Data Vis Dispatch,
January 11

The best of last week’s big and small data visualizations

Welcome back to the 28th edition of Data Vis Dispatch! Every week, we’ll be publishing a collection of the best small and large data visualizations we find, especially from news organizations — to celebrate data journalism, data visualization, simple charts, elaborate maps, and their creators.

Recurring topics this week include real estate, international conflict, and both kinds of football.

Two maps of international conflict stood out this week, especially this New York Times view of Russian deployments near the Ukrainian border:

The New York Times: How Russia’s Military Is Positioned to Threaten Ukraine, January 7
Neue Zürcher Zeitung: So wandeln sich die politischen Landkarten von Israel und Palästina, January 8

The NFL playoffs inspired several charts, including this map of quarterback networks from FiveThirtyEight:

FiveThirtyEight: The NFL Really Does Revolve Around Tom Brady, January 11
The New York Times: N.F.L. Playoff Picture: Mapping the Paths That Remain for Each Team, January 8
The Economist: The NFL’s greatest player is also its oldest, January 7

This chart of spiraling COVID cases caused some controversy on Twitter — but there’s no debating the fact that a new wave is here:

The New York Times: Here’s When We Expect Omicron to Peak, January 6
Telegraph: Omicron ‘tsunami’ as quarter of countries report record Covid infections, January 7
The New York Times: How to Think About Covid Data Right Now, January 7

Omicron spreads more rapidly than previous variants, but seems in many places to cause less severe disease:

The Economist: The case for updating covid-19 vaccines for the Omicron variant, January 7
The New York Times: Early Data Hints at Omicron’s Potential Toll Across America, January 9
The Washington Post: Four charts that analyze how omicron’s wave compares to previous coronavirus peaks, January 7
Neue Zürcher Zeitung: Wegen Omikron: Warum die Zahl der Covid-19-Patienten irreführend ist, January 5
El País: Pruebas de antígenos con ómicron: cuándo son más fiables, cómo interpretarlas y cuándo sospechar de un falso negativo, January 6

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen COVID’s effect on unexpected parts of life. These two charts found changes in Github usage and elite soccer:

The San Francisco Chronicle: How did the pandemic change work schedules? Here’s what Github data tells us, January 6
The Economist: For elite footballers, the effects of covid-19 linger for months, January 8

This week’s round of New Year’s retrospectives emphasized the changing climate:

The New York Times: A Vivid View of Extreme Weather: Temperature Records in the U.S. in 2021, January 11
Financial Times: Food prices remain high into 2022 on shortages due to extreme weather, January 8
The Washington Post: Where lightning hit the most in the U.S. in 2021, January 8

Finally, other visualizations included historical bar charts on slavery and nuclear power; a look at real estate in the U.S. and China; and a network of fossils and fossil-hunters:

The Washington Post: More than 1,700 congressmen once enslaved Black people. This is who they were, and how they shaped the nation, January 10
SBS News: 원전이 친환경이라는 EU 어떻게 생각해?, January 6
Bloomberg: Wall Street Is Using Tech Firms Like Zillow to Eat Up Starter Homes, January 7
Financial Times: Shimao’s debt woes deepen concerns over cash crunch in Chinese property, January 7
Our World in Data: The history of the end of poverty has just begun, January 11
The Washington Post: Judges have declined U.S.-proposed sentences in two-thirds of Jan. 6 cases so far, January 6
The Economist: The tricky relationship between palaeontology and poor countries, January 8

What else we found interesting

Project Klamath/Herald and News: Two basins in 2050, January 5
Nightingale: Information Graphics in Action: Russian Agitational Postcards 1900–1960, January 6
The Washington Post: Play mini golf to see how politicians tilt elections using maps, January 10
The Economist: The year as told through illustration, January 6
Süddeutsche Zeitung: Anatomie eines Killers, January 7
Mike Bostock: “Time to extend the scale domain on the COVID bubble map,” January 5 (Tweet)

Help us make this dispatch better! We’d love to hear which newsletters, blogs, or social media accounts we need to follow to learn about interesting projects, especially from less-covered parts of the world (Asia, South America, Africa). Write us at or leave a comment below.