Data Vis Dispatch,
September 7

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

Welcome back to the 12th 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 COVID-19 hospitalizations and vaccinations, the rainfall records broken by Ida in the U.S., and the German elections:

First, COVID-19. In the past week, we got a frightening new estimation of excess deaths in the past two years, higher-than-ever hospitalization numbers in some U.S. states, and 350,000 unreported vaccinations in Germany:

The Economist: The pandemic’s true death toll: Our daily estimate of excess deaths around the world, September 2
Financial Times: Delta surge is test for US schools as classrooms reopen, September 6
El País: In just eight months, Spain hits target of fully vaccinating 70% of population, September 1
The Economist: America has remained unusually vaccine sceptical, September 6
El Periódico: ¿Por qué es engañoso seguir hablando de inmunidad de grupo (o de rebaño)?, September 2 (Tweet)
Le Temps: En Suisse, on n’observe pas (encore) de baisse de l’immunité chez les vaccinés, September 6
Der Spiegel: Mehr als 350.000 Impfungen wurden nicht gemeldet, September 5

…and we got more insights into how society and businesses continued to adjust to the pandemic:

Nathan Yau: How Much More Time We Spent at Home, September 3
Bloomberg: Warren, Sanders Target Firms That Pay CEOs Way More Than Workers, September 3
Financial Times: Amazon ‘roll-up’ businesses raise billions in fight for ascendancy, September 3

The week was also full of climate and weather visualizations. After Hurricane Ida passed Louisiana — leading to devastation and power outages — it moved north and broke new records: 

NASA Earth: Satellite Observes Power Outages in New Orleans, September 2 (Left: Nighttime lights on August 9, Right: August 31)
CNN: What a hurricane means when you live in Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley’, September 6
NASA Earth: Flash Floods from Ida Swamp the Northeast, September 3
Neue Zürcher Zeitung: “#Hurricane_Ida: Diese Animation von @adinarenner zeigt eindrücklich, wie die Regenschauer von #NewOrleans nach #NewYorkCity wanderten.”, September 2
NBC News: Map: Here’s how much rain Ida dumped on the Northeast, September 3
The Wall Street Journal: Flooding, Record Rainfall Mapped Along Ida’s Path, September 2
The New York Times: New Yorkers Got Record Rain, and a Warning: Storms Are Packing More Punch, September 2
Reuters: Torrential rains, September 2

Journalists visualized how Ida compared to hurricanes before:

The Washington Post: Wind ‘fingerprints’ show how Ida was different from Katrina, August 31
Le Monde: Après le passage de la tempête Ida, suivez celui de 300 tempêtes tropicales et ouragans dans l’Atlantique Nord depuis 2000, September 3
Financial Times: Economic losses from extreme weather hit $3.6tn over five decades, September 3

In other parts of the U.S., the fires continue, making journalists ask: Is this the new normal? How does (or will) the climate catastrophe affect our lives?

The New York Times: Caldor Fire’s March to the Edge of South Lake Tahoe, September 5
The Washington Post: Nearly 1 in 3 Americans experienced a weather disaster this summer, September 4
ZEIT Online: Klimawandel in Deutschland: Im Schwitzkasten, September 1
Bloomberg: Killer Heat Forces Cities to Adapt Now or Suffer, August 31

To understand and communicate climate change, researchers, journalists, and designers are always finding new ways of visualizing it. A new book collects these visualizations — while Ed Hawkins (inventor of the warming stripes) tries to bring all climate indicators together in one chart:

The Guardian: Atlas of the Invisible: using data to map the climate crisis, September 1 (image from Atlas of the Invisible by geographer James Cheshire and designer Oliver Uberti)
Ed Hawkins: Climate indicators, September 2

And we’re not done yet with environmental problems: Wildlife is losing its habitat. To save animal species, we must improve crop yields, writes Hannah Ritchie from Our World in Data:

AFP: The shrinking territory of big cats worldwide, September 3
Our World in Data: To protect the world’s wildlife we must improve crop yields – especially across Africa, September 2

Other journalists are trying to find out: What happened in Afghanistan at the end of August? And what will happen now?

USA Today: Kabul airlift, visualized: In 16 days, massive planes moved enough evacuees to fill a small city, September 4
The New York Times: Covert Evacuations and Planned Demolitions: How the C.I.A. Left Its Last Base in Afghanistan, September 1
Al Jazeera: “They left us so helpless, we didn’t know what to do.”, September 2

And with the 20th anniversary of 9/11 attacks around the corner, the first newsrooms have published articles that explore how this event changed New York City and U.S. politics. We can expect more of that this and next week.

The Wall Street Journal: How the 9/11 Attacks Remade New York City’s Financial District, September 1
Pew Research: Two Decades Later, the Enduring Legacy of 9/11, September 2

U.S. newsrooms were also busy visualizing the effect of changing policies — rental aid, unemployment benefits, pollution regulations, abortion laws, and more:

Bloomberg: States Dole Out Cash to College Kids, Theaters in $200 Billion ‘Experiment’, September 3
The Washington Post: With evictions expected to mount, access to rental aid remains uneven, September 2
The Washington Post: Millions in U.S. lose jobless benefits as federal aid expires, thrusting families and economy onto uncertain path, September 5
The Economist: Poorly devised regulation lets firms pollute with abandon, September 4
The Washington Post: What abortion policy would look like in the U.S. if Roe v. Wade fell, September 2

When looking at other visualizations about politics (and missing policies), this map, the front page of The Globe and Mail, stands out:

The Globe and Mail: Front page, September 4 (Tweet by James Griffiths: “Powerful ⁦@globeandmail front page today as Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor mark 1,000 days in Chinese detention”)
The Guardian: Labour councils house eight times as many asylum seekers as Tory areas, analysis finds, September 3
AFP: The US opioid crisis in one chart, September 2

Other charts created by data vis designers this week were about tech, movies, and sports:

The New York Times: Bitcoin Uses More Electricity Than Many Countries. How Is That Possible?, September 3 (Tweet)
The Times: No Time to Die: Daniel Craig has a view to box office killing, September 4
The Washington Post: Shang-Chi and the fight against yellow peril, September 3
The Wall Street Journal: College Football’s 2021 Grid of Shame: How bad should you feel about how good your football team is?, September 3

And last but not least: Polls for the German federal election on September 26 continue to show all kinds of crazy possible election results. German newsrooms looked at campaign promises and election candidates:

What else we found interesting

Jason Forrest: “This article on massive cattle farms [in the Fortune Magazine from December 1933] has some amazing maps. Completely vivid and exotically detailed… The lettering and icons are wonderful, each detail adds opt-in information despite not needing to do so.” (Tweet)
Yvette Cendes: “I’ve been cross stitching the daily high temperatures in the Boston area this year, and heard you all might like to see what I have so far!,” September 3 (Reddit, Tweet)
にゃんこそば: “日本国内で「人が住んでいるところ」を光らせてみた。” [I tried to visualize ‘where people live’ in Japan.], September 3 (Tweet)
William Mapan: “Tangible components — End of the mini series, where I wanted to explore more physical painting driven by procedural sketches and anchor it in the real world through stop motion,” September 4 (Tweet)
The New York Times: The Surfside Condo Was Flawed and Failing. Here’s a Look Inside, September 1
Global Initiative, Resilience Fund, Kontinentalist: A place called disappeared, September 1
  • The Dutch data vis conference S-H-O-W is happening on November 10 and 11 under the theme “ENCORE” and with great speakers. You can follow along online. Get your ticket here.

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