time series

53 posts
Best chart I have seen this year

Marvelling at this chart:   *** The credit ultimately goes to a Reddit user (account deleted). I first saw it in this nice piece of data journalism by my friends at System 2 (link). They linked to Visual Capitalism (link). There are so many things on this one chart that makes me smile. The animation. The message of the story is aging population. Average age is moving up. This uptrend...

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Think twice before you spiral

After Nathan at FlowingData sang praises of the following chart, a debate ensued on Twitter as others dislike it. The chart was printed in an opinion column in the New York Times (link). I have found few uses for spiral charts, and this example has not changed my mind. The canonical time-series chart is like this:   *** The area chart takes no effort to understand. We can see when...

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Start at zero, or start at wherever

Andrew's post about start-at-zero helps me refine my own thinking on this evergreen topic. The specific example he gave is this one: The dataset is a numeric variable (y) with values over time (x). The minimum numeric value is around 3 and the range of values is from around 3 to just above 20. His advice is "If zero is in the neighborhood, invite it in". (Link) The rule, as...

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How does the U.K. vote in the U.N.?

Through my twitter feed, I found my way to this chart, made by jamie_bio. This is produced using R code even though it looks like a slide. The underlying dataset concerns votes at the United Nations on various topics. Someone has already classified these topics. Jamie looked at voting blocs, specifically, countries whose votes agree most often or least often with the U.K. If you look at his Github, this...

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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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Displaying convoluted indices

I reviewed another batch of projects from Ray Vella's class at NYU. The following piece by Carlos Lasso made an impression on me. There are no pyrotechnics but he made one decision that added a lot of clarity to the graphic. The underlying dataset gauges the income disparity of regions within nine countries. The richest and the poorest regions are selected for each country. Two time points are shown. Altogether, there...

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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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Surging gas prices

A reader finds this chart hard to parse: The chart shows the trend in gas prices in New York in the past two years. This is a case in which the simple line chart works very well. I added annotations as the reasons behind the decline and rise in prices are reasonably clear.  One should be careful when formatting dates. The legend of the original chart looks like this: In...

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Asymmetry and orientation

An author in Significance claims that a single season of Premier League football without live spectators is enough to prove that the so-called home field advantage is really a live-spectator advantage. The following chart depicts the data going back many seasons: I find this bar chart challenging. It plots the ratio of home wins to away wins using an odds scale, which is not intuitive. The odds scale (probability of...

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The gift of small edits and subtraction

While making the chart on fertility rates (link), I came across a problem that pops up quite often, and is  ignored by most software programs. Here is an earlier version of the chart I later discarded: Compare this to the version I published in the blog post: Aside from adding the chart title, there is one major change. I removed the empty plots from the grid. This is a visualization...

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