Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Saudi Arabia - Yemen Border

I liked this story published by the New York Times on Oct. 26, 2010, because it reminds me of the problem my home state of Texas is having with Mexican residents illegally crossing the border. This story described the problem of Yemen residents crossing into Saudi Arabia illegally, bringing drugs and allowing Al Qaeda fighters to go back and forth.

This map is useful because it shows more than just the two countries involved. Seeing more of the area lets the reader put the location on their mental global map. Using a lighter color to denote Saudi Arabia and Yemen helps bring the reader's attention to the countries. This map would be more informative if there were symbols signifying what the geography of the area is (ex: mountains versus desert) and what kind of barriers are in the way (ex: fences versus nothing).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Airport Delays

This is a neat interactive graphic done by USA Today Travel. It shows the airport delays around North America. I think this graphic is useful if you are flying with connecting flights. It lets you easily check all the airports you are going to stop at to see if you will encounter any difficulties. This graphic lets you click on the airport's dot and see on a scale how far behind the scheduled time flights are arriving or departing. It's also nice that the reader can choose the airport they use most regularly and have its conditions pop up at the top of map when they return to the map for later use.

There is a big weakness in this map: the legend. The legend is a small white box in the top right corner that isn't immediately seen when the reader looks at the map. The mouse has to be on top of the legend box to see the options. Until the reader sees the legend box, they are confused as to what the different colors and shapes representing the airports mean. If I was to re-do this map, I would make the legend a permanently open box within the map.

Monday, October 25, 2010

12 People You'll Meet on Twitter

It's funny and it's true. This graphic is published by and describes the types of people a Twitter user will find while tweeting. This is a strong graphic because the example tweets are a different color than the background of the graphic. Also, the example tweets show up like they do on Twitter, including the profile picture. The clever profile pictures for the example tweets help portray the emotions of the tweets. This graphic is very true to form for Twitter, which makes the graphic more enjoyable. I think this graphic is effective in its plain and simple form. Interactivity would not have added much to it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Marcellus Shale Reserves

This chart, published by Pittsburgh Live on Oct. 19, 2010, has several good elements and a few that I don't particularly like. I like that the number of wells each company owns is paired with how much natural gas they produce. It gives perspective on how much gas a well can pump and if the pumps are efficient compared to others. The contrasting colors also help distinguish between the bars of information. I also like that the companies are listed from highest producers to lowest.

I don't like that this graphic could not stand on its own. There is no explanation about how the Marcellus shale reserves are different for pumping natural gas than regular wells. Shale reserves are a relatively new way of pumping gas so this graphic would be much stronger if that information was given to the reader. Also, this graphic is not interactive. A map with locations and owners of the wells would have helped the reader understand where the Marcellus shale reserves are located in Pennsylvania.

Friday, October 15, 2010

TEA Ratings

This interactive map, published by the Dallas Morning News, gives the Texas Education Agency's school district ratings in an understandable format. It is possible to click on the individual district's marker to get its enrollment numbers, percentage of low-income students, and ranking over the last five years. From the main map, it's possible to use the drop-down menu to choose a school district to see the same statistics, as well as address, for each school within the district.

The interactivity of this map makes it interesting. I enjoyed checking the statistics of the schools I attended and the one my brother is currently attending. I think the only way to enhance this graphic would be to add a picture of the each school. The colors that denote the different ranks is strong and the use of Google Maps is a familiar format to readers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chilean Miners Rescue Efforts

This interactive diagram was used by CNN to track the story of the Chilean miners who got trapped in the mine August 5, 2010, and were rescued by October 13, 2010. As the men were rescued, their photos transferred from "Trapped," on the sidebar on the left, to "Rescued" on the same sidebar. Their photos can also be clicked on to get their name and a few facts about them. The red squares with white dots pop up a picture, video and/or text box of information when they are clicked on. It tries to give a picture or video so the reader can get a visual of what the real life refuge chamber looks like. I think the building height comparison is useful too because it shows just how far the men were underground. The count-up of days spent underground also increased as time went on.

This graphic gives a lot of information which helps the non-miner reader better understand the situation. This is nothing I would change about this graphic because there are so many interactive elements in it. The more time a reader spends on this graphic, the more they learn.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Recycling in Columbia

Columbia, MO, is a community that enjoys challenging itself to be as environmentally friendly as possible - or so it seems to me, as an outsider from Texas. I think this graphic, published on Oct. 6, by the Columbia Missourian, shows the community's efforts well. The city has given residents vouchers to pick up recycling bags from local stores to promote recycling. I like that this graphic shows two years of information to show the rise in recycling. I also like the note that explains the spike in recycling. I think it would be helpful if the "Weeks" part of the graphic on the x-axis was labeled to let the readers know the weeks start at the beginning of the calendar or school year. This is a university town so many people think of the year as the school year. A weakness of this graphic is that it is all shades of gray. I would have liked to see some different colors for the data lines so they are better distinguished from the background and labels. It would have been difficult to make this basic informational graphic more enhanced or interactive.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

NYC Subway Construction

This aerial view of 2nd Avenue in New York was published on the New York Times website in Oct. 4, 2010. The story is about how construction on a new subway line is causing economic troubles in the neighborhood. The graphic shows what areas are blocked, what stores have recently closed, where business has declined, and where business is steady. This graphic allows the reader to decide if the barriers are causing the effects on the business or if it happens to be the economy overall. Also, I like knowing what the barriers are. Another strong element is the drawing of all the buildings in that area so the reader can tell it is a busy, crowded part of New York City.

This graphic would be enhanced if it was interactive. The reader could click on the building and a street view photo of the building could pop up. This would give readers an idea of what the barriers actually look like instead of imagining for themselves in their heads.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

World's First Sustainable City

The world's first carbon-neutral city is being built outside Abu Dhabi. This diagram
by the New York Times on Sept. 25, 2010 gives a detailed look that the planned city. I think it's a strong graphic for several reasons. I like that the dominant view is a 3D angle and the vertical view is given below. I also like that there is a cross-section of the buildings to explain what the Headquarters will look like and how the ventilation system will work. The colors indicating what will be ready in the fall and what is under construction gives a good idea of what is happening now. The maps in the top corner are helpful to put this place on the map.

This diagram would be even cooler and enhanced if it was made interactive by clicking on the parts of the city that are under construction and a real-life photo would pop up. It would give readers a better idea of what the city is turning out to look like.

Friday, October 1, 2010

USA Today published this TV guide on Oct. 1, 2010. This graphic is interactive. When the reader's arrow scrolls over a day's box, a text box pops up with a quick cliffhanger summary of the episode. No episode is featured twice so if the reader ever wondered what a show was about, they could get a glance at a summary easily. Other information that is also provided is what station the show is on and the time is plays. A weakness of this calendar is that it is almost monochromatic. It would be more interesting to look at if the text was a different color from the background of the squares. I do like that the day's date is highlighted in red.