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A Good Visualization

Source: National Geographic - June 2006

  • Description:

This is a map of countries with the most undernourished people. The most undernourished populations are marked in dark red while less undernourished are in a yellow color.

  • Deconstruction

The data set for the visualization displays the percentage of population of the world. The data set also includes the latitude, longitude and size of each country. The magnitude of undernourishment is encoded by a color hue, where dark red is 35 percent or more, red is 20-35 percent, orange is 5-10 percent and yellow is 0-5 percent. Another smaller visualization is below which displays four countries with the most undernourished people. The magnitude of undernourished people is displayed by the size of a circle.

A Poor Visualization

Source: The Epoch Times - Nothern California Edition. August 21-27, 2008

  • Description:

This is a descriptive map of an explosion near the Beijing Olympic Venues. The red box is the Birds Nest, which is is an Olympic stadium and the star is the location of the explosion. The Birds nest and the explosion markings look like they have been drawn on a free map which some reporter got from the Olympics in Beijing 2008. The map is very inaccurate and unclear.

  • Deconstruction

This visualization displays a detailed map of central Beijing, where longitude is on the Y-axis and latitude on the X-axis. Types of roads are shown through different color hues, where orange is expressways, yellow is highways and gray is normal roads. Parks are marked green. Two specified locations are marked on the map, one with red color where the name of the location is marked above a rectangular box and the other place is marked with black, where the name of the location is marked below a drawn multicolor star.

Extra: Another Poor Visualization

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:FSM_Pirates.png

  • Description:

This is my favorite one, but as I could not get the original published one (which was created for an article by a professor whose name I don't remember) I can not use this as an example of a poor visualization. This graph was created by Bob Henderson (the father of the religion of the flying spaghetti monster), to show that global warming and the number of pirates are tightly connected. Notice how the number of pirates is non-linear with the average global temperature.

  • Deconstruction

This visualization displays on the Y axis the global average temperature in degrees Celsius in the order from lowest to highest. On the X axis is the number of pirates listed, which does not seem to be ordered. A line displays a correlation between the two axis and is divided by diamonds that also show the year of measurement.

Reconstruction: Of A Poor Visualization

I took a similar graph of Beijing and cleaned as much of the chart-junk as I could. I cleaned the map up to make it simpler. Then I put up new labels.

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