The Art of Transforming Data into Great Stories

What happened 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 #10 brought us.

How Much Warmer Was Your City in 2015?

The 2015 UN Climate Conference in Paris has not left the world untouched. This week’s recap is all about climate and weather, starting with a New York Times data piece. This visualization is based around the fact that last year’s temperature was comparably higher than two years ago. Opening with the question “How Much Warmer Was Your City in 2015?” the user is invited to explore how the temperatures changed in cities of their interest.

The visualization is less interactive as one might expect at first glance. You can hover over the adjusted line chart, and nothing won’t happen. But that is not a problem at all. The user can select cities by typing their names into a search box, and switch between the temperature scales degree Celsius and Fahrenheit. Yes, that’s it and it’s ok. The graph is definitely less playful than other visualizations, and also less transparent because it does not display every single day’s temperature. The author Rebecca Lai decided to focus on just one thing – showing the change of temperature throughout a year in different cities world wide -, and did a great job doing so. Only the added information about precipitation seems to be a little bit lost in the visualization.

NYT Weather Boston

Fighting For and Against EU Climate Projects

In 2014, the European Union agreed on the 2030 Energy Strategy that aims to enhance renewables and energy efficiency. A network graph by Simpol Project seeks to disclose the interests of NGOs and companies with regards to single sub-projects of the 2030 Energy Strategy plan.

“Our goal is to advance policy modelling for a more sustainable financial system by means of innovative network models and participatory ICT tools”, Simpol declares on its website. In accordance with this statement, the graph provides insights about supporting and opposing parties of specific energy projects. For instance, every named party seems to be in favor of a stronger use of the EU budget; in contrast, the renewable energy target is highly controversial. Unsurprisingly, traditional energy companies are in opposition, whereas NGOs such as Greenpeace support the transition to more renewables. Since the topic itself is very important, 100 points go to Semipol. But, something essential is missing: There is no explanation about what is displayed in the network chart. The users first need to actively search in order to obtain information about Simpol and to understand what is going on in the visualization. Please, Simpol team, fix that and we predict that your important work will get the attention we think it deserves.
EU 2030 Energy Strategy

Predicting Wind and Its Speed

It is getting fancy. The center of the visualization under review is a dark blue coloured map that is incorporated in an interface that reminds us of the control center of computer games. But its not the strength of characters that is displayed but the power of wind. The Ukko Project devoted it’s creativity to the visualization of seasonal wind predictions for the energy sector.

As we learned before, renewables are of controversial interest for different parties; thus, the role of wind power should not be underestimated. However, without wind no energy can be generated. Therefore, the development of a prediction model focusing on seasonal wind complements this week’s climate-related data stories.

The visualization itself contains tons of information. By clicking on a specific wind-item an information window pops up informing the user about seasonal wind speed etc. Even though the handling works effortless, the visualization is not easy to understand. The statistical and technical background is still noticeable. For the average user the content of the visualization might be too abstract, also, the legends are not as helpful as expected. Nevertheless, taking into account the target group, i.e. wind industry stakeholders, that might be the perfect visualization. For everyone else, this content-rich and very sophisticated work serves as inspiration for upcoming projects.

Project Ukko - Predicting Wind

About the author : Eva Lopez (DW)