Alaska Airlines

Here’s an older, March graphic from the New York Times that looks at Alaska Airlines. This exemplifies what maps do well; it maps relevant data onto a map. Perhaps that reads silly, but too often people map data just because most things are tied to a geography; things that happen in the world happen somewhere, ergo everything could be mapped.

The growth of Alaska Airlines
The growth of Alaska Airlines

In this graphic, however, mapping the tight and Alaska-focused network with tendrils sneaking off-map to distant cities. The map supports the article that tells how after decades of focusing on Alaska, the airline has begun to expand to Midwestern cities in the US, cities in Mexico, and Hawaii.

I am not terribly keen on the stacked bar chart. It highlights the steady Alaska market over the decades at the cost of showing dynamism in those Midwestern, Mexican, and Hawaiian markets.

Credit for the piece goes to the New York Times Graphics Department.

Which Beaches Are Open for the Start of Summer?

Last year Hurricane Sandy wrecked swathes of the Jersey Shore and Long Island. Since then, authorities and officials have been busy preparing and rebuilding the shore for the unofficial start of summer: Memorial Day Weekend. This interactive map from the New York Times looks at what will be open for Memorial Day from Connecticut through Long Island to as far south as Margate.

What beaches will be open along the shore
What beaches will be open along the shore

Once you find your preferred beach, you can see the details of what will be open, closed, or otherwise different. This is the view for Atlantic City, nearest to the southern New Jersey shore towns where I spent so many years but are left off the map.

What will be open in Atlantic City
What will be open in Atlantic City

Credit for the piece goes to Jenny Anderson, Lisa W. Foderaro, Tom Giratikanon, Sarah Maslin Nir, Robert Davey, Christopher Maag, and Tim Stelloh.

What to Eat at a Ball Game

Today’s Friday. So maybe at this point, after a week of baseball-related posts, you are ready to go see a game yourself. If you go, here is a flow chart from SB Nation to help you choose your foods and drinks for the game.

Flow chart for concession stand purchases
Flow chart for concession stand purchases

Credit for the piece goes to Eric Wayne.

Strikeouts on the Upswing

Strikeouts are an important part of baseball. They are the moments where the pitcher wins the duel between pitcher and batter that is the essential element of baseball. But over the years the game has seen more and more batters striking out more often. Earlier this year the New York Times looked at the rising rates of strikeouts in a story supported by interactive data visualisation components.

Strikeouts on the upswing
Strikeouts on the upswing

Like the piece on Bryce Harper, this piece on strikeouts is more of a narrative with the interactive graphics supporting the written words. It is not as lengthy as the Washington Post’s piece, but this one is far more interactive as the user can select his or her favourite teams and follow their performance over time.

Credit for the piece goes to Shan Carter, Kevin Quealy and Joe Ward.

Renovating Wrigley Field

In Chicago there is much ado about renovating Wrigley Field. As a Red Sox fan, I can only say that the Fenway renovations are being well-received. A little while back, the Chicago Tribune illustrated just what these proposed changes will be. The first image was from the above the fold section, and the second was a smaller set of illustrations that were below the fold.

Above the fold illustrations
Above the fold illustrations
Below the fold illustrations
Below the fold illustrations

Really, it’s just always a treat to be able to post printed graphics.

Credit for the pieces go to the Cubs and Chad Yoder of the Tribune.

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper is undoubtedly one of the best baseball players in the game today. To put it simply, he hits. And he hits well. And he hits well often. So the Washington Post put together an interactive, long form piece about Harper’s swing and hitting.

Pitching to Bryce Harper
Pitching to Bryce Harper

The piece begins with a narrated video outlining the science behind Harper’s swing. Then the reader can down into the piece and learn more about Harper’s history and development and how he compares to other hitters. Statistics and data visualisation pieces show just how impressive Harper is as a hitter and how pitchers are trying to combat that.

Interactive long form articles are appearing more and more often online. But this is perhaps the most data- and science-intensive piece I have seen thus far. What is particularly nice about the format is that, as I have often noted, annotations and explanations are what make good infographics and what move data visualisation from presentational to informational. That this piece in particular happens to be about baseball, well, all the better.

Credit for the piece goes to Adam Kilgore, Sohail Al-Jamea, Wilson Andrews, Bonnie Berkowitz, Todd Lindeman, Jonathan Newton, Lindsay Applebaum, Karl Hente, Matthew Rennie, John Romero, and Mitch Rubin.

Disabled List Payrolls

The Boston Red Sox are in Chicago this week to play the other Sox, i.e. the White Sox. So this week we have a bunch of baseball-related pieces. The first is this recent interactive graphic from the New York Times. It is a daily-updated graphic that looks at the payroll of all Major League teams that is tied up on players on the Disabled List, i.e. those unable to play because of injuries.

Comparing all MLB teams
Comparing all MLB teams

Clearly the Yankees are paying a lot of money for no production. You can go down the list and compare each team’s total spending. But if you want intra-team details, the piece offers you the ability to look at player-by-player salary details. Interestingly one of Chicago’s baseball teams ranks just above the Red Sox while Milwaukee sits just below.

Red Sox players on the Disabled List
Red Sox players on the Disabled List

Credit for the piece goes to Shan Carter, Kevin Quealy and Joe Ward.

Your State’s Highest Paid Public Employee

This choropleth map comes from Deadspin and it looks at each state’s highest paid public employee. As you can probably imagine since the graphic comes from Deadspin, most states pay their highest wages to sports coaches. Ten states pay somebody other than a sports coach. And five of those are in the Mid-Atlantic/New England area.

Highest Paid Public Employees
Highest Paid Public Employees

Credit for the piece goes to Reuben Fischer-Baum.

More Cicadian Rhythms

On Tuesday I shared with you some work by Jonathan Corum at the New York Times on the 17-year cicadas now starting to emerge back east. (And as I recall from my childhood, I assure you that they are quite loud.) Today we look at an illustration of the cicada life cycle via the Washington Post.

As I discussed the other day about other graphics, there are differences in how the two newspapers are presenting the same topic or subject matter. The New York Times piece concerns itself with the emergence over time of cicadas across the United States and links to historical articles about those events. Here, however, the Washington Post instead explains just how you get a seventeen-year period between emergences.

Additionally, the Washington Post maps near the end are not interactive as in the New York Times piece. But what this allows the Post to do is focus on those broods that impacted the Washington area instead of all those areas likely outside the Post’s core readership.

The Washington Post's explanation of the periodical cicadas
The Washington Post's explanation of the periodical cicadas

Credit for the piece goes to Patterson Clark.

California Budget 2013–14

Yesterday I looked at the aboriginal Canadian identity infographic and wondered if bubbles in a bubble suffice for understanding size and relationship. Today we look at an interactive graphic from the Los Angeles Times where I do not think the bubbles suffice.

California Budget 2013–4
California Budget 2013–4

In this graphic, I cannot say the bubbles work. Besides the usual difficulty in comparing the sizes of bubbles, too many of the bubbles are spaced too far apart. These white gaps make it even more difficult to compare the bubbles. Furthermore, as you will see in a moment, it is difficult to see which programmes receive more than others because there is no ranking order to the bubbles.

Below is a quick data sketch of the state funds only data for 2013 and 2012.

California Budget 2013–14
California Budget 2013–14

While I did not spend a lot of time on it, you can clearly see how simply switching to a bar chart allows the user to see the rank of programmes by state funding. It is not a stretch to add some kind of toggle function as in the original. One of the tricky parts is the percent growth. You will note above that my screenshot highlights high speed rail; the growth was over 3000%. That is far too much to include in my graphic, so I compared the actuals instead. That is one of the tradeoffs, but in my mind it is an acceptable one.

Credit for the original goes to Paige St. John and Armand Emamdjomeh.