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May 31, 2011

How to see a tornado at the Subway Series

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On May 23, Sports Chart of the Day published this chart comparing wins and runs scored in the Subway Series (i.e., Yankees vs. Mets).

There are some fundamental problems with this chart:

  1. The stacked bars are irrelevant and misleading.  Wins and runs scored are two very distinct stats and adding them together makes no sense whatsoever.
  2. Are these stacked bars or overlaid bars?
  3. The years are sorted in reverse order.  This makes it much more difficult to see trends because you have to get your brain to think backwards in time
  4. The labels create too much chart junk
  5. The dark gray background…why do so many of their charts have this background?  I don’t get it.

I recreated the data in Excel and threw it into Tableau and came up with three simple alternatives: a tornado chart, a line chart and a bullet chart.  Which on is your favorite?  What can you do with the data?  Download the workbook and leave a comment with a link to your viz.

May 24, 2011

The World’s Deadliest Roads – Watch out for cars in Africa

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Before you travel around the world, you may want to consider where you are safest.  According to the Guardian, road traffic accidents “kill more people around the world than malaria”.  While China would obviously have the highest number of accidents based on the size of the population, I was surprised that many countries in Africa and the Middle East have such a high incidence of deaths (measured as deaths per 100K of population).

Use the interactive viz below to see if anything stands out to you.  One good way to look at the data to really make the death rate in Africa stand out is to choose “Estimated Deaths per 100K” for both the color and the size.  What do you see?

May 20, 2011

If you like baseball, you’ll love the Titans!

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This summer I embark on a 7 week journey with my oldest son through baseball all-stars (his team is the 10U Oregon Park Titans).  There are many ways to keep up with the team through their adventures:

If you would like to sponsor the Titans, please visit the team website and then click on the “Sponsor the Titans” link or click here to access the sponsorship form directly.  There are many sponsorship levels available.

It’s pretty safe to assume that I’ll be keeping track of the stats and will post them in a viz at the end of the season.

Go Titans!

Are you a data rock star? If so, strut your stuff for a chance to win an iPad2

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All of the details can be found here.

Enter Now to Win…

It's easy to enter the competition and you could win:

  • Recognition from a panel of industry experts in journalism, data visualization and design
  • Your name and work promoted across the web
  • A proud and noteworthy addition to your portfolio, website or CV
  • A full post profiling you and your work, and the design process you followed
  • A signed copy of Information is Beautiful by David McCandless
  • A brand new iPad2
    It's An Open Brief
    • The competition is based on the data collected by David, and other sources listed within the dataset.  However, you are free to mash up the data with any other source you wish, provided the sources are publicly available and cited in your entry to the competition. 
    • Your visualization can be static, moving or interactive
    • You can include as little or as much text as you like
    • It can be as simple as a single chart or a full-blown infographic
    The Datasets

    You may also find the following resources useful

    And Remember, the Competition Closes at 11pm GMT on Monday 20th June 2011.

    May 18, 2011

    Is Netflix eating bandwidth or pie?


    From Chart of the Day.  I suspect you know my opinion here.  You tell me which on is easier to read.


    May 11, 2011

    Adding unnecessary precision to bar chart labels

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    Overall, this is a good chart.  But I do have a couple of nitpicky things:

    1. Not sure I like the title.  It’s not how “you” spend your time, but the time of those surveyed.  Maybe something like “Average iPad Usage Time”.
    2. The bar labels on the blue and red bars need to be consistent.  First, they don’t have the same format (blue has two decimal places, red has none).  Second, does the level of precision matter?  Does this chart need to be so specific that people will actually care if web browsing is 37.70% vs. 38%?  I would round to the nearest whole number.
    3. The horizontal scale lines should be more transparent.  I find my eye drawn to the lines because they are so bold.

    What else do you see?

    May 4, 2011

    Join us at the May Atlanta Tableau User Group Meet-up!

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    Date: May 19th - 1:00pm EDT
    Duration: 180 minutes
    Norfolk Southern Building
    1200 Peachtree Street NE
    Atlanta, GA 30309
    See map: Google Maps


    · Training: Tableau Server

    · Networking

    · Training

    · June Meeting Planning

    This will be a hands-on session so bring your laptop equipped with Tableau.


    Gas prices are approaching $4/gallon. What are you paying?

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    As we approach gas prices averaging $4/gallon in the US, prices not seen since 2008, we’re all looking for a “good deal”.  Click on this fabulous heat map from to find the best prices in your area.

    A quick glance at my area shows I’m averaging around $3.85-$3.90. 

    Prices have gone up about $2 since the same time in 2009.  Click the chart to see the trend in your area.

    Who’s visiting the VizWiz?

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    I started this blog 624 days ago on August 17, 2009 with the goal of helping others (and me) learn best practices for data visualization.  There have been many twists and turns and the backlog of blog posts has gotten quite long.  The breadth of the audience of this blog worldwide has both fascinated and humbled me.  145 blog posts later, here are the stats, visualized of course.

    The bubbles are sized based on the rank of the country for the stat & time frame chosen.  The color is based on the stat chosen.

    Thanks for the visits and comments.  I learn a lot from your feedback.