Space launches

April 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

FAA commercial space launches year in review

Each year, the Federal Aviation Administration counts up all the space launches around the world and releases a report with loads of detail on  how many launches each country made, what they were for, and even the type of rockets they used.

Each report only gives information for the previous year, so if you want to show a trend over time, you would have to go through each annual report to gather the info. You can find them here:

The big takeaway from this year’s report is that China has passed the U.S. in the annual number of space launches for the first time.

faa commercial space launch year in review

I haven’t had a chance to use info from this report in a graphic, but I’m keeping it in my back pocket.



Gas prices

December 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

When gas prices begin to rise, news organizations typically begin to track the costs over time and across the nation, as shown in this 2006 Washington Post map above. The AAA Fuel Gauge Report ( provides these state-level prices daily. It also offers them by metro area if you need to make a more localized comparison.

Charts from the AAA Fuel Gauge site:


For historical prices, you need to go to the Energy Information Administration’s Petroleum Navigator (, which gives weekly gas prices for more than a decade.

Flight paths

November 5, 2009 § Leave a comment


After a plane crashes, news infographics departments immediately turn to the Web for flight-path data to serve as the basis of a map or explainer graphic. There are a bunch of different sources for flight paths. I haven’t figured out which is the easiest to use or which provides the best information. But here are four examples of news maps made from four different flight-tracking sites.

Above: Map of US Airways flight that crashed in the Hudson

Data from FlightView


Above:  Wall Street Journal map of Northwest flight that overshot its destination in Minneapolis.

Data from Flightaware


Above: New York Times map of same Minneapolis flight.

Data from Flightwise

Above: Washington Post maps of Sept. 11 attacks.
Data from Flight Explorer


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