13 facts you didn’t know about the Minard map

Source: Wikipedia. The map representing the Russian campaign of the French army in 1812 is a true celebrity of the data visualization world, mostly known for its spectacular features. Lines show the number, location and direction of the army troops. The temperature during the return from Moscow is shown at the bottom. The campaign was a carnage […]

Interview: Cole Nussbaumer on Google, what businesses need and what’s hard to unlearn

If you’re looking online for a data visualization training, it’s likely you’ve come across Cole Nussbaumer. That’s what happened to me when I registered for what turned out to be her very first public workshop, after years of teaching at Google and to other organizations. She describes her views and teachings in various articles, but here […]

Concentric Circles on a Map, version 3

After my attempt at improving the concentric circles, Stephen Few was kind enough to provide more feedback: he still doesn’t like them. Your experiments with concentric circles are interesting and it’s clear that you’re having fun exploring this, but the new version doesn’t seem to work any better than the first, even though you’ve eliminated […]

Concentric Circles on a Map, version 2.0

In response to Stephen Few’s challenge to do better than his bricks to display quantities on a map, I proposed the concentric circles. He shot down version 1.0: Thanks for exploring the possibilities of concentric circles. Unfortunately, as you’ve seen, when there are more than three or four concentric circles, we cannot perceive the quantities […]

Concentric Circles on a Map

Stephen Few introduced “bricks” a few days ago as a new way to display quantities on a map. Using circles is tricky because humans are not skilled at distinguishing areas. Few suggests that we can distinguish the shape of the bricks arrangement and hence count them more easily (“preattentively”). The problem arises when bricks overlap, […]

Interview: Alberto Cairo on MOOCs, the future of education and infographics

Alberto Cairo It’s been a busy year for Alberto Cairo. In January, he started teaching information graphics and visualization at the School of Communication of the University of Miami; in August he published The Functional Art; and, from October to December, he gave his first massive open online course (MOOC) as a teacher. Having been […]

Dataviz MOOC Review: Brace yourself, enjoy the ride

That’s it, the MOOC on infographics and data visualization by Alberto Cairo is done, over, finished, completed. Phew. It was more work than I expected. It says four to six hours per week, but for me it was more around ten to twelve; less at the beginning and more towards the end. It was not […]

MOOC Weeks 5-6: UK Aid to India

For our last assignment of the MOOC, Alberto Cairo decided to give us enough rope to hang ourselves: “do whatever you want”. I proceeded to swiftly spend half the allocated time deciding on a topic. Returning to aid, the subject of week 3, was a natural fit and I knew the data would be available. […]

MOOC Week 2: The politics of words

While I’m working on the assignment for weeks 5 and 6 of the MOOC, let’s have a look back at week 2. We were asked to provide a critique of a graph about the words used by speakers at the Republican and Democratic conventions for the 2012 election. As with most of what the New […]

Week 3: Aid Transparency

The third week’s assignment was right up my alley: aid transparency. It is even more disappointing then that I was not able to complete something worthy. The source data comes from the Transparency Index of Publish What You Fund and takes the form of a ranking of aid agencies according to their transparency score. I […]