This satellite photo from NASA spans a 24-hour period showing the entire surface of the Earth in darkness. The lights obviously show the highest areas of concentration of civilization.
Note the Nile River delta, the Siberian Express railway route, the Australian coastal cities, and Africa, literally "the dark continent".From Princeton's International Networks Archive, the old project of Jonathan Harris.
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Speedtest.net does a great job showing you the data while testing your own internet connection speed. From locating a test server on the map, to animating the speedometer as the test runs. Without much text at all explaining what's going on, you understand the test, and the results.
Then you get the code to embed your results (see below) into a blog post, email or website. How fast is your connection?
Found on VisualComplexity.com, this disturbing poster examines global human trafficking.
"It depicts each country's level of involvement (from Very High to Very Low) as either a country of destination or origin. The project concentrates on the smuggling of people from one country to another - mainly illegally. In many cases these people are forced to do work that is illegal, such as prostitution or child labor."The poster was created by Taulant Bushi, and the original image is here.
This is a prime example of how seeing the data visually is better than reading numbers. Here is a population density map from Wikipedia.
We have heard that China and India have most of the human population in the world, but here you can really see and understand how much. Reading that China's population is four times that of the U.S. is much harder than really seeing it on a map.
The Wikipedia page on World Population has some other great information too.
From David Naylor's blog, a color map that includes all 16.8 million RGB colors.
From drinkingmap.com, this map shows the legal drinking age by country. For the vast majority of the world 18 is the legal age. There are only a few countries like the U.S. that have a drinking age as high as 21.
This interactive infographic from the New York Times website is really impressive. Using weekly data reported by the Federal Election Commission, it plots the contributions on a map of the U.S. and sizes the bubbles based on contributions from that city. It has data from every week since January 1st, so it will also "play" and animated version showing the contribution as time progresses (similar to the Trendalyzer that Google purchased from GapMinder).
You can also search for specific contributors to see which candidate campaigns they have contributed to, and how much they gave.
Another good one from Wellington Grey. Obesity across the world shown visually. The size of the little person’s body represents the percentage of people in that country with a body-mass index over 30.
Wow…are we fat or what? Are you going to finish those fries?