Follow the Money

Follow the money is almost always good advice. And in this case, the journalists over at ProPublica have done just that. They have visualised just where the campaign (and Super PAC) dollars are going using an interactive Sankey diagram.

Who pays what where
Who pays what where

And then for those interested in how this was made, ProPublica provides those details as well.

Via my colleague Lauren Beth.

Credit goes to Al Shaw, Kim Barker, and Justin Elliott.

A Timeline of Deaths in Syria

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.

Syrian casualties by date
Syrian casualties by date

21st Century Prohibition

This map comes from the BBC, which investigates prohibition in the 21st century at the local level, as the national policy ended in the early decades of the 20th century.

Dry vs Wet Counties
Dry vs Wet Counties

Credit for the map goes to John Walton, Harjit Kaura, and Nadzeya Batson.

Heritage Maps

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.

Irish heritage
Irish heritage

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.

Irish vs German
Irish vs German

Credit for the piece goes to David Yanofsky.

Bringing 19th Century Mapping Techniques to the 21st Century

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.

from Booth's original map
from Booth's original map

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.

Eastern London
Eastern London
Barking and Dagenham
Barking and Dagenham

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.

What’s Your Drug of Choice?

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…

Drug use comparison
Drug use comparison

Credit, again, goes to the Guardian and Ian Taylor.

Senate Polarity

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.

Senate Polarity
Senate Polarity

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.

How Popular Is Your Home State?

Public Policy Polling had a survey in February where they polled respondents on whether they had favourable or unfavourable attitudes towards states, or if they were not sure. As a Pennsylvania transplant to Illinois, I can say that Pennsylvania came out a bit better than Illinois. But how about your state?

State Popularity
State Popularity

A Not So Smart Smartphone Chart

This piece in the Globe and Mail of Toronto looks at smartphone usage by operating system through a comparison of Canada to both the United States and Japan.

Smartphone use in Canada
Smartphone use in Canada

While I understand the need for aesthetic distinction from having an entire page of bar charts, these ring or donut charts are a touch misleading. Because of the space between rings, the radius of each circle from the central Android icon is significantly increased. This of course proportionally scales up the length of each segment within the rings. In short, it becomes difficult to compare segments of each ring to the corresponding segments on the other rings without looking at the datapoint. And if you need to look at the datapoint, one could argue that the infographic has failed from the standpoint of communication of the data.

Beneath is the original (with the legend edited to fit into my cropping) with two very simple (and hasty) reproductions of the data as straight pie charts placed next to each other and then as clusters of bar charts grouped beneath each other. I leave it to you the audience to decide which is easiest to decode.

The original ring chart with legend moved
The original ring chart with legend moved
Alternate visualisation types
Alternate visualisation types

Credit for the Globe and Mail piece goes to Carrie Cockburn.

Delivery Routes

Sunday in the New York Times, an article on bicycle delivery had an accompanying infographic. It detailed the dinner route of the article’s main individual. The piece is an interesting use of small multiples to provide a timeline of a route, while each new delivery maintains the old paths for reference. And from a data perspective, I found it good to acknowledge the one instant where the follower lost contact with the delivery man.

Delivery routes
Delivery routes