Tell better stories with your data

Data Storytelling with World Population Data

The visualizations below demonstrate multiple ways of looking at the same world population data. All of the data is accessible in each graph via the interactive features. However, some graphs are better than others at conveying proportions and relationships. While each visualization will adapt to any device, it's preferable to view these on at least a tablet or anything else with a larger screen size.

Choropleth Map

Geographic maps make for attractive images, and are intuitive to follow, but don't always convey relative differences in the values they represent. The choropleth map below uses differences in shading and color to indicate different quantities of a given value. Darker colors mean "more", but it's hard to judge from shading just by how much. The map visualization below was built in D3 using TopoJSON

Toggle between the different metrics in the data set, as well as hover over each country to get a popup box with more info.

Circle Packing

Visualizations using circle packing are a great way for seeing differences in values between data points. They use the radius of the circle to reflect differences in value. They're also great for visualizing hierarchies, as the circles can be nested in one another depending on the parent-child relationship.

The visualization below allows you to toggle between the different metrics, as well choose the layout of the generated graph. For example, select "Countries Only" and "Sorted" to see the data points sorted. Hover over the elements to see the country and metrics.


Bubble Graph

Bubble graphs are a variation on traditional scatter plot graphs. They use Cartesian coordinates to display values for typically two variables for a set of data. The data points are usually homogenous, such as observations from an experiment. If the points are color-coded you can increase the number of displayed variables to three. Bubble graphs take things a step further and use the size of the dot or circle to show a forth numeric value. This helps to highlight any relationships that exist for particular types observations but not others.

The graph attempts to show all of the population data in a single interactive visualization. Each bubble represents a country, and it's size represents the population. GDP is placed on the vertical access and infant mortality on the horizontal. Color is used to represent the continent. You'll notice a big problem with the graph is that the order of magnitude between population size causes many countries to shift to the bottom. This is remedied with the interactive features. You can toggle different continents and countries in and out of the visualization. The axes adjust accordingly to the data which is still present. Hovering over a bubble shows the country and metric data.

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Tom Wall is a full-stack web developer with over ten years of experience working in technology. In particular, his background covers the areas of data visualization, database programming, and business intelligence. He has a strong problem-solving background with the skills to transform abstract concepts into deliverable solutions. Tom has worked with companies ranging in size from Fortune 500 to small startups, across industries such as insurance, ecommerce, humanitarian relief, and software development. He is the creator of Graphla, a web application that facilitates the exploration and visualization of data though a user-friendly interface. In his free time, he enjoys reading and runs a literary fiction book club. Tom lives in Portland, Oregon.

Some services he offers:

  • Articles that present research via a data story
  • Develop custom visualizations for your apps
  • Data visualizations for the mobile web
  • Create JavaScript chart libraries for your team
  • Training classes on D3.js
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