They move, they are colorful, but charts and interactive graphics do much more than entertain the reader for a few moments. Data visualization presents an innovative way to tell stories.
Those of us who lead busy lives (who am I kidding, we all lead busy lives) can easily become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information on the web. As we just don’t have time to read a 2,000 word story on the changing face of marriage equality or health care policy on our phones, data acts as a device to get a grasp of huge amounts of information without too much effort in an entertaining and engaging way. This is why I love data.
I comb Twitter and as many news sites as I can for data stories and graphs that tell a story or just add something unique to the conversation. Here are a few from the last few weeks that caught my eye.
This Map GIF of the United States by the Atlantic Wire starts at 1970 and moves through 2013 showing how each state has changed its laws back and forth on the subject of gay marriage. The map is compelling as it shows the viewer how different states in different regions of the U.S. have acted in regards to gay marriage over time.
The Guardian – “How Britain changed under Margaret Thatcher. In 15 charts”
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher passed away this week and not long after her death was announced, news organizations across the globe used numbers to illustrate her 11-year term as prime minister.
The Huffington Post – “Every U.S. Drone Strike In Pakistan Since 2004″
Pitch Interactive, a Berkeley-based company compiled data from the Bureau for Investigative Journalism on every U.S. drone strike in Pakistan since 2004. The graphic simply shows the number of strikes and the number of people killed, including the number of child and civilian deaths.
The graphic stands alone as a gateway to finding more information about U.S. drone strikes by including known information of where and why the strikes were carried out, as well as links to recent news stories.
Watch the interview with the creator on HuffPost Live.
The Huffington Post – “Mapping the dead: Gun deaths since Sandy Hook”
A few weeks ago The Huffington Post developed a map tracking gun deaths across the U.S. that have happened since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The graphic allows the user to interact with and follow the data over 98 days.
Oklahoma Watch – “Oklahoma’s ratio of women in Legislature among nation’s lowest”
An Oklahoma-based non-profit journalism organization, Oklahoma Watch used data they compiled to visualize the make-up of the Oklahoma State Legislature. The visualization is interactive and lets the user play around with the data and filter it to get a different portrait of Oklahoma’s lawmakers. The visualization can be found on NewsOK.com here and on oklahomawatch.org.
But for the really useful data…
BuzzFeed – “The 18 most accurate bar graphs of all time”
Some subtle and not-so-subtle renderings of life’s universal truths. As BuzzFeed put it, “Your life, explained with math thingies.”
That’s it for now. Has a particular data visualization caught your eye recently? Let us know by commenting below.