05 December 2008

Distorted maps

There are several websites that can show you statistics in map form. This animated map, which  shows countries resized relative to students in primary school, came from Show Mapping Worlds

World Mapper also offers maps which show stastics; download a .pdf file of maps already created.

Here is the picture of Primary Education from Worldmapper:

15 October 2008

Zip Scribbles

Robert Kosara asked "What would happen if you were to connect all the ZIP codes in the US in ascending order? Is there a system behind the assignment of ZIP codes? Are they organized in a grid? The result is surprising and much more interesting than expected."

And in other countries? Would the picture represent the bureaucratic mind, or the topography, or the population density?

"Switzerland is known for its mountains, and you can see that quite well on this map, especially in the middle to southern areas. Especially impressive is the canton of Uri (UR), which is one long valley; this is very nicely visible on this map." (Kosara)

Click on the title link for this post to see more European countries as "scribbles".

Update 15 Oct 08: Adrian Khun has left a comment on this post, pointing to his own work, ZIP Scribble of Switzerland, --fixed!--, with the script that produced these maps. I don't entirely agree with his comment - I do think Kosara's map represents Switzerland's topography and to a certain extent population distribution, very well, and that was one of the possibilities.
Khun's version of the map is equally interesting:

Adrian Kuhn - Zip code map of Switzerland

Jump to his site and read how he created it.

04 April 2008

Visualize the history of your name

One of my favorite bloggers, "stumbled upon an extremely interesting little web-tool known as the NameVoyager. In a massive graph, you will see thousands of names, listed alphabetically, with the width of its bar tracking the name's popularity from the 1880s to 2006. It's a great little tool to see how many little kids will be running around with your name in the near future. This is really only a concern to people with the more infrequent names."

I went to check it out at The Baby Name Wizard site, and found this explanation:

Explore the sea of names, letter by letter...watch trends rise and fall, and dive in deeper to see your favorite name's place in the historical tides.

The Baby Name Wizard's NameVoyager is an interactive portrait of America's name choices. Start with a "sea" of nearly 5000 names. Type a letter, and you'll zoom in to focus on how that initial has been used over the past century. Then type a few more letters, or a name. Each stripe is a timeline of one name, its width reflecting the name's changing popularity. If a name intrigues you, click on its stripe for a closer look.

So of course, I checked out my name. Here's the picture:

Baby NameVoyager
(Click on the picture to see it full size.)

This is really interesting, because my name is that of my Grandmother, who was born in 1895. I can see from the chart that it was a very popular name when she was born, but is less so now. I think that's probably right, because I know no other Katharine who spells it with an "a".

Test out your name! Too bad this is only and "American" data base - wouldn't it be amazing if you could look at different cultures' or countries' names? But it's an interesting tool to use, just to watch it work.

22 March 2008

from the streets of San Francisco

I read this post by a very thoughtful observer - of - the - world, who wrote about the flowering trees being in bloom, and then seeing these tape-measures on the ground (among the flower petals). Read the rest of her post below. It has nothing to do with directly with graphs and charts, but a lot to do with perspectives on data:

FineLine Letterpress
"No tape-measure trees in sight. I think a flock of school children left them here when they returned to the classroom after working in the garden (there is a fantastic garden in the slim unpaved strip next to Grattan School). I did not stop to measure my height, nor the length of my stride (although I was tempted to do both). But it did get me thinking about measurement. And reflecting on the fact that I like data, and I also like accuracy. Sometimes it’s great to guess, but sometimes it is satisfying to know. Maybe also it is reassuring to be able to measure the length of something in this world where many things seems so uncertain and mercurial. One of the things I enjoy during printing is the requirement for precision. I love chance and random beauty, and I also appreciate what can come of careful planning. I love that there can be both perspectives rendered in one scene: the tape can be used to measure carefully, and, look what a lovely pattern the tape has made from being dropped in a carefree manner!"

28 February 2008

Online survey results

Click on each chart to see it in more detail on flickr.com

13 February 2008

How much is a trillion?

Science Friday Archives: How Much is a Trillion?
"One trillion is 1,000,000,000,000 -- 10 to the 12th power, or a thousand thousand thousand thousand. To put things in perspective, current estimates put the number of stars in the Milky Way as somewhere between 100 and 400 billion. The U.S. population is slightly over 303 million, and the world population is around 6.6 billion. One trillion dollars would be enough to buy about a thousand boxes of Girl Scout cookies for every person in the United States. A trillion barrels of oil would (at current consumption levels) fuel the world for about 33 years. We'll talk about other ways to visualize the number 'one trillion.' Is it possible for the human mind to really comprehend?"

The show's guest is David M Schwartz
Author of many books for children,
including "How
Much is a Million?
', 'If
You Made a Million,
' and 'Millions
to Measure'

Listen to the podcast, and click through to the related links:

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