Earlier this summer I looked at a graphic by Thomson Reuters that compared life expectancy changes across the world from 1990 to 2011. Last month, the Washington Post published an interactive graphic that explores life expectancy (along with obesity and physical activity) across the United States from 1985 to 2010.
What I really enjoy about the piece is that each toggle for the health condition, i.e. life expectancy, obesity, physical activity, the text beneath swaps out to explain what the story is. Context is key. But then the ability to flip between the actuals and the growth for both men and women allows the user to really explore the data. And to see that growth or lack thereof is not even across the sexes.
From the design side, a minor point worth noting is the use of different colour palettes based on the mapped metric. The actual values (with the greater range) use a darker green-blue and tint that down whereas the growth values (all of three conditions) are in a different palette. Here it works, though I am more accustomed in similar pieces to seeing the swapping of palettes for changes in the mapped metric.
Beneath the big map, however, are two components also well worth the user’s attention. Perhaps deceptively simple, two sets of line charts, they add (again) context to the data. For example, while it is great to see life expectancy in the United States improving, when you compare that to the rest of the developed world, we are falling behind.
Overall a solid piece.
Credit for the piece goes to Patterson Clark, Kennedy Elliott, and Katie Park.
I don’t often write about maps, especially of the choropleth kind. In many cases I choose not to because so many of the maps are one-dimensional: how fast is x growing across the world; which is predominant across the world, y or z? So I was pleasantly surprised by the Economist yesterday when they published this interactive map on the scourges of hepatitis and HIV.
Quickly put, the map is a success. It shows a clear geographic pattern; the developed/Western world along with the Middle East and Asia have a larger problem in hepatitis than HIV whereas Africa and Latin America are dealing moreso with HIV. (Admittedly, the fact that 117 out of 187 countries are dealing more with hepatitis is lost because so many of the countries are small in area.) But, the really nice bit about the map is not just the colour by virus, but the tint by comparative ratio. The darker the colour, the stronger the one virus over the other.
Lastly, from a data perspective, I just wonder if the ratios could not be adjusted for population, or deaths as a percentage of the national population? I would be curious to see if that would yield interesting results.
Credit for the piece goes to C.H., R.L.W., J.S., and D.H.
Keeping with maps, they can be useful, but all too often people fall back upon them because it is a quick and easy way of displaying data for geographic entities. This graphic from the New York Times on ADHD is not terribly complex, but it uses a map effectively.
The article discusses how ADHD rates among states vary, but are still higher in the South. The map supports that argument. Consider how it would be different if every other state were darkened to a different shade of purple. There would be neither rhyme nor reason as to why the map was being used.
A subtle point worth noting is that only the states falling into the highest bin are labelled. Those are the states that best support the story. The remainder of the states are left unlabelled so as not to distract from the overall piece.
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 Washington Post has an interactive infographic piece out about the spread of the flu. The big draw is of course the map—people like maps and they are easy to navigate. However, this time the map actually can serve a useful purpose because a virus spreads through the contact of people and communities. And when illustrated over time, the user can see a general spread from the deep south to the Mid-Atlantic than the west before becoming a national problem.
But a really sharp component that I enjoy is the index of flu cases from the four most recent flu seasons. While half the years displayed have seen a gradual increase in the number of hospitalisations, the 2012–13 season became quite troublesome quite quickly. It has even surpassed the 2009–10 levels that were affected by the H1N1 pandemic.
Lastly, not shown here, is an illustration of just what the flu is—a virus—and how it spreads and where anti-viral drugs work.
Credit for the piece goes to Darla Cameron, Dan Keating and Alberto Cuadra.
Apparently the flu is going around. Boston has a city wide health emergency on its account. So if you’re wondering what to do on a sick day, well I shall allow you in all my magnanimity to use a pie chart. As Randall Munroe did.