Here’s a map of the EU. Nothing more to it than that. I just like the fact that, making it look like a globe, it’s more engaging and eye catching. I decided in the forthcoming dataviz book to divide the design into encoding, format and aesthetics. This map is not dataviz, but you could imagine how the aesthetics could be used to good effect.
I found it at http://blog.nycdatascience.com/student-works/forecasting-economic-risk-eu-2020/ and they got it from http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/employment-and-growth/new-priorities-for-the-european-union-at-60
All I’m going to do this week I point you to Andy Kirk’s blog. He’s considering bivariate choropleth maps. You what? Each region has two variables. Maybe one gets encoded as hue and the other saturation. No way. Yes way, and it’s not necessarily the train wreck you’d imagine. Check them out.
Of course, by superimposing objects rather than colouring in (because colour is, you know, so beguiling as a visual parameter to mess around with, yet so poorly perceived), people have been doing this for ages. Bertin’s much-quoted and less-read book has many such examples, which mostly fall flat in my view. As he wrote: “It is the designer’s duty … to flirt with ambiguity without succumbing to it”. Bof!
I’ve been stockpiling Opal Fruits, which young people tell me are now called Starburst, in anticipation of today’s election results.
This is like one-tenth of the stash. I don’t want to eat them though. You know what you’re going to get if you knock here at Halloween.
I took the New York Times’ hexbin cartogram, imposed a 6×8 rectangular grid and counted the most common party in each block. There was a little bit of fudging and chopping up the sweets. It is art, no? Here’s the video:
You know how people love maps with little shapes encoding some data? Hexagons, circles, squares? Jigsaw pieces? Opal Fruits?
Rip’t from the pages of the Times Higher Education magazine, some years ago.
Or small multiples?
You know how people love charts made from emojis?
Stick them together and what do you get?
This is by Lazaro Gamio. They’re not standard emojis. Six variables get cut into ordinal categories and mapped to various expressions. You can hover on the page (his page, not mine, ya dummy) for more info. Note that some of the variables don’t change much from state to state. Uninsured, college degrees, those change, but getting enough sleep — not so much. It must be in there because it seems fun to map it to bags under the eyes. But the categorisation effectively standardises the variables so small changes in sleep turn into a lot of visual impact. Anyway, let’s not be too pedantic, it’s fun.
This idea goes back to Herman Chernoff, who always made it clear it wasn’t a totally serious proposal, and has been surprised at its longevity (see his chapter in PPF). Bill Cleveland was pretty down on the idea in his ’85 book:
“not enough attention was paid to graphical perception … visually decoding the quantitative information is just too difficult”
I’ve occasionally asked myself odd superimpose-geographies questions like “how far is it from A to B if they were in Winchester?” (because I can feel those distances better) or “would the West Kennet Long Barrow fit inside the Broadgate Centre?” (I’m sure we’ve all thought that). Hans Hack has made an online map like that, with a serious purpose, which superimposes Aleppo and the destroyed parts onto London.
It’s all done in leaflet.js and weighs in at 800 lines of code with a lot of generous — luxurious one might say — spacing, so it is well with your grasp to do something like this. It’s also just pretty, with sparing colour and layering of information with simple controls. There is also a Berlin version. I suppose you have to know the host city for it to hit home but then it’s a powerful message about the scale of it all.
This chart of population density across Europe by Henrik Lindberg has been very popular online this last week.
Long-standing readers will recall my stab at this but nowadays everybody just does it in ggplot2. It’s good to have options. While you’re at his Gist page, checkout his other stuff too.