This is a short piece—it is only really an inline map—but it illustrates fairly well why Ukraine’s loss of Debaltseve in eastern Ukraine last week is kind of a big deal. Basically, the now mostly abandoned city is a transport hub linking the two quasi capitals of the Novorossiya.
This past weekend Al-Shabab, the Al Qaeda affiliate based in Somalia, threatened shopping malls in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. This threat carries a certain amount of weight given the deadly attack Al-Shabab launched against the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya a few years ago.
So what to look at today? Well, a few weeks back a colleague sent me a link to a Bloomberg article about the American shopping mall. The article examines the makeup of stores, the people shopping, and the regionalisation in the food court(s). On a personal note, I was glad to see that King of Prussia received a mention.
Auntie Anne’s in KoP? I’d rather Philly Pretzel Factory
Credit for the piece goes to Dorothy Gambrell and Patrick Clark.
People, science is your friend. Vaccinations are not only for the benefit of yourself, but for others. Anyway, let us take a look at the measles outbreak through some graphics produced by the New York Times. It started in Disneyland. Because we had eliminated the disease about 15 years ago. Science, people.
Where the outbreak had spread as of 6 February
Credit for the piece goes to Jonathan Corum, Josh Keller, Haeyoun Park, and Archie Tse.
Choropleths are not always a good idea. For example, look at election maps. Highly populated but geographically small cities appear as mere drops of ink on paper or pixels on a screen. Meanwhile, vast deserts appear gigantic empires. Nothing new there. But even within cities, these issues exist. London is one such city and one design studio has been working on a means of changing that. London Squared Map converts the boroughs of London into almost all squares of equal area. Each is placed in the appropriate space to represent geographic location. But to convey actual geography and familiarise the audience, not all squares are equal. Instead, just like the city itself, the squares are divided by a simplified shape of the Thames.
Ukraine continues to suffer the effects of a Russian invasion. Though we won’t call it that. This piece from Radio Free Europe looks at the displaced persons in the country. Unfortunately, it is not quite the best example of what to do.
Displacement in Ukraine
The line chart looks at the cumulative number of displaced persons. But, a monthly growth or absolute number for that month would tell a different story. See below. Hint, it slowed down, and then got pretty bad again.
Monthly population change
I am also not a fan of labelling every data point on the map. Maybe call out a few interesting ones, the outliers perhaps. But do we need to know to the person how many people are in Ternopil. Probably not.
Credit for the piece goes to the graphics department of Radio Free Europe.
Readers of this blog know that I am a fan of rail travel. And in particular, how the rail system on the East Coast is brilliant when compared to anywhere else in the States. Unfortunately, the railway system on the East Coast is also old and in need of serious capital investment. The tunnels linking New York and New Jersey beneath the Hudson River are a prime example. But a few years ago, Governor Christie of New Jersey killed Amtrak’s plans to build new tunnels to provide a backup to the existing infrastructure and increase overall capacity. The Wall Street Journal takes a look at Amtrak’s new plan to cross the Hudson. Let’s hope this venture is a bit more successful.
The new project
Credit for the piece goes to the Wall Street Journal graphics department.
Spoiler alert, it’s big. Thankfully Scientific American has attempted to put the West African outbreak in the context of all other Ebola outbreaks. I think the one thing missing, rather the one thing I would have done differently, is to include some kind of background element to show the difference in scale. A giant circle behind the whole graphic. Or a giant diamond. Of course the designer may not have had the space to do that, because the scale difference is just that extreme.
Putting the ongoing outbreak in context
Credit for the piece goes to Pitch Interactive for Scientific American.
When I was much younger I invented a game where you essentially managed the development of civilisations. xkcd pretty much explains why the idea appealed to me. Minus all the power, obviously. Because that house is by far the best place for a deep water port for the import/export of valuable commodities. This, however, is missing all the tanks and battleships.
For those of you don’t know, there is an Islamist group operating in northeastern Nigeria. And they have been for a few years now. But recently they devastated a town and killed somewhere between 150 and 2000 people. Now they have taken to kidnapping Cameroonians, who live across the border, but whose government has been taking military action against Boko Haram. In this context, the BBC put together a map that shows the spread and scale of Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria.
The fatal attacks
Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.