A new animated population pyramid for Germany 1950–2050

Today Destatis released a new projection of Germany’s population by 2060 accompanied by an all new animated population pyramid. It is the first population pyramid that really moves upwards.


In case the above doesn’t display in your preferred language, here are the distinct links for english, french, spanish, russian, german.

The pasted screenshot is the mobile version you will automatically see on small screens. There is much more to explore on larger displays, as birthyears are labeled directly, you can lock an outline for comparison and there are four different variants to choose from, so that you can judge the outcome with different assumptions.

Apart from starting the animation with the (Play) button you can navigate through the years by mousewheel, left/right cursor keys or on touch devices directly by swiping up or down on the pyramid.

Thematic Maps Revisited

A month ago ONS did an excellent job in hosting The Graphical Web 2014 conference in Winchester/UK under the theme “Visual Storytelling”. You should check the summary at the conference website and go from there.

It was a great event to meet people from a variety of backgrounds, e.g. academia, the media and of course NSIs (Statistics Norway, Statistics Austria to name just a few).

All presentations were taped and are currently released as they are processed. Let me take this opportunity to pitch my own presentation of the German Census Map

I guess we’ll be talking about this conference for a while and there are many presentations worth watching already posted. For example Alan Smith from the ONS shows us why learning to programm graphics is a worthwhile endeavour for statisticians who wouldn’t regard themselves as programmers.

His presentation discusses the practicalities of developing that capability in house as a key part of the corporate skills agenda. It borrows heavily from examples and lessons learned from the 7 year lifespan of the ONS Data Visualisation Centre.

Envy the Data Visualisation Centre? Not any more.

If you follow the ONS Data Visualisation Centre you will be amazed by the fireworks of interactive graphics that they regularly produce. At least I am. Here are just a few recent examples that caught my eye.

Image Image Image

Now who wouldn’t want to install a similar group in their organisation. Apart from the management task at hand (including fighting against or around an established CMS in most cases) people often ask where and how they can get their staff and colleagues up to speed with all the current technology, what are the tools, how do they work and what media partners could be interested in possible collaboration or syndication.

Luckily there are conferences for that and in 2014 the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will be hosting such an event in England that will answer most of those questions. It is the well known Graphical Web Conference and takes place in this top notch venue in Winchester from August 27–30th, 2014. The theme will be “visual storytelling”.


The Graphical Web focus is on open web technologies such as SVG, CSS, Canvas, WebGL and the respective JavaScript libraries that make dealing with these graphic formats a lot easier. Front and center being D3 the data driven documents library that has become a de-facto standard in the data-visualisation world.

Have a look at the conference website and follow @TheGraphicalWeb on Twitter for the latest updates.

Calendar View Visualisation

In official statistics we’re used to dealing with highly aggregated data. To visualise those, bar-, line- and pie charts are standard tools. But there is a whole other side to visualisation where it is used to recognize patterns, outliers or errors in individual data.

A very compelling example of displaying daily data for several years in a calendar view was recently presented at SVGopen 2011 by Mike Bostock, a Tufte influenced data visualisation expert, who could easily become the next Hans Rosling. Mike is among other things author of the d3.js library, a JavaScript Toolkit that can streamline your data visualisation projects a lot without forcing any constraints of predefined chart types on the developer.

US Commercial Flights, daily data 2001 vs 2002

In the above excerpt of the daily flight data for 1995–2008 (click image to see all the years covered) the effect of 9-11 is the most obvious, where flight activity stopped completely and had a hard time to recover for several months.

But there is so much more information in there:

  • the weekly pattern: less flights on weekends
  • the seasonal pattern: most flights in July and August
  • the 9-11 pattern: few flights on 9-11-2002

You might want to flick through Mike Bostock’s SVGopen 2011 slide deck to get an idea what else to expect (use arrow keys to navigate the web based presentation). All this is done using open webstandards of the latest incarnation, i.e. HTML5, CSS, JavaScript and SVG, which means there are no plugins required.

You can watch Mike Bostock live at W3Conf: Practical Standards for Web Professionals on November 16th, 2011 or later as a video download.