Reading a Picture

Visual storytelling

Visualising data helps understanding facts.
Sometimes it’s very easy to understand a graph; sometimes it’s necessary to read it and to study it to discover unknown territory.

Such graphs are little masterpieces. Here’s one of these and I am sure the authors had more than one iteration and discussion while creating it.
The graph tells the story of the average disposable income and savings of households in Switzerland, published by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office FSO.

snip_disposable-income2

The authors kindly give a short explanation:

How to read this graph.
In one-person households aged 64 or under, the upper-income group has a disposable income of CHF 8487 per month and savings of CHF 2758 per month. Representing 4.0% of all households, this income group corresponds to a fifth of one-person households aged 64 or under (20.1%)

There’s another nice graph, a little bit less elaborated, also explained by the authors:

snip-povertyrates

Statistics ♥

But there’s one thing that is not explained:

snip_poverty-cithe confidence interval!

‘A confidence interval gives an estimated range of values which is likely to include an unknown population parameter, the estimated range being calculated from a given set of sample data,‘ and the above poverty data are from a sample of ‘approximately 7000 households, i.e. more than 17,000 persons who are randomly selected…’.
Or:
The confidence intervals for the mean give us a range of values around the mean where we expect the “true” (population) mean is located (with a given level of certainty, see also Elementary Concepts). ….. as we all know from the weather forecast, the more “vague” the prediction (i.e., wider the confidence interval), the more likely it will materialize. Note that the width of the confidence interval depends on the sample size and on the variation of data values…..’

Khan Academy gives lectures about topics like confidence intervals, sampling, etc.

snip_20161129160845.

Which one ?

The above graphs use just one of multiple possibilities for visualising data.

snip_graph-catalogue

Severino Ribecca’s Data Visualisation Catalogue is one of many websites trying to give an overview. And there’s the risk to get lost in these compilations.

snip_swimring                            © listverse.com
Advertisements

Visual first – Visual.ONS

Visual representations of statistical data are attractive – and worth to build an own website with nothing but (info)graphs and maps … and more behind it!

ONS did it:

2015-04-25_VisualONS-livng

‘The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is the UK’s largest independent producer of official statistics and is the recognised national statistical institute for the UK. Visual.ONS is a website exploring new approaches to making ONS statistics accessible and relevant to a wide public audience. The site supports the UK Statistic Authority’s publicly stated intention of “making data, statistics and analysis more accessible, engaging and easier to understand”.
The site will be a home to a variety of different content, including infographics, interactive visualisations and short analysis, exploring data from a range of ONS outputs. It is neither a replacement nor a rebuild of the current ONS website which continues to be the home of ONS’ regular outputs and statistics.’

So far the statement of ONS.

.

More than pictures

Behind the graphs you can find lots of interactive tools.
A calculator to find out life expectancy is one example:

2015-04-25_lvecalclator

Great! And the graphs and interactive tools can be embedded into other websites.

100 Years

Comparing statistical visualizations over a period of 100 years is quite rare. The newly published Atlas of the Swiss Federal Statistical Office offers just this possibility.

1914

100 years ago Statistics Switzerland published a Graphic-Statistical Atlas. It was a wonderful visualization of dozens of topics and developments. All the diagrams and maps were hand-made and of superb quality.

Atlas1914

2015

In order to honor this great work, Statistics Switzerland did it again. A facsimile of the old Atlas is now accompanied by quite the same diagrams and maps but filled wth data from our century. With this technique, a visual overview of changes during the last century becomes possible and gives fascinating insights.

Atlas2014mak

The Atlas is available in Geman and French at http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/de/index/news/publikationen.html?publicationID=6327

Accidents

1901-1910 original visualization

Atlasunfaelle1900.

2001-2010 updated visualization

atlasunfaelle2000.

Births

1901-1910 original visualization

Atlasgeburten1900.

2001-2010 updated visualization

Atlasgeburten2000

The Visualisation Universe

Diagrams, maps, infographs allow fast insights in sometimes complex data.

There are myriads of visualisation sites .. and some aggregators to be mentioned. Here are some of my favourites (yours?):

World Bank’s visualisations specialize in poverty:

.

Every week owni.fr

gives fascinating examples of visualisations, in French and other languages:

 

 

.

And not to forget Pinterest

where The Next Web curates an infographic selection:

.

And this: blogstats published 205 visualisation posts since September 17, 2006,

mostly focused on statistics (no guarantee that all the links still work ;-).

 

Pinfographics

Infographics are kind of cartoons: eyecatching, telling stories … . Combining  visualisations with textual explications infographics are an interesting thing, unfortunately rarely used in official statistics.

There are good ones and poor ones. In Pinterest there is a big collection of infographics to be explored – put together by The Next Web.

.

Pinterest (‘Organize and share things you love’) is an online pinboard. For images only! And it’s ‘social media’s rising star’ (Mashable).

.

Clicking a pinned infographic you will get the bigger picture and a link to the original source.

.

.

And perhaps infographics become more popular in the media’s story telling. A sign: The new offer for journalists – infogr.am – provides not only a tool for charts (still quite poor design) but also a tool  for infographics (to come).

.

iPad Atlas

iPad got a new interactive atlas today! It’s the iStat@las provided by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office FSO. This Statistical Atlas of Switzerland gives an  overview of captivating regional issues covering a lot of themes. A user-friendly interactive interface lets discover spatial disparities and relationships, down to the level of Swiss municipalities. Available in German and French.

Whoever does not own an iPad here’s the Flash based online atlas on Statistic Switzerland’s website.

Statistical Storytelling Revisited

Since its emergence in the 19th century, the continuous publication of results has been an important activity of official statistics. This publication activity, as well as its conditions, objectives and forms have been debated time and again in official statistics’ community.

About 10 years ago, one theme in particular came to the forefront of discussions: storytelling and its role in the dissemination and communication of statistics. Storytelling is a programme to make the results of official statistics accessible and understandable to people and – in fulfilment of an information mandate – to make “evidence based decision making” possible.

Looking back, it becomes apparent that storytelling meant, and still means, many different things to statisticians. The goal is largely undisputed, but the implementation varies widely and is influenced by developments in the media sector.

Where are we today? What and where is the potential of the storytelling approach in the world of the social and semantic web?

The goal of the following paper is to make an inventory of what storytelling comprises,what role storytelling plays within the framework of official statistics and which challenges official statistics face in view of the rapidly changing media environment.
This paper is the contribution of the author to the International Marketing and Output Database Conference IMAODBC 2010 in Vilnius.


Storytelling Revisited