Tag Archives: BBC

Symbology for Maps

I’m sure the word you were looking for was symbolism. (Points if you get the reference.) Apologies for yesterday, I was a bit under the weather.

Today we deviate from graphs and things and go to another area of conveying information: symbology. I mean iconography. The BBC featured an article about possible new symbols for maps ahead of the 2020 Olympics when, presumably, lots of foreigners will need maps to get around Tokyo. And so you can imagine that the agency behind the proposed ideas has received a backlash about changing customary Japanese symbols for foreigners.

I combined each of the examples from the article. Each row includes the proposed Japanese version and the foreigner version. See if you can identify them without the word. You can imagine, however, that the focus of the article was upon that first row. The answers are after the credits.

Proposed map symbols

Proposed map symbols

Credit for the original work goes to the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan.

The answers, top to bottom: temple, hotel, church, hospital, post office, police station.

Climate Change in Charts

So yesterday we reimagined a less-than-stellar BBC chart. Today, we look at a good chart from the BBC about climate change, timed to coincide with the start of the Paris climate talks. This comes from an article with six charts related to climate change, but it is the best in my mind.

The trend…not so good.

The trend…not so good.

Nothing but nice design here with the use of colour to highlight the top ten hottest and coldest years over the last 225+ years. But it really comes alive when animated and tells the story how those coldest years occurred at the beginning of the set and the hottest are among the most recent years.

Credit for the piece goes to Emily Maguire,  Tom Nurse, Steven Connor, and Punit Shah.

Sugary Sweet Donut Charts

I know, I know. You probably expect some sort of climate post given the whole Paris thing. But instead, this morning I came across an article where the supporting chart failed to tell the story. So today we redesign it.

The BBC has an article about MPs backing a tax on sugary drinks. Within the text is a graphic showing the relative importance of sugary drinks in the sugar consumption of various demographics. Except the first thing I see is alcohol—not the focus of the article. Then I focus on a series of numbers spinning around donuts, which are obviously sugary and bad. Eventually I connect the bright yellow to soda. Alas, bright yellow is a very light colour and fails to hold its own on the page. It falls behind everything but milk products.

The BBC likes sugary donuts

The BBC likes sugary donuts

So here is 15 minutes spent on a new version. Gone are the donuts, replaced by a heat map. I kept the sort of the legend for my vertical because it placed soda at the top. I ran the demographic types horizontally. The big difference here is that I am immediately drawn to the top of the chart. So yeah, soda is a problem. But so are cakes and jams, you British senior citizens. Importantly, I am less drawn to alcohol, which in terms of sugars, is not a concern.

My version of sugar is so much sweeter

My version of sugar is so much sweeter

Credit for the original goes to the BBC graphics department. The other one is mine.

Redesigning the Turkish Election Results

Turkey held its elections over the weekend. And so on the way to work this morning I decided to check the results on the BBC. And I saw this graphic—screenshot from my phone.

The BBC results

The BBC results

So I decided to scrap today’s blog post and instead spend all of five minutes tweaking this to make it a bit clearer. Or, a lot clearer. Simple little tweaks can make all the difference in data clarity. Now you can visually see the scale of difference in the votes. You also don’t need to refer to a legend off to the side with tints of the same colour.

My results with their data

My results with their data

Credit for the original piece goes to the BBC graphics department.

English Votes for English Laws

Last week the British government announced plans to solve the West Lothian Question that centres on devolution parity for England. Many legislative powers have been devolved from London and given to the regional parliaments in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. And on the one hand that is great as the national parliament no longer tells Scottish schools what to do, which is important because of England’s clout in London because England is by far the largest part of the Union. But the on the other hand, Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish MPs still get to vote on schools in England. You can begin to see how the English feel that is unfair.

So the BBC put together this graphic trying to explain what was announced, because it is far more complicated than just giving England its own parliament. It’s a tricky and complicated issue that is worth a read. If only because the government apparently did not realise that its plan can be acronymised to EVEL.

It's EVEL I tell you. Pure EVEL.

It’s EVEL I tell you. Pure EVEL.

Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.

Supermoon Lunar Eclipse

Last night we experienced a total lunar eclipse here in Chicago. Unfortunately, significant cloud cover meant that much of the event went unseen. That was unfortunate, because eclipses are fantastic. To explain it we have this piece from the BBC.

What is a lunar eclipse

What is a lunar eclipse

And for those were either unable to see it or did not know about it, here is one of the photos I took.

During the eclipse

During the eclipse

Credit for the diagram goes to the BBC graphics department.

Credit for the photo is mine.

China by the Numbers

With Xi Jinping visiting the United States the BBC published an article looking at China’s changes over the years. In general, I don’t like the article—why are they using pigs to look at pork consumption? My general dislike aside, they do have a map that plots urban centres with more than one million people and how that map has changed since 1970 and will change out to 2030.

Urban centres with more than a million people

Urban centres with more than a million people

I probably would not have used that terrain map as the background as blue-green circles on the green coast are a bit difficult to read. A lost opportunity of a sort—assuming it is possible at all—is to use a satellite image of China for each year and overlay the circles on that. One can only imagine that China’s urbanisation has gone together with drastic changes to the landscape.

Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.

The EU’s Migrant Problem

Last week we looked at a map produced by the Washington Post, which detailed the routes chosen by migrants and refugees desiring to reach the European Union. This week, I want to compare that to one from the BBC—there are others, even from the BBC, but we will examine them later—that details the differences in countries along the route.

EU border map

EU border map

The previous map simply highlighted countries in the Schengen Area, which allows for Passport-free travel between participating EU members. This map uses colour to denote which countries participate and whether they belong in the EU. But it also uses white lines to indicate border, so that Schengen Area countries seem more contiguous. This allows them to use colour to add the layer of recent news: recently imposed border controls and newly constructed fences. My concern in this particular piece is that those pink and green countries should probably have some sort of line indicating that they do have border controls.

Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.

Comparing Elizabeth to Victoria

Following on from yesterday’s post about Queen Elizabeth’s timeline as she passed Queen Victoria, today we have another selection from the BBC that compares the reigns of the two queens. Unfortunately, while the screenshot below is okay, the overall graphics and illustrations strike me as a bit too simple and not terribly useful in making comparisons.

The royal families

The royal families

Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.

Queen Elizabeth II—Britain’s Longest Reigning Monarch

As of today, Queen Elizabeth is the longest reigning British monarch. She has surpassed the record of the famous Queen Victoria, Elizabeth’s great-great-grandmother at 63 years and seven months. Obviously a lot of things have changed over those 63 years, and in this article the BBC uses a graphic to look at how the world stage has changed.

Queen Elizabeth II's reign

Queen Elizabeth II’s reign

Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.