Thursday, June 6, 2019

The language of visualization is ever-expanding

Visualization is based on a vocabulary and a grammar that make it flexible and enable the endless creation of new graphic forms or novel and creative uses of existing ones; to see what I mean, see Maarten Lambrechts's Xenographics catalogue.

The graphic below, which appears in a story about how extreme rains have affected the Corn Beltbelongs to the latter group. It's a grid of time-series graphs revealing that the cumulative percentage of acres planted per state this year (black lines) is lower than previous years' (yellow lines); at the same time, it's also a cartogram, as graphs are positioned corresponding to their geographical location, and their size is proportional to the number of acres predicted to be planted in 2019. Tim Meko, one of the authors of the piece, calls this a “corntogram”:

The cartogram is paired with several other visualizations, including an actual map of the region: