The Safe List

Migrants and refugees continue to reach Europe. But some of those people can be sent back, depending upon their country of origin. The tricky part is that there is no common set of countries as this graphic from the Economist shows.

The safe list
The safe list

In terms of design, we see nothing too elaborate here. This is really just a table where checks, half-checks, and exes would have sufficed. But, sometimes, a table is really all you need to convey the important data.

Credit for the piece goes to the Economist’s Data Team.

How Your Hometown Impacts Your Future Earnings

Today we have a really interesting piece from the New York Times. In terms of visualisations, we see nothing special nor revolutionary—that is not to say it is not well done. The screenshot below is from the selection of my hometown county, Chester County in Pennsylvania. Where the piece really shines is when you begin looking at different counties. The text of the article appears to be tailored to fit different counties. But with so many counties in the country, clearly it is being done programmatically. You can begin to see where it falls apart when you select rather remote counties out west.

How the poor in Chester County fare
How the poor in Chester County fare

But it does not stop simply with location. Try using the controls in the upper right to compare genders or income quartiles. The text changes for those as well.

Credit for the piece goes to Gregor Aisch, Eric Buth, Matthew Bloch, Amanda Cox, and Kevin Quealy.

Illustrating a Table

Let’s face it, lots of people think tables are boring. They convey data very quickly and very efficiently. But they often don’t look “pretty” enough. So, today, I just wanted to show a table from the Washington Post from last week.

A table on green car options. It has green illustrations. Get it?
A table on green car options. It has green illustrations. Get it?

It does nothing fancy. Nor do the illustrations actually communicate the information more quickly or more clearly. But, look! Green clocks and charging stations!

Credit for the piece goes to the Washington Post’s graphics department.

The Urban Future

Today’s selection is a little old—dating from July of last year—but is still a nice example of an inline graphic supporting the premise of its accompanying article. The New York Times looks at what was then data published by the United Nations on urban growth out to 2030. The article talks about the growth of megacities in lower income countries and those in the tropical regions. So smack in the middle of the article are two stacked bar charts breaking down urban populations into those two categories.

Urban population makeup
Urban population makeup

Personally I would have preferred a series of line charts to better compare the growth—the lack of a common baseline makes it very difficult to compare segments of the bars. But below the stacked bar charts we have a nice table. Those are always good to see. They organise information clearly and make it quick to find what is relevant.

Credit for the piece goes to the New York Times graphics department.

The 76ers Are a Terrible Basketball Team

The Philadelphia 76ers are a terrible basketball team. FiveThirtyEight details the deficiencies of the team in this small table. Icons represent characteristics that can be either positive or negative. They are then placed within the table to quickly show how awful the team is. My favourite is the icon for poor player.

Just terrible
Just terrible

Credit for the piece goes to the FiveThirtyEight graphics department.

Comparing Urban Statistics

Sometimes when you are considering moving, you want to look at some broad statistics on the area in which you want to move. In Boston, the Boston Globe has put together a neat little application that does just that. Type in two settlements in the metro area and then get a quick comparison of the two.

Comparing Boston metro cities
Comparing Boston metro cities

Credit for the piece goes to Catherine Cloutier, Andrew Tran, Russell Goldenberg, Corinne Winthrop.

Leaving on a Jet Aeroplane

I am travelling abroad for two weeks. While I have a number of posts lined up, I doubt that I will be able to respond to anybody or post current and/or topical pieces. But at least you will have something. So to kick things off, this piece from the New York Times makes good use of a table. It simply marks which airlines charge fees for particular services or offerings.

Airline fees
Airline fees

Credit for the piece goes to the New York Times graphics department.

British Trident System

The United Kingdom is one of eight, probably nine nuclear powers. (Israel has never confirmed that it has tested/operates nuclear weapons.) Unlike most countries, the UK only uses one delivery system to operate its weapons: submarines using Trident ballistic missiles.

A triad power is a country with all three delivery systems
A triad power is a country with all three delivery systems

The British Trident system became an issue in the coalition government. While it was supported by both the previous Labour government and the Conservatives, the programme had to be reviewed per the coalition agreement. The review has been completed and it will be made public. But to explain to the public how Trident works, the BBC created this graphic. It does a really good job of showing the reach of the British submarines from one location, but then showing why an adequate replacement would need at least three to four submarines.

The British Trident programme
The British Trident programme

Credit for the Trident graphic goes to the BBC. The table is my own work.

Improving Efficiency

Today’s post comes from xkcd. It looks at how much time can be spent improving efficiency before you become an inefficient efficiency person. It is important to note that this is over a five year span. And while I do not know about my readers, I can barely stick doing one thing for more than a year.

Improving efficiency
Improving efficiency

Credit for the piece goes to Randall Munroe.

Analysing Amtrak

The Brookings Institution released a report investigating the ridership of Amtrak’s various routes in an attempt to identify ways of cutting costs. They also released an interactive piece along with the report that pairs a map with a simple table.

Highlighting a route in the table highlights the route in the map and links the two together for the user. Clicking a dot on the map shows the details for the metropolitan area ridership along with the total number of stations. Lastly, because the table is sortable, the user can identify for themselves the conclusion reached by the report. To become solvent, Amtrak should divest itself of its long-haul routes that run at significant losses and focus on the profitable routes that could subsidise the popular though still minor loss-making routes.

Amtrak routes with the Northeast Regional highlighted
Amtrak routes with the Northeast Regional highlighted

Credit for the piece goes to Alec Friedhoff.