Map

110 posts
Variance is a friend of dataviz

Seven years ago, I wrote a post about "invariance" in data visualization, which is something we should avoid (link). Yesterday, Business Insider published the following chart in an article about rising gas prices (link): The map shows the average prices at the pump in seven regions of the United States.  This chart is succeeded by the following map: This second map shows the change in average gas prices in the...

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Superb tile map offering multiple avenues for exploration

Here's a beauty by WSJ Graphics: The article is here. This data graphic illustrates the power of the visual medium. The underlying dataset is complex: power production by type of source by state by month by year. That's more than 90,000 numbers. They all reside on this graphic. Readers amazingly make sense of all these numbers without much effort. It starts with the summary chart on top. The designer made...

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To explain or to eliminate, that is the question

Today, I take a look at another project from Ray Vella's class at NYU. (The above image is a honeypot for "smart" algorithms that don't know how to handle image dimensions which don't fit their shadow "requirement". Human beings should proceed to the full image below.) As explained in this post, the students visualized data about regional average incomes in a selection of countries. It turns out that remarkable differences...

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Illustrating coronavirus waves with moving images

The New York Times put out a master class in visualizing space and time data recently, in a visualization of five waves of Covid-19 that have torched the U.S. thus far (link). The project displays one dataset using three designs, which provides an opportunity to compare and contrast them. *** The first design - above the headline - is an animated choropleth map. This is a straightforward presentation of space...

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Visualizing fertility rates around the globe

The following chart dropped on my Twitter feed. It's an ambitious chart that tries to do a lot. The underlying data set contains fertility rate data from over 200 countries over 20 years. The basic chart form is a column chart that is curled up into a ball. The column chart is given colors that map to continents. All countries are grouped into five continents. The column chart can only...

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Ridings, polls, elections, O Canada

Stephen Taylor reached out to me about his work to visualize Canadian elections data. I took a look. I appreciate the labor of love behind this project. He led with a streamgraph, which presents a quick overview of relative party strengths over time. I am no Canadian election expert, and I did a bare minimum of research in writing this blog. From this chart, I learn that: the Canadians have...

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A little stitch here, a great graphic is knitted

The Wall Street Journal used the following graphic to compare hurricanes Ida and Katrina (link to paywalled article). This graphic illustrates the power of visual communications. Readers can learn a lot from it. The paths of the storms can be compared. The geographical locations of the landfalls are shown. The strengthening of wind speeds as the hurricanes moved toward Louisiana is also displayed. Ida is clearly a lesser storm than...

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One of the most frequently produced maps is also one of the worst

Summer is here, many Americans are putting the pandemic in their rear-view mirrors, and gas prices are soaring. Business Insider told the story using this map: What do we want to learn about gas prices this summer? Which region has the highest / lowest prices? How much higher / lower than the national average are the regional prices? How much has prices risen, compared to last year, or compared to...

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Metaphors, maps, and communicating data

There are some data visualization that are obviously bad. But what makes them bad? Here is an example of such an effort: This visualization of carbon emissions is not successful. There is precious little that a reader can learn from this chart without expensing a lot of effort. It's relatively easy to identify the largest emitters of carbon but since the data are not expressed per-capita, the chart mainly informs...

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Reading an infographic about our climate crisis

Let's explore an infographic by SCMP, which draws attention to the alarming temperature recorded at Verkhoyansk in Russia on June 20, 2020. The original work was on the back page of the printed newspaper, referred to in this tweet. This view of the globe brings out the two key pieces of evidence presented in the infographic: the rise in temperature in unexpected places, and the shrinkage of the Arctic ice....

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