

To accompany its Better Life Initiative, OECD (the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) has put up a handsome, carefully constructed set of interactive data graphics called the Better Life Index:
There is more to life than the cold numbers of GDP and economic statistics – this Index allows you to compare well-being across countries, based on 11 topics the OECD has identified as essential, in the areas of material living conditions and quality of life. Each country is represented by a multicolored flower with 11 petals (OK, yes, potentially cheesy). The length of each petal represents the country's score in a given area; the width of the petal indicates the importance the user has assigned to that particular aspect. Drilling down into the details is easy to do; in fact, if you've a mind to do your own visualizations of this info, the underlying index data can be downloaded in spreadsheet format.

Kudos to Moritz Stefaner, Jonas Leist and Timm Kekeritz (for Raure…

Hans Rosling and Gapminder

As part of his larger mission of promoting "fact-based" public health policy, Swedish physician Hans Rosling founded, which aims to make world health data available and understandable to everyone. Back in 2006, Rosling gave a well-received TED presentation on the principles of Gapminder, showing, among other things, relative historical changes in life expectancy and GDP. (He spoke again in 2007.)

Rosling acknowledges that there are some small flaws and inconsistencies with data derived from all these different sources, but believes that the comparative results are far more significant. Check out the vast difference between Mauritius and Congo in income per person and life expectancy (shown on the Gapminder site and in the '06 presentation); consequently, says Rosling, using the term "sub-Saharan Africa" to describe both of these countries is vague to the point of uselessness.

His point: The more easily data and details can be visualized and compared…