I am a graphic designer who focuses on information design. My day job? I am the data visualisation manager for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. (This blog is my something I do on my own time and does not represent the views of the Fed, blah blah blah legal stuff.) And with my main interest in information design—be it in the shape of clear charts, maps, diagrams, or wayfinding systems—I am fortunate that my day job focuses on data visualisation. Outside of work, I try to stay busy with personal design work. Away from the world of design, I enjoy cooking and reading and am interested in various subjects from history and geography to politics to science to the arts. And I allow all of them to influence my work.
There are a few things in this world that I really dislike. Two of them are coffee and chocolate. So this map from the Guardian, a map made of real melted chocolate, is not quite to my liking.
While I can appreciate the concept behind it—regardless of the chocolate-ness—I am left to wonder if from a data visualisation point a world map might not have been the best choice. Only fourteen countries are shown, if I count melted chocolate correctly.
I am just thankful that at the bottom of the piece I am not looking at chocolate doughnuts.
For many, this past winter was not so wintery, warmer than average temperatures and less than average snowfall. The National Post looked at Canada’s winter experience and found it to be the third-warmest in history. The story was covered in a large infographic piece that uses small multiples to look at previous Februaries across Canada and then bar charts to look at March temperatures specifically.
Credit for the piece goes to Tristin Hopper, Jonathon Rivait, and Richard Johnson.
Via the Guardian, Stamen Design has teamed up with Climate Central to create an interactive piece that maps the potential effects of rising sea levels. The user has control over the amount of the rise—this graphic says four feet—after which the coastline recedes to reveal the devastation. This is complemented by statistics of the land, including the population potentially affected along with the number of homes and total acres. In this case you see South Jersey, which is where I spent my summers. As you can see, the coastal beach towns I called home would be underwater. (And the little blue specks inland in Pennsylvania near my hometown, those are quarries; nobody lives there. No need to worry.)
The problem, of course, is that a large percent of the Earth’s population lives near the ocean. There are not, after all, many people living in the interiors of the continents. So receding coasts may very well be a problem in the coming years.
Cholera. It’s more than just a disease on the Oregon Trail. It exists in the 21st century, though typically we do not experience it in the industrialised Western world. Where one does see it crop up are in places with poor sanitation, which is usually in the developing world. But, if one were to take a developing country and then in a few seconds wreck the national infrastructure in a devastating earthquake, one could see the creation of the right conditions for an outbreak.
Sadly, that is exactly what happened—and to a lesser degree is still happening—in Haiti. The New York Times wrote about the problem in an article in the Sunday edition. The article was accompanied by an infographic that mapped the spread of the outbreak geographically and then its intensity over time.
Credit for the piece goes to Joe Burgess and Lisa Waananen.
Given the absence of a post yesterday, I took some time to do a small catch-up piece for you all. Those who know me offline are well aware that I document many things about my life including when I happen to drink tea. (And that’s often.) Finding myself with some unexpected time, I looked through the data that I have amassed since 1 January through to 28 March. While I aim to do more with this dataset someday, for now consider this a start. And now a self-surveillance infographic. On drinking tea.
It is interesting to note that I have in fact had tea every single day so far this year.
There are two things one is not supposed to discuss in mixed company, and let us face it, the internet is some rather mixed company. One of those things, politics, I frequently mention and bring up on this blog. The other, religion, I do not.
Until now. (I think.)
From the National Post comes this work on the size and distribution of the world’s religions.
We have an obesity problem in the United States. And in some cases, obesity leads to diabetes. A study was commissioned to discover whether surgery is more effective than the usual prescription of drugs, diet, and exercise. It turns out that surgery may very well be more effective.
The New York Times produced an infographic to explain the three types of surgery investigated in the study.
Follow the money is almost always good advice. And in this case, the journalists over at ProPublica have done just that. They have visualised just where the campaign (and Super PAC) dollars are going using an interactive Sankey diagram.
And then for those interested in how this was made, ProPublica provides those details as well.
Via my colleague Lauren Beth.
Credit goes to Al Shaw, Kim Barker, and Justin Elliott.
The civil war in Syria rages on. The following graphic from the New York Times accompanies the article and uses a calendar-style timeline to look at the mounting death toll. The visualisation type appears more and more often for time-based data sets shaped around days; we all (usually) understand how calendars work and are shaped.
In this particular case, specific key dates and images are brought out of the timeline and featured on the left. These provide an additional context to the human side of the story that may otherwise be left in the dates and deaths on the right.
A problem with such a design is the length of the year, which might preclude users of small screens from being able to see the entire year in one screen-height. I am left to wonder about whether the user can make an adjustment to a horizontally-scrolling calendar and if in the future such arrangements may better take advantage of widescreen monitors.