data presentation

I listened to a lot of TED Talks as I’ve been renovating my trailer. I tend to like them and I’ve learned a lot–what a great resource! I’ve also noticed that listening to most of them is fine–no viewing necessary. Not with this one. It’s my favorite TED Talk of the 50+ I’ve been through so far.

I had the idea that animated maps could be a very cool way of presenting data. You could show changes over time and space of any quantity that we collect, and do it in a way that is much more intuitive and appealing than graphs or databases of numbers.

After some considerable (though not exhaustive) searching, these were the most interesting animated maps I found, and I think they are worth watching. I have to say, though, that my overall impression is that this is a sadly underused technique. Come on, data people! Off the top of my head, I’d like to see animations of demographic shifts, weather and climate changes, number of scientific papers published, regime change by region… Get creative!

I should say, before presenting the map animations I found, that I either do not know or am not certain of the accuracy of the sources of the data presented in these animations. Data presentation can be used to inform or mislead, and I do not present these as True, just Interesting.

Several religions mapped over time:


This one starts slow, but the first several minutes of nothing happening make the last couple minutes fairly shocking:



This is a cool visual presentation of global health and wealth. I often find presentations of data to be either dense and non-intuitive or boring. This one is interesting and inspiring.

Hans Rosling also has a TED talk here that is really worth watching, on population, fertility, child survival rates, and wealth.

(By the way, I found this clip while looking for good map animations, which seem like a great way to present data. It’s pretty slow going so far, though. Any recommendations?)