Map O’ The Day #62 – SARS


Missing from MOTD #60 was data about the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak between the months of November 2002 and July 2003, in which there were 8,096 known infected cases and 774 deaths.

Today’s map, from the NY Times, shows the frightening pace at which this disease spreads. It follows the travels of one Chinese professor who became infected with SARS while treating patients in China. The professor stays in an international hotel and infects many others.

The graphic is easy to navigate and understand because of a simple legend and a great use of bold text to show location and importance.

Map O’ The Day #45 – Burning Fuel


This MOTD was created by the NY Times as a part of a campaign to raise awareness around the fight against global warming. Aside from being visually appealing, the graphic shows the interesting comparison of energy usage between automobiles and human beings. Moreover, the image reveals horrifying figures around caloric value in some of our favorite foods, which may prompt a few of us to go for the banana over a bloomin’ onion the next time were “fueling up.”

On a side note, this graphic makes an excellent case for a principle of mapping: Selection. When crafting a map, info graphic, or image, strict adherence ought be paid to the categories and specific items that should be displayed, both in terms of their individual and relative values.

Imagine if this New York times example had shown a car’s fuel requirements against that of almost ANY other animal. The narrative and emotive value of the comparison instantly declines, in effect, scuttling the intended messaging of the artifact.

The consequences from choosing either incorrect, or inferior, information types and mediums, can be range from a substandard story to an unintentional skewing of information away from the desired communication.

Map O’ The Day #41 – A Year In Iraq


Think what you will of the New York Times, but the paper is without a doubt known for putting together compelling Info graphics which display data sets in a visually stimulating manner. Authored by Adriana Lins De Albuquerque & Alicia Chen, this image is no exception for the publication, as their portrayal of casualties during 2006 in all of Iraq masterfully shows the gruesome realities of war. The Times utilizes both color, figure type, and figure quantity to display the known data sets.

One should be somewhat leery when drawing insights from a map such as this, as often times authors of both info graphics and maps will choose to use scale, selection and representation in an effort to aim the viewer towards a specific conclusion or view. I’m not sure that I see a blatant statistical misrepresentation in this case, but without cross referencing the original data with the Times representation, it’s quite difficult to be sure of it’s objectivity.

In any event, this graphic is worth scanning for some undeniable trends in the reported data, such as the large amount of Iraqi police officers killed by hostile forces, namely, other Iraqis and foreign terrorists.

[I apologize for the resolution when viewing the comprehensive graphic, but zooming in provides an enhancement]

Map O’ The Day #35 – Foreclosures

This infographic was published in the New York Times, who created it from sources at First American CoreLogic, LoanPerformance, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Census Bureau, and provides an excellent look at a poor situation, namely, the foreclosure situation in America.

Much like yesterday’s MOTD, this graphic utilizes multivariate analysis, using both height, color and location in order to show the %’s of subprime mortgage foreclosures in metropolitan areas, as well as the subprime mortgage foreclosures overall.

A key difference in this infographic from yesterday’s is that simple multivariate analysis in a central map wasn’t enough. Rather, the NYT employed a systems of maps to further contextualize the data. If you draw your attention to the bottom right, there are two additional maps depicting the construction boom as well as job loss, which allows a user to draw correlations among data sets.

This is a great example of what Maga Design refers to when discussing a “system of maps” that helps create insights while driving towards outcomes.