October 7, 2012 § 1 Comment
Shark attacks loom large in our imaginations even though the chance of being killed by a shark is infinitesimally small. Our obsession with shark statistics provides fodder for compelling charts, such as the classic infographic by the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinal shown above or the more sparse, image-driven chart below.
Visual journalists most frequently go to the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural history for shark-attack data. The site posts an annual report that includes trends by location and circumstance.
Here are some examples of terrifying details charted in the report.
Another source, the similarly named Shark Attack File, provides less analysis but greater detail on each shark-attack report.
Here’s an example from the National Post of how you can use these stats. The Post’s team created an icon for each recorded attack over the past 100 years.
July 9, 2012 § 1 Comment
Diffusion indexes confuse the heck out of people the first time they see one. But once diffusion indexes become familiar, they make a whole lot of sense. To chart a diffusion index and label it properly, you really need to understand what the numbers mean. (Okay, that goes for any graphic, but don’t expect to wing it with a diffusion index.)
With a diffusion index, 50 is the baseline, anything above that indicates expansion, anything below that indicates contraction. What confuses people is this: If the number is 60 in one month and 55 the next, that does not indicate contraction, it indicates slower expansion. If the number is 40 one month and 45 the next, that does not indicate expansion, it indicates slower contraction.
Take a look at the four examples of diffusion indexes in this post. I believe they were all made by Pat Minczeski on The Wall Street Journal graphics team. You will see that The Wall Street Journal took great pains to label not just whether a figure indicates expansion or contraction, but whether it is slower or faster than the previous month.
Usually when you chart a diffusion index, you are looking at some form of purchasing managers index of manufacturing activity. The Institute for Supply Management and Markit provide much of this data. To create an index, ISM surveys purchasing managers and asks them whether they’re doing more, less, or the same of things like placing new orders, hiring people or producing goods. The manufacturing index (or its sub-indexes) reflects their responses.
Here is a link to the most recent ISM report: http://www.ism.ws/ISMReport/content.cfm?ItemNumber=10748&navItemNumber=12949
And here are the historical numbers for the main manufacturing index: http://www.ism.ws/ISMReport/content.cfm?ItemNumber=10752
For detailed historical figures, you probably need to contact the Institute for Supply Management or Markit. I haven’t found detailed figures on their sites. Give me a shout if you come across them.
April 23, 2012 § Leave a comment
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.
I haven’t had a chance to use info from this report in a graphic, but I’m keeping it in my back pocket.
August 10, 2011 § Leave a comment
Each day, Gallup polls Americans on how they view economic conditions. The percentage saying the economy is poor shot up by 10 points around the time of the congressional battle over raising the debt ceiling.
You can download the data and build your own chart. Unfortunately, these figures only go back to 2009, so they don’t capture the period before the recession that began in December 2007. I suspect you could get older figures by contacting Gallup directly.
July 17, 2011 § Leave a comment
On the same day, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post published graphics highlighting tough choices the federal government would need to make if the debt ceiling isn’t raised by Aug. 2: The U.S. would need to decide which bills to pay and which to skip. The Wall Street Journal’s graphic is above and the Washington Post’s is below.
The Washington Post also published an interactive graphic in which the user can chose which federal bills to pay with the limited funds that would be available.
Both publications turned to a recent analysis by the Bipartisan Policy Center, which estimated daily receipts and payments based on publicly available data from daily Treasury statements. The report provides specificity that brings home what this crisis could mean for our country.
July 4, 2011 § 1 Comment
With Greece heading toward default on its debt, many news organizations are looking at who would pick up the tab. This New York Times chart breaks down how much Greek debt each country holds. The data comes from the Bank for International Settlements, which coordinates international financial services regulations and serves as a bank for central banks.
The BIS maintains a vast menu of statistics, so here is the exact location where you would find these figures:
Go to the BIS site’s Consolidated Banking Statistics page (http://www.bis.org/statistics/consstats.htm.)
Scroll down to the bottom, where you will see a link to Table 9E Foreign exposures on selected individual countries, ultimate risk basis. Note that not all countries will be listed in the data.