The Art of Transforming Data into Great Stories

What happened this (read: last) week in the world of data visualization? This category provides you with remarkable visualizations – they can be remarkably beautiful, remarkably interactive or just remarkably interesting. Visualizations differ on so many levels, and so does their content. Let’s take a look at what week #1 brought us.

Germany in Flames

The current refugee crisis in Europe seems to let no one unaffected. The discourse touches politics and economy as well as the society itself. With Germany taking in a large number of refugees it stands at the center of attention. This is especially true since the number of attacks on refugee accomodations has dramatically rizen over the last months.

Under the heading “Germany in Flames” the German national weekly newspaper ‘Die Zeit’ took a closer look at the numbers, analyzing not only the violence against refugees, but also the number of legal actions taken up against the perpetrators. The journalists decided to go for nothing too fancy in order to visualize their story. Instead, they backed it up by using clean and comprehensible data vizualisations, with simple animations that clearly underline their points and are easy to access.

Germany in Flames

Am I living in a dangerous neighborhood?

The shooting in San Bernardino again leads to a U.S.-wide discussion, whether the ownership of guns should be regulated more strictly. The U.S. online magazine Slate contributes to that discussion by creating a map that reveals where shootouts took place in the past and whether they were of fatal matter or not.

Instead of showing a heat map in order to get an overall picture of the distribution of gun shootings throughout the country, the Slate authors chose a different approach. They provide their readers with an added value by displaying the gun shootings in their city, neighborhood or even street. The application is not meant to spread fear, rather it’s main goal is to be informative. Therefore, also the labels ‘accident’, ‘self-defense’ and ‘officer involved shooting’ were added to the map, as well as additional information about individual shootouts.

How Many People Have Been Shot in Your Neighborhood This Year?

What else was important this week?… COP21 Paris Climate Conference

It is no surprise that Google lists the world climate conference as trending topic. But even though this was a much debated event last week, there wasn’t much data-visual cover of the two-week-long summit (e.g. number of participatens, flight routes & distances, CO2 produced by the participants – you name it). However we discovered a Google News Lab visualization investigating climate change through the lens of Google Search. A fancy looking globe spins smoothly around and displays real life search terms that are meant to be part of the climate change debate. As implied, this function is working only partially well since also generic questions, such as ‘What is the deepest ocean in the world?’ are presented.

A World of Change

Visual real time monitoring of a complex summit, such as the COP21, seems not to be state of the art (yet) but let’s see how the outcome of COP21 will be visually processed in the future.

About the author : Eva Lopez (DW)