Visualizing absolute numbers

Quite often we deal with quantities that differ a lot and when it comes to visualizing those we tend to play tricks like using logarithmic scales or calculating relative numbers, a process by which a lot of the story gets lost.

Here is an artists’ project called Of All The People In All The World (Stan’s Cafe), that used rice grain to depict human beings:

Related: Running the Numbers looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption) and so on. My hope is that images representing these quantities might have a different effect than the raw numbers alone, such as we find daily in articles and books. Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with and make meaning of 3.6 million SUV sales in one year, for example, or 2.3 million Americans in prison, or 32,000 breast augmentation surgeries in the U.S. every month.

Published by

visuell

Making interactive graphics on the web to better understand data. Use open standards (Scalable Vector Graphics, SVG) for a better web. Helped by a degree in geography and a background in official statistics.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s