Merry F*%#-ing Christmas

The title is from perhaps my favourite Christmas song

But the song relates to this post because earlier this week the print design blog For Print Only featured my annual Christmas card. I typically design and print a card to mail (as in a physical copy through the postal service, none of that e-card non-sense) to my friends and family. This past year I took to infographics to explore the realm of Santa and his North Pole dictatorship.

My Christmas Card
My Christmas Card

Credit for the photographs goes to FPO.

Analysing the Urban Environment

Via the Guardian comes an interactive piece from researchers at MIT and the Technical University of Lisbon that allows users to examine urban environments to compare population, energy use, and building material intensity for a select set of 42 different cities. The screenshots below are of neighbourhoods in Philadelphia.

Population density
Population density

Once the user has chosen an area, he or she can move on and analyse a different section of the city. This behaviour generates a comparison on the right of the current area to the previous area.

Energy use
Energy use

After the user has found an area of particular interest, he or she can generate a graphical report that summarises the findings for the selected area and compares that to other areas of similar scale in the city.

Graphical report
Graphical report

Credit for the piece goes to David Quinn and Daniel Wiesmann.

French Politics, Elections, and Data Visualisations.

The US is not the only country with elections in 2012. Actually quite a few other places have had them, will have them, or are in the midst of having them. The latter includes France, which had the first round of its presidential election earlier this week.

To put it simply, France has a first round to narrow the whole field to just two candidates—lots of democracies outside the US have multiple party systems that mean more than just two parties—and then a second round between the last two. Nicholas Sarkozy was thought likely to win the first round and then lose the second, but he instead lost the first outright. He still isn’t expected to do well in two weeks’ time. But, the French media of course produce infographics just as US, Canadian, and British media do. Except unlike the last three, French infographics tend to be in French and I tend to not read them because, well, I cannot.

But pictures and colours make it easier. Socialists like red. Centre-right like blue.

From Le Figaro comes a map of the results. The island-looking thing on the right is Paris, beneath that Corsica, and then the bottom are the various overseas territories and departments that all vote.

Election results by French department
Election results by French department

The question with French presidential elections—and in fact any country that has run-off elections—is what happens to the voters of the losers? For whom will they vote in the second round? Le Figaro also has an interactive piece that allows the user to play out different scenarios based on how many voters will not show up and of those who do, how they split their vote. Again, it’s in French, so I had to assume some things when playing around with the controls and then know a few things about French politics.

Scenario builder for Round 2
Scenario builder for Round 2

From Le Monde, another respected French media source that I have featured on more than one occasion, come some simpler visualisations of the results but with some nice features for comparison. The first is obviously a look at the 2007 results. (Anybody recall Segolene Royal? Her ex-husband/partner is Francois Hollande…the guy running for the Socialists this time round.)

Election results of 2007
Election results of 2007

But another interesting view is that of the results strictly from 2012’s first round.

Election results 2012, Round 1
Election results 2012, Round 1

But with the added feature of comparing those results per party to their performance in 2007.

Round 1 comparison, 2012 to 2007
Round 1 comparison, 2012 to 2007

There are always interesting things going on in politics when it comes to data visualisation and infographics. We just have to look outside the US from time to time.

It’s Neither a Bird Nor a Plane. It’s a Space Shuttle. On Top of a Plane.

I loved the space shuttle. I mean how awesome is it that the lead ship of the class is named after the Enterprise from Star Trek. But seriously, it was a brick with little stub wings for gliding. It was not meant for flying. So now that all the shuttles are all retired—that’s a whole separate issue—how do they get from Kennedy Space Center to the various museums and installations?

Piggy back rides. On massive 747s. The Los Angeles Times made an infographic to explain just how the process works.

How to attach a space shuttle to a 747
How to attach a space shuttle to a 747

Credit for the piece goes to Tom Reinken, Raoul Ranoa, and Anthony Pesce.

North Korean Missile Technology (Or Lack Thereof)

North Korea wanted to launch a missile, but failed miserably in doing it. Richard Johnson at the National Post created an infographic, prior to the missile’s launch, that looked at what the North Koreans wanted to do.

Unha-3 plan
Unha-3 plan

Who Survived and Who Perished the Sinking of the RMS Titanic

The anniversary of the RMS Titanic’s sinking led to a flurry of graphics related to the sinking, two of which I covered last week. Today’s is from the National Post and looks at the people onboard, most of whom died. Specifically, it breaks out the survivors and those who perished into their class—by berth not birth—and age. It also shows how empty most of the lifeboats were when they launched.

The casualties of the RMS Titanic
The casualties of the RMS Titanic

Credit for the piece goes to Richard Johnson.

Let’s Talk About the Weather

Global warming is probably not the worst-branded concept out there, but it is not particularly effective. Mostly because it implies the world will warm and warm evenly. In truth, some parts will get colder, some parts drier, some parts wetter, and yes, some parts warmer. Hence the better term is climate change.

In the US, we have a tendency to be rather skeptical of climate change and the degree to which, if not whether entirely, it is due to mankind. So, the New York Times released the results of a survey about whether Americans believe recent weather events are related to global warming—their word choice, not mine.

Survey on global warming
Survey on global warming

While not all bars sum to 100, probably due to rounding, note how the bars are all aligned against the point of divergence between the scales of agreement and disagreement and then sorted according to agreement.

A Profile of Canada’s Immigrants

On the back burner of infographics to post is this piece from the National Post. The early data indicates that most of Canada’s high population growth rate comes from immigrants to the country. And while those details are not yet available, the piece looks at the 2006 data for an indication of from which places the immigrants are likely to come.

Cropping of immigrant origins
Cropping of immigrant origins

Credit for the piece goes to Richard Johnson.

Today is a Happy Happy Joy Joy Story

For the past two posts I focused on the sinking of the RMS Titanic, an historical event that has always been of some interest to me, but is not always the most uplifting of subjects. When in high-school, I once had an English teacher who took to heart our complaints that our literature selection was rather dark and depressing. So after finishing yet another such story, he had us turn to a specific page in our reader. The title of that day’s story was To the Gas Chambers, Ladies and Gentlemen; it was a story about the Holocaust.

Here is today’s uplifting story. What would happen if a dirty bomb was detonated in lower Manhattan. Courtesy of the National Post.

A dirty bomb in New York
A dirty bomb in New York

Credit for the piece goes to Richard Johnson.

How the RMS Titanic Sank

On 14 April 1912—that is 100 years—RMS Titanic avoided slamming bow-on into an iceberg. But her turn allowed the iceberg to slice a long gash beneath the waterline and the North Atlantic gushed into watertight compartment after watertight compartment. Several hours later over 1500 people would be dead.

The BBC has published several articles about the sinking in the lead-up to the anniversary. This one is an illustration through small multiples of how the Titanic sank, from the bow slipping beneath the waves to the point at which the liner split in two to the stern rising vertically out of the water before it too plummeted to the seabed.

How the RMS Titanic sank
How the RMS Titanic sank

At the end of the graphic is an exploration of the wreck and a small chart showing the scale of the depth at which the wreck now sits, slowly deteriorating.

Credit for the painting goes to Ken Marchshall.