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Randy Krum
President of InfoNewt.
Data Visualization and Infographic Design

Infographic Design

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Caffeine Poster

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Entries in state (4)

Friday
May132016

American Slavery Maps

American Slavery Maps Infographic

Bill Rankin at Radical Cartography has created nine uniform grid maps of American Slavery covering each decade from 1790 to 1870. I've combined them into the animated GIF you see above. Bill took a new approach in analyzing the historical data by 250 square mile units instead of the traditional data by county.

The gradual decline of slavery in the north was matched by its explosive expansion in the south, especially with the transition from the longstanding slave areas along the Atlantic coast to the new cotton plantations of the Lower South. And although the Civil War by no means ended the struggle for racial equality, it marked a dramatic turning point; antebellum slavery was a robust institution that showed no signs of decline.

Mapping slavery presents a number of difficult problems. The vast majority of maps — both old and new — use the county as the unit of analysis. But visually, it is tough to compare small and large counties; the constant reorganization of boundaries in the west means that comparisons across decades are tricky, too. And like all maps that shade large areas using a single color, typical maps of slavery make it impossible to see population density and demographic breakdown at the same time. (Should a county with 10,000 people and 1,000 slaves appear the same as one that has 100 people and 10 slaves?)

My maps confront these problems in two ways. First, I smash the visual tyranny of county boundaries by using a uniform grid of dots. The size of each dot shows the total population in each 250-sqmi cell, and the color shows the percent that were slaves. But just as important, I've also combined the usual county data with historical data for more than 150 cities and towns. Cities usually had fewer slaves, proportionally, than their surrounding counties, but this is invisible on standard maps. Adding this data shows the overwhelming predominance of slaves along the South Carolina coast, in contrast to Charleston; it also shows how distinctive New Orleans was from other southern cities. These techniques don't solve all problems (especially in sparsely populated areas), but they substantially refocus the visual argument of the maps — away from arbitrary jurisdictions and toward human beings.

For a graphic explanation of this technique, see here.

I appreciate him explaining his map technique! Each decade is a separate high-resolution map image, but Bill also created a fantastic combined map showing the highest Peak Slavery levels of slavery throughout the entire time period.

The bottom map shows the peak number of slaves in each area, along with the year when slavery peaked. Except in Delaware, Maryland, and eastern Virginia, slavery in the south was only headed in one direction: up. Cartographically, this map offers a temporal analysis without relying on a series of snapshots (either a slideshow or an animation), and it makes it clear that a static map is perfectly capable of representing a dynamic historical process.

American Slavery Peak Map

 

Additionally, you can download a high-resolution poster version showing all nine decades:

American Slavery Maps Poster


 Found on FlowingData and CityLab

Tuesday
Jul282015

Largest Company by Revenue in Each State 2015

Largest Company by Revenue in Each State 2015 map

The Largest Company by Revenue in Each State 2015 map was created by Broadview Networks by using Hoover’s, a D&B Company's data. Even though there might be "bigger" companies in each state than the ones represented, the map is specifically looking at the greatest amount of revenue from the 2015 financial year.

You may have seen the Largest Companies by Revenue map we put together in June of last year, well we’re back with an updated version using Hoover’s 2015 data.  Last year’s map created so much buzz and insightful conversation that we deemed it essential to find out how it’s changed over the past year.  Using Hoover’s, a D&B Company, we searched through each state’s list of companies to find which had the largest revenue in the last fiscal year.  It was interesting to see how each company’s revenues have changed over the year (for better or worse) and to see if a new largest company had emerged.

At first glance, you may ask, “Where are Apple and Microsoft?”  Yes, these are huge companies but this map is specifically looking at total revenue from the last fiscal year.  If we look at California with Apple vs. Chevron, there is a large discrepancy between market value and total revenues.  Apple’s market value as of March 31, 2015 was $724 billion while Chevron’s was only (and we use “only” lightly) $197 billion.  In terms of revenue, Chevron comes out on top with $203 billion in the last fiscal year while Apple had revenues of $182 billion.

Please note: We used Hoover’s company database as our source, not the most recent Fortune 500 list.  Location and state are based on the corporate headquarters of that company, no branches or foreign offices.  Lastly, we decided not to include any subsidiaries or government entities for the sake of staying consistent.

I liked how they didn't manipulate the US map. Manipulation would have taken the focus away from the company's logos. If you click on the infographic, the original allows you to zoom in close enough to comfortably see small states, like CVS is Rhode Island's largest company of 2015. This infographic could of easily been overworked but instead they kept it simple.

The company post inspired a lot of discussion about the data, and I think that was part of the purpose behind the design. Is this the best data to show? Where are some of the more recognizable companies? There's even at least one error in the map.

Found on Broadview Networks VoIP Blog

Tuesday
Jan272015

2012 Statistics: Pennsylvania Crashes

2012 Statistics: Pennsylvania Crashes infographic

This infographic is a very detailed look into the 2012 Statistics of Pennsylvania Crashes. Solnick & Levin, a law firm that works on cases of personal injury due to accidents, released the infographic to help potential clients understand where their case may fall in the overall state statistics.

The charts and visualizations in this infographic design are clear and very easy for the readers to understand.

However, I frequently talk about the differences between showing statistics with a data visualization versus showing them in text-alone. This is a great example, where some stats are visualized where others are not. Any of the stats shown as only text are generally considered to be secondary information by the readers because they weren’t important enough for the designer to spend the time to visualize.

My recommendation is that you should carefully choose to only include the important statistics that support the overall story in any particular infographic design.  If a data point makes the cut and is picked to be included, the designer should take the time to visualize it to make it more easily understood by the readers.

Thanks to James for sending in the link!

Friday
Nov072014

The Most Detailed Maps from the Midterm Elections

The Most Detailed Maps from the Midterm Elections North Carolina infographic

The team at the NYTimes has published these fantastic Most Detailed Maps from the Midterm Elections.

Why are we so confident these are the most detailed maps you’ll ever see from the 2014 Senate elections? Precincts are the smallest level of geography for publicly-reported election results. There were more than 175,000 precincts in the United States in 2012, fifty times the number of counties. The maps here show precinct-level results, where available, from some of the closest Senate races.

Maps exclude early votes in counties that do not report them by precinct. Some precinct boundaries are approximate.

I would call these Pop-Up Infographics, where the map is static, but additional details are shown in a pop-up frame when you hover over each voting precinct.

The Most Detailed Maps from the Midterm Elections Louisiana Infographic

Found on Flowing Data, and thanks to Mike Wirth for posting on Facebook!