Waste Water Disposal Wells

Today’s map comes from the Texas Tribune out of Austin, Texas. The map displays the location of disposal wells, i.e. the sites where the waste water from fracking and related drilling operations are dumped. Firstly, the map hints that the fracking industry is not spread equally across the state.

But secondly, the map does this through the use of hexagons that represent well density. So at a broad, state-wide view, the user sees almost a traditional choropleth. The difference is that these are not natural or political boundaries but rather data constructs designed to aggregate highly granular data points.

Well locations state-wide are aggregated into coloured hexagons
Well locations state-wide are aggregated into coloured hexagons

Even nicer, however, is that if you want to see where disposal wells are in your county or town, the map lets you do that too. Because as you zoom in ever closer, the individual wells appear within the hexagons that they colour. It’s a very solid piece of work.

Individual wells colour the hexagons, but are only visible up close
Individual wells colour the hexagons, but are only visible up close

Credit for the piece goes to Ryan Murphy.

Arming a Civil War

War is good for the arms business. So a long and bloody civil war in Syria is just what arms manufacturers want. And while arming the Syrian government is fairly easy, how do you get weapons and ammunition to the Syrian rebels? The New York Times maps the flow of arms through an almost Sankey-like diagram where the number of flights determines the width of the arrows from source to destination.

And while that would be sufficient information to warrant a map, the Times adds a further layer by showing when the flights arrived. Clearly the civil war began with a certain number of arms. But as the war has both drawn on and become bloodier, new weapons are needed and ammunition needs to be restocked. Those needs likely explain a recent surge in flights.

Map of routes used to arm Syrian opposition forces
Map of routes used to arm Syrian opposition forces

Credit for the piece goes to Sergio Peçanha.

New Data Visualisation Forms

Monday was an odd day, both 1 April and the start of baseball. I had a tough decision to make: Do I post a serious baseball-related piece or a humourous April Fool’s Day one instead? If you recall, I went for the serious baseball option. But that leaves me with Friday, where I try to post work that is a bit on the lighter side of life.

So here is EagerPies, published by EagerEyes on 1 April. It’s in the style of the EagerEyes site, a blog with posts about data visualisation. This selection is EagerPies work to improve upon Minard and the layering of data sets. But if you worry about complexity, fret not for they realised that encoding data in transparency would be a step too far.

Stacked scatter column pies
Stacked scatter column pies

Credit for the piece goes to EagerPies.

Proposed Expansion of Massachusetts Railway Network

When we talk about new rail projects, or even highway or airport expansions, we like to include maps of new routes and destinations. In that sense this map from the New York Times is not new. However, we often forget in such visualisations that we have the opportunity to add layers of information that show why these expansions are beneficial.

Proposed Massachusetts railway network expansion
Proposed Massachusetts railway network expansion

 

Here, note in particular how the proposed improvement projects link the dense corridor of urban settlements stretching from Boston through Worcester to Springfield. Additional lines connect more distant southerly cities such as Fall River to Boston. These might normally be seen as dots at ends of a line, but by showing the density of the population in these corridors, readers can understand how the proposed lines might benefit more people than just those living at the dots.

Credit for the piece goes to the New York Times.

All Fracked Up

Last week a new study revealed that the injection of wastewater from oil drilling and fracking may contribute to earthquakes. Put simply, the theory is that the wastewater injected into the ground lubricates fault lines. And when sufficiently lubricated, the resistance between sides of the fault vanishes and an earthquake is triggered to release the tension in the fault line.

Mother Jones used an animated .gif to explain just how the process of fracking works, specifically to show the wasterwater portion. I chose this piece because it is the first .gif that I have seen attempting to use the looping animation to convey information or a story, especially as an infographic. Make sure to click the image to go the Mother Jones’ article for the animated version.

Step 2 of the graphic
Step 2 of the graphic

Credit for the piece goes to Leanne Kroll and Brett Brownell.

The Life Expectancy Gap Between Men and Women

Today’s post comes via my coworker Jonathan and his subscription to National Geographic. The spread below looks at the gap in life expectancy between men and women in the United States. Outliers are highlighted by drawing lines to the counties in question while the same colour scale is used on a smaller map to look at historic data. And of course for those concerned about how the US places amongst its piers on the international stage, a small selection of countries are presented beneath in a dot plot that looks at the differences and averages.

The National Geographic spread
The National Geographic spread
A detail of the choropleth map
A detail of the choropleth map
A closer look at the dot plot
A closer look at the dot plot

Credit for the piece goes to Lazaro Gamio.

Replacing Nomar Garciaparra

I am a fan of the Boston Red Sox and have been since 1999. The first (and sadly only) Red Sox game I saw at Fenway was the day after Nomar Garciaparra hit three home runs in one game. Two of them were grand slams. For you non-baseball folks (NBF) reading this, that is majorly impressive. Anyway, the Red Sox traded him in 2004 to acquire some pieces they needed to make a run for the World Series title that had eluded them for 80+ years (also significant for NBF). The result? My favourite player traded to the Cubs, but my favourite team won the World Series.

But now it’s Opening Day, the kickoff for the baseball season—that reference is for you American football fans. (To be fair, there was a game last night between two Texas teams, but today’s the de facto start.) Since that 2004 trade, however, the Red Sox have not had a consistent, long-term shortstop of the same offensive calibre of Nomar. How bad has this revolving door been? My infographic today looks at the shortstop replacements for Nomar Garciaparra.

Click to go to the full graphic
Click to go to the full graphic

The Economies of Europe

Cyprus has been in the news over the course of this past week because its financial system almost brought the country to bankruptcy. And that has meant trouble for European markets. So now it’s time to look at the economies of Europe once again. And the National Post has done a great job using clear and concise small multiples to examine key metrics for the ten largest European economies—not necessarily EU economies mind you. But at the end of each row, they summed up the country’s outlook in just one or two sentences.

Cropping of the overview for Europe's largest economies
Cropping of the overview for Europe's largest economies

Credit for the piece goes to Richard Johnson, Grant Ellis, John Shmuel, and Andrew Barr.

Diversity in Politics

The Republican Party has a problem. Its policy platform appeals to “angry white guys” and they are not being bred fast enough. And as the quotes indicate, that isn’t my idea. That comes from no less than Lindsey Graham, Republican Senator for South Carolina. The Wall Street Journal looks at just four states previously safely Republican that are now trending Democratic.

Diversity in Politics
Diversity in Politics

Credit for the piece goes to Dante Chinni and Randy Yeip.