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.
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.
The Washington Post explains the science—or is it art—of the cherry blossom in D.C. though an illustrated video. Certainly this is literally more illustrative in concept than some other posts here, but the illustrations nonetheless match the audio explanations and parallel nicely with the aesthetic qualities of the cherry trees.
Drawings by Patterson Clark and narration by AJ Chavar.
From FlowingData comes a post to an interactive piece by Bloomberg that looks at the geographic distribution of different heritage—read heritage, neither race nor ethnicity—groups. (Its choice of groups, however, is slightly contentious as it omits several important ones, including African-Americans.)
I would say that a typical map like this would simply plot the percent of each county, state, or other sub-division for the selected heritage group. Much like below, as I chose the Irish.
Bloomberg’s piece is a bit more interesting than that because of the ability to compare two groups, to see where they overlap and where they diverge. In doing so, they created a divergent choropleth that can show the subtleties and nuances of settlement patterns.
Charles Booth was a 19th century social scientist living in Britain. He famously investigated poverty and mapped out which parts of London were teeming with vicious, lower-class criminals or well-to-do upper class folks. Today, one might use a simple choropleth style to paint whole swathes of London by postal districts or constituencies or some such. But, Booth went street-by-street and house-by-house colouring blocks of London’s residential areas until he arrived at a map far more complex—and thus ultimately more telling—of the intricacies of London’s social structure.
Oliver O’Brien has created a modern take on Booth’s approach to investigate the housing demographics of the UK, which ignores the large areas of the British countryside that are devoid of homes and thus focuses on the denser residential areas of the UK’s major cities.
Censuses seem to be a natural dataset for such work, but I wonder if in the future we will be able to apply such data visualisations to other geographically-tied data.
Over at the Guardian, people are playing with data about drug use. The data comes from the Global Drug Survey, and Ian Taylor and the Guardian worked together to create this interactive piece that lets you either browse drug use comparisons between Americans and Brits or compare two specific drugs between our two peoples. It looks like we al drink though…
Credit, again, goes to the Guardian and Ian Taylor.
There is quite a lot of talk these days about the possibility of Israel, either with or without American assistance, launching an attack on Iran to halt the further development of its nuclear programme. The trouble is that Israel may not have the weapons necessary to carry out a successful attack, but the US has quite the arsenal. And one of the most useful, for just such a task is the Massive Ordnance Penetrator.
The National Post created an infographic to look at the bomb and just how it might be used if the US should decide to use it.
Credit for the piece goes to Mike Faille and Richard Johnson.
Earlier this month I posted about how the New York Times looked at the polarisation of the US Senate. Now the National Journal has another, similar visualisation attempting to explain the political gridlock that was picked up by the Atlantic.
For those wondering, the National Journal ranks senators on their conservativeness–liberalness by their votes and that is the plotted data.
Credit for the piece goes to the National Journal.