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Maps Need Context

I co-authored this post with Bryan Connor of The Why Axis fame. This post originally appeared on the Urban Institute’s Metrotrends blog. It might be the case that maps are the most data-dense visualizations. Consider your basic roadmap: it includes road types (highways, toll roads), directions (one-way, two-way), geography (rivers, lakes), cities, types of cities (capitals), points of interest (schools,…

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A simple remake for a simple chart

This post originally appeared on the Urban Institute’s Metrotrends blog I had a hard time visually picking out the story in a simple chart published by the Financial Times earlier this week. There was nothing special or particularly complex about the chart—it’s a simple clustered column chart—but the fact that I couldn’t easily see the story made…

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Presenting your research? Try telling a story

This post originally appeared on the Urban Institute’s MetroTrends blog. One of the hot buzzwords in data visualization these days is “storytelling”: telling stories with data, using visualization to help tell stories,…stories, stories, stories. But no one, it seems, has really defined the term. A number of great blog posts recently (for example, here, here, here, here, and here) have…

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The importance of selling research

This post originally appeared on the Urban Institute’s MetroTrends blog. A quick story: A few months ago, I was chatting with one of my former graduate school professors. I was telling him about a client who was concerned that his organization wasn’t selling their work enough; that their reports weren’t being as widely read as…

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The First HelpMeViz Hackathon Event

(Cross-posted with HelpMeViz) I’m excited to announce the first live HelpMeViz Hackathon event. On Saturday, June 28th, HelpMeViz will bring together coders, data scientists, and data visualizers in Washington, DC, to help Bread for the World Institute with two data visualization challenges for its 2015 Hunger Report, which focuses on why women’s empowerment is essential to ending…

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The “So What?” Test

The last Data Stories podcast featured a fantastic discussion with Enrico Bertini, Alberto Cairo, Robert Kosara, and Moritz Stefaner about storytelling in data visualization. I’ll save my post about storytelling for another time, but right now I want to write about Alberto Cairo’s “So What?” test. Alberto defines his “So What?” test as follows: “A test…

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Ring Maps

It’s beyond me how I ended up on the ArcGIS mailing list, but every so often I get one of their newsletters that contains the latest and greatest cartography tools and research. I usually scan the magazine pretty quickly, but the article by Huang and others in the October 2013 issue caught my eye. (A…

Image courtesy of Neil Newhouse

Trying to Fix “The Fix”

I saw this chart earlier this week in Chris Cillizza’s Washington Post article about changes in President Obama’s approval ratings. Here’s the figure and the accompanying text: As the chart shows, four of the major pillars of President Obama’s electoral base — single women, African Americans, Hispanics and young (aged 18-29) voters — have all…

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Constructing a Presentation: A Story from Tapestry

This is what I call a process post—and a long process post at that. It’s a post about how I prepared my “Short Story” talk for the February Tapestry Conference in Annapolis, MD (the video is below). Five of us were each given 15 minutes to speak. According to Nancy Duarte, this would require at…

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Light vs Dark Backgrounds

Cole Nussbaumer at Storytelling With Data wrote an interesting post last week about choosing between light and dark backgrounds for data visualizations. Though she cited Nancy Duarte’s book Slide:ology, Cole focused on backgrounds in specific data visualizations and not about backgrounds in presentation slides. So I want to expand on Cole’s post to talk about…