Tag Archives: BBC

Can You Land Philae

Today is Friday, so let’s take it a bit easy. You have heard of Philae and the comet landing. But we also know now that it bounced upon landing. But could you do any better? The BBC produced this game to let you try to do just that.

Landing Philae

Landing Philae

Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.

Ebola Treatment Centres

Ebola is still a thing. And it is still getting worse. Or rather, with deaths and/or infections in both Europe and the United States, we are finally paying a bit more attention to it. We have no cure for Ebola, but we still need to treat people for symptoms, but most importantly we need to isolate those infected from the broader population. How and where is this done? Thankfully, the BBC put together an interactive graphic illustrating a typical treatment centre. Each main section is a clickable link that explains the functions and key points to the different areas.

A treatment centre

A treatment centre

The article goes on to explain in more detail what is going on and does so with photos and also a map of treatment centres in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.

Scotland Votes

By the time this post goes live, Scotland will have already been voting on independence for several hours. At the time of writing this post, it appears more a toss-up than anything else. And so today we highlight a piece that is a little bit different than what I might normally cover. Here we have a long-form piece from the BBC that looks at how different trends across recent decades of history have converged at this point in time to give Scotland this choice.

Scotland's Decision

Scotland’s Decision

Credit for the overall piece goes to Allan Little, Paul Kerley, Finlo Rohler, Jonathan Duffy, Kevin McKeown, Darren McLarkey, Marcelo Zanni, Sally Morales, Giles Wilson, and the opening illustration (the screen capture) is Cognitive Media.

The Swiss and Immigration

Last week, the Swiss people narrowly rejected the principle of freedom of movement. This principles serves as one of the foundations of the European Union. And while Switzerland does not belong to the EU, its economy benefits from access to the single market via that freedom of movement principle. That may be an oversimplification perhaps, but it provides some context to the consternation in Europe over the Swiss people rejecting the principle.

This graphic is not particularly complex. It is a choropleth of the vote results. However, it does show that the vote was not unanimous. Rather it was contained to the cantons (analogous to states in the US) more rural in character, i.e. less urban places like Geneva.

Swiss immigration vote results

Swiss immigration vote results

Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.

The Flying V

We all know of the Flying V, the great hockey plan developed in the 1990s—wait, no, wrong one. I meant to talk about birds flying in formation. Because science is finally allowing us to understand the mechanisms of how and why birds fly in these tight, v-shaped formations. In a BBC article reporting on the most recent findings, the graphics team included a diagram showing just how formation flying works.

How the Flying V works

How the Flying V works

Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.

Deformed Tree Map

Yesterday the BBC published an article about the success of the United Kingdom’s creative industry especially given the not-so-successful economy of the last few years. Unfortunately, the article included the tree map below.

A not so necessary tree map

A not so necessary tree map

The problems are a few. First, a tree map is usually looking at two variables. One is encoded through the size of the block and the other often its colour. Here, colour means nothing. So you are instead looking at only the size of the blocks. Basically, the same type of information that would be clearer to differentiate if this were a bar chart.

Second, a tree map has a hierarchy of placement. In other words, even if you cannot tell how much larger one block is from another—we all know we are not so great at comparing areas—you know which block is larger than the other by their arrangement in the map. Here we see no such hierarchy. The smallest block follows the largest block, which itself follows three other blocks.

Now that arrangement would be acceptable if the tree map were nested. That is to say if the different industries were grouped within like industries. Because then you would order those nested blocks. But that is also something not happening here.

All in all, this would have been a lot more effective of a chart if it had simply been made into a bar chart.

Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.

Holiday Tidings…of War

I’ve been away for over two weeks on holiday. So to spread good cheer to all, today I am sharing an image from a series of maps the BBC put together to try and explain the civil war in South Sudan.

Ethnic groups and tribes of South Sudan

Ethnic groups and tribes of South Sudan

Credit for the piece goes to BBC graphics department.

Travelling in Space and Time

Following last week’s post about Doctor Who comes another because, since this is the last post of the week, you might as well enjoy it. This interactive graphic from the BBC looks at the Doctor travelling across time. And while you might dismiss it as being silly fun, pay close attention to the layering of timelines and the information provided in each line, i.e. click on one. Additionally, the bottom panel contains some broader context. Overall, this is a very smart piece.

The Doctor's Travels

The Doctor’s Travels

Credit for the piece goes to iibStudio and the BBC graphics department.

50 Years of the Doctor

Doctor Who? Exactly. This weekend, Saturday in fact, is the 50th anniversary of British sci-fi show Doctor Who. That is not to say it has been airing for 50 years. In the 1990s and early 2000s the show was off the air, living on only in audio broadcasts and novelisations. But in 2005, the show was relaunched and it slowly began to acquire a new generation of followers. Some, like your author, have watched it in the States first via SyFy since 2006.

Still 50ish years of television about time travelling through space in a blue police box makes for lots of data. And so back in March Simon Rogers created this infographic to explain some of the history of the show.

The Guide to Doctor Who

The Guide to Doctor Who

If you intend on watching the 50th special this weekend—or Monday in some movie theatres here in the States—and you want to brush up on the timeline of the Doctor and his travelling companions, the Guardian also has this graphic.

The Guardian's gallery of Doctors

The Guardian’s gallery of Doctors

But of course the BBC, which produces Doctor Who, has a more in-depth site about the history of the character and the show. Did I mention the content is displayed within the TARDIS? I know, it’s bigger on the inside.

The BBC's inside the TARDIS

The BBC’s inside the TARDIS

Have you ever watched the show? Do you have a favourite Doctor? A favourite companion?

Credit for the first Guardian piece goes to Simon Rogers.

Credit for the second Guardian piece goes to the Guardian’s Graphic News team.

Credit for the BBC piece goes to Christopher Ashton, Christine Jeavans, Helene Sears, Tian Yuan, Nick Davey, and Ben Fell.