Data Vis Dispatch, March 15

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

Welcome back to the 36th edition of Data Vis Dispatch! Every week (except last week, because we celebrated International Women’s Day in Berlin), we publish 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 the Russia-Ukraine war and the rising COVID cases in China and Hong Kong.

The war in Ukraine is in its third week. Many news sites are still updating the map collections and live blogs that we listened in the last Dispatch. Here are a few new visualizations:

El Mundo: Mapas: la invasión de Putin a Ucrania, explicada día a día, March 9
Reuters: Weapons of the war in Ukraine, March 10
El País: Los mapas de la guerra en Ucrania: la ofensiva rusa hasta el 13 de marzo, March 13
The Economist: Russia’s armed forces are suffering substantial losses in Ukraine, March 14
Metaculus: Kyiv to fall to Russian forces by April 2022?, March 15
netgeekmillenium: Ukraine is burning: CO emissions by NASA GEOS-5 system, March 14
The New York Times: From small towns to large cities, the extent of Russia’s aerial bombardment of Ukraine, March 12
OCHA/HDX: Ukraine Data Explorer, March 15

And while the war still goes on, people still try to get away from it. The high number of refugees who have left the country in such a short time is unprecedented, as reporters at The Times visualize. Within Ukraine, civilians try to leave occupied cities:

The Times: Ukraine refugee crisis explained in maps and charts, March 12
Bloomberg: A Visual Guide to the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, March 9
Rocío Márquez (El Confidencial): “Los corredores de evacuación de civiles a lugares seguros en #Ucrania se han actualizado hoy,” March 11 (Tweet, link)

How should the EU and countries worldwide deal with Russia? The high dependence on Russian oil and gas doesn’t help…

The New Statesman: How EU payments for Russian gas have soared since the invasion of Ukraine, March 10
Europe Beyond Coal: How much money from the EU is being spent on Russian coal, oil, and gas since the Kremlin’s war on Ukraine began on February 24?, March 15
Financial Times: What does banning Russian oil mean for global energy markets?, March 9

…but the consequences of the war for Russia are enormous. Sanctions are in place, and lots of companies stopped operations in Russia too:

The New York Times: Boycotts, Not Bombs: Sanctions Are a Go-To Tactic, With Uneven Results, March 11
Reuters: Tracking sanctions against Russia, March 9
The Economist: Which Western companies are leaving Russia?, March 10
The Economist: The war in Ukraine has made Russian social-media users glum, March 12
Bloomberg: Russia Inc.’s Swiss Trading Hub Wrestles With ‘Dark Side’, March 11
Le Monde: La démographie, l’autre front russe, March 13
Bloomberg: Siberian ‘Detour’ Forces Airlines to Retrace Cold War Era Routes, March 12

Articles also debated military spending and transfers:

Financial Times: War in Ukraine: will the Baltics become the ‘new West Berlin’?, March 9
Le Monde: Guerre en Ukraine : l’OTAN muscle ses positions sur le flanc est de l’Europe, March 9

We’ve also seen quite a few COVID visualizations this week, thanks to both bad and good news. Some Asian countries like South Korea and Hong Kong have been seeing record numbers of cases and deaths. On the other side of the planet, in England, COVID became as lethal as the flu:

Bloomberg: China’s Covid Lockdowns Could Threaten Half of Economy, March 14
Financial Times: Hong Kong Omicron deaths expose limits of fraying zero-Covid policy, March 14
The Washington Post: Pandemic life, two years later: Where do you fit in?, March 10
Financial Times: Vaccines and Omicron mean Covid now less deadly than flu in England, March 10

When it comes to politics, the stand-out event last week was the South Korean presidential election. Don’t miss the link to the animated election graphics at the very bottom of this Dispatch!

Reddit user a08a08: 2022 South Korean presidential election detailed results, March 14
SBS News: [마부작침] 한눈에 보는 20대 대선 시·군·구별 득표율 차이 (“Voting differences by city, county and district in the 20th presidential election at a glance”), March 10
The New York Times: A Potential Rarity in American Politics: A Fair Congressional Map, March 10
San Francisco Chronicle: Lowell was key to S.F.’s school board recall, according to one professor’s data analysis, March 11
The Washington Post: The hidden billion-dollar cost of repeated police misconduct, March 9

Graphics reporters were also busy visualizing inequalities in the past week — thanks to International Women’s Day and the release of a new study on the connection between historical racist policies and present-day air pollution, among others.

Cédric Scherer: “🤷‍♀️💁‍♂️The Pay Gap in European Countries #InternationalWomensDay / 📢 New #DataViz on the gender pay gap in #Europe reported by @EU_Eurostat. Latvia + Croatia with step drops, Germany, France + Austria all below EU average in 2020. Luxembourg almost 0% 🎖️,” March 8 (Tweet)
Bloomberg: Wells Fargo Rejected Half Its Black Applicants in Mortgage Refinancing Boom, March 11
The New York Times: How Air Pollution Across America Reflects Racist Policy From the 1930s, March 9
The Washington Post; Redlining means 45 million Americans are breathing dirtier air, 50 years after it ended, March 9
Le Monde: La pénurie de généralistes, symptôme de la progression des « déserts médicaux » en ville comme à la campagne, March 14
NPR: Nurses are waiting months for licenses as hospital staffing shortages spread, March 10

In our “the last but definitely not least exciting visualizations” category, you’ll find a sunken ship, inflation, music students, Wordle analytics, stats on siblings, and more:

SBS News: [마부작침] 반복되는 대형 산불, 무엇 때문일까? (“What is the cause of repeated large-scale wildfires?”), March 11
Bloomberg: China Canceled H&M. Every Other Brand Needs to Understand Why, March 14
National Geographic: Shackleton’s legendary ship is finally found off the Antarctic Coast, a century later, March 9
The Economist: Progress to eradicate global hunger is stalling, March 9
Bloomberg: These are Netflix’s Most Popular Shows (According to Netflix), March 13
The New York Times: Americans Say High Prices Are Hitting the Things They Need to Get By, March 9
El Confidencial: La carrera que se empieza con ocho años y nadie termina: “Si no tienes vocación, no merece la pena”, March 13
Tobias Stalder: “I had fun this weekend in #Rstats with #rayshader & #ggplot2 together with #QGIS and #inkscape. Here is my very first 3D #DataVisualization 🥳 Code for maps in comments. Thanks @tylermorganwall for troubleshooting. Data from @swisstopo,” March 13 (Tweet)
Robert Lesser: Wordle, 15 Million Tweets Later, March 8
The New Yorker: New York’s Shadow Transit, March 12
Nathan Yau: Oldest, Youngest, and Middle Children, in Differently Sized U.S. Households, March 9

What else we found interesting

David Rumsey: “The 1970 National Atlas of the United States was the last and greatest major paper atlas issued by the US Government. 770 maps and 18 charts. This huge endeavor produced beautiful maps and data visualizations covering almost every aspect of American life,” March 13 (Tweet, link)
The New York Times: Manhattan’s Chinese Street Signs Are Disappearing, March 11
Reuters: Built to win. The adaptive sports tools powering the 2022 Winter Paralympics, March 11
Visual Capitalist: Which Countries Feature Women on Banknotes?, March 8
Andrew Peng: “SOUTH KOREAN ELECTION GRAPHICS ARE NEXT LEVEL,” March 9 (Twitter thread)

Applications are open for a Digital Story Designer at SPIEGEL.

And: The Society of News Design announced their winners on March 11. Find them all on their Twitter account.

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.