Category Archives: InfoVis

InfoVis – Cities, Satellites, Suns, Temperature and… Tennis

This is going to be my last post of this kind featuring a random selection of information visualisation and infographics.

I have been choosing items to post on the basis of whether they looked good or the data they showed was interesting. While on a personal level I am interested in all sorts of random pieces of knowledge, on professional level what I am interested is the way in which the information is presented, espcially interactively.

From now on I am going to post only interactive infovis. That is, information visualisation, hopefully innovative, not just some well designed (or in some cases not) graphic.

But before I do that I thought I would still post the final pieces of generic infovis that I had bookmarked

Cities that were at one point the largest in the world

Just about 20 billion suns

Just about 20 Billion suns.

Every active satellite orbiting earth

This interactive shows more than 1,300 and gives details of each including name, purpose, launch date, country of origin and orbital distance.



A simple explanation

A visual history of women’s tennis

Several graphs comparing the women’s number one players.



InfoVis – More world data

Population Pyramids of the World 1950-2100

An interactive where you choose or cycle through the years and the pyramid will animate from one to the other,

population pyramid

World population distribution by latitude and longitude 2015


Most common last names by country

Possibly this should be “surname” not last name.

Religion in Europe

Percentage of population in each European country that believes in God, or “something”, or atheist.

InfoVis – World data

Are You Really Tall?

An graph where you can enter your birth date, country of birth and gender to compare your height with similar people. Am I really tall? According to this graph: yes.


Olympics 2016: Some key numbers

You can choose how to measure which country actual won the Olympics (and all the subsequent ranks) by number of competitors, medals, participation, efficiency and talent. The example here shows the number of gold medals each nation has won per 100 competitors they sent. By this count Tajikistan won.


Animated population pyramids

Showing the age distribution of eight countries from 1990-2050.

Six World Maps

All the World’s Immigration Visualized in 1 Map

This animated map is zoomable, and individual countries can be selected to see migration to and from that country.


Ship Map

This site has an intro video outlining the importance of the world shipping. The interactive map is zoomable by geography and date, showing the shipping activity throughout the world.


Age of Consent by Country

A flat map showing just that. Ages range between 12 to 21.


Suicide death rate by country

A map with limited interactivity showing suicide rates in four categories ranging from low to high, plus a table with the data.


Why the former USSR has far fewer men than women

A flat map and article outlining the gender disparity throughout the world. Interestingly, through the visualisation you can see the male bias through North Africa, Middle East and Asia.


Projecting Land

An animated interactive where you can choose various projections of the world map and alter the parameter for some very interesting shapes.



I must admit that I (wrongly) use the terms Infographic and InfoVis interchangeably. They are different and it’s InfoVis that I am really keen about. That doesn’t mean I don’t like the odd Infographic.

So what’s the difference?

InfoVis or Information Visualisation is a way of representing a data set, usually created by a program, that helps to analyse the data, possibly by representing it in new ways. It is inherently scientific and it can be possible to use the same representation with a new dataset. Good infovis can be revolutionary in the way that data is interpreted.

Infographics are really just an exercise in graphic design. It’s a way of taking a specific set of data and making it look pretty. Usually infographics are bespoke and a new set of data would require a different infographic. Infographics are favoured by news outlets as they look good and give the impression of data analysis. It is possible they help the viewer to better understand the point they are trying to convey. Although frequently the design can be misleading.

Data in an infographic is pre-interpreted. Data in infovis is there for your interpretation. On the web infographics are always just flat images, whereas infovis is often interactive.

Having said all of that here are some infographics that I found recently.


All the money in the world, in one chart. That’s (possibly) more than $1.6 quadrillion. I’ll repeat that: 1,600,000,000,000 dollars.



The world recently reached 7 billion people in the world. On this page you can see every single one of us. One by one.



An infographics of 500 of the exoplanets that have currently been discovered.



An infographic of what happens at absolute zero (-273 degree Celsius) all the way up to absolute hot (1.42 decillion degrees Celsius).


InfoVis – Crops, Life span, Godzilla & the Olympics

Where our food crops come from

This website has three interactive elements tracing the origins of the food we eat. The first is map showing what areas of the world contributed to our modern diet. Apparently Australia’s only contribution was the macadamia nut

The second and third elements are interactive circular plots showing the connections between areas of the world in diet and production.


Maximum Life Span

This webpage features a long diagram which is a table of the maximum recorded age of different animal classes and species.



A comparison of the sizes of Godzilla in various movies


Olympics logos

This is not really great information visualisation or information graphics. It’s just a list. But with the Rio Olympics currently being staged, it’s good to see all the logos of various Olympic Games listed together.


InfoVis – Urbanisation, Religion, Spanish spending

Two animated world maps, showing the spread of people throughout history, one through the spread of cities and one through the spread of religion.

The History of Urbanisation

3700 BC – 2000 AD, in an animated map.

The History of Religion

An animated map shows how religion spread around the world, 3000BC to present.

I have done a very rough summary of where this animation says we are at in the present day.


How do the Spanish spend their money?

This is an article from the Spanish newspaper El Pais (in Spanish). But there is an interactive pie chart which I found interesting.

The categories on the inner ring (in decreasing order) are: Housing, water, electricity and other fuel; Food and non-alcoholic drink; Transport; Hotels, cafes and restaurants; Other goods and services; Leisure, shows and culture; Clothes and footwear; Furniture, furnishings and housing maintenance; Health; Communications; Alcohol and tobacco; Education.

Spanish spending

Airbus vs Buckingham Palace

The other day I was watching a documentary about the Airbus A380. It stated that the Airbus was taller than Buckingham Palace. So I investigated further. I found that it is probably only a few inches taller than Buckingham Palace, both standing at 24 metres. But what about the other dimensions? The frontage of Buckingham Palace (the bit that the public can see) is 108m wide, whereas the A380 has a wingspan of 80m.

I put together a side by side comparison. Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms. The A380 typically seats 525 passengers, but has the potential for a maximum of 853.


InfoVis – Sex, music and the meaning of life

Sex, Income and Happiness

Several graphs and analysis showing the correlation (or not) between these three factors. More sex does make you happier.

sex vs happiness


Musicmap attempts to provide the ultimate genealogy of popular music genres, including their relations and history. It is a highly detailed, interactive graphic which shows all the interconnections between various genres of music. There are various links to click and when you zoom in (mouse wheel or zoom buttons) there is so much more detail. Each genre has it’s own slide-in description with examples.


Untangling the Air Traffic Network

This “map” is the result of the application of a force-directed layout algorithm on a graph of 3,275 airport. See the website for more details, and an animated gif where the map morphs between the force-directed and geographic layouts.

airports network

Watch How America Outspends Everyone on the Military

A video animation showing every countries’ military spending over the last 25 years.

military spending

How long would it take to read the terms of your smartphone apps?

If you have 33 apps installed on your smart phone (as the average Norwegians does) and decided to read all their terms and conditions, how long would that take? 31 hours, according to Norwegian researchers. They then printed them out and made this monster of a folder of reading. Follow this link for a break down of each app. iTunes was the longest at 193 minutes.


The next two are more information graphics rather than information visualisations.

The Meaning of Life

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Star Wars, Episode IV as an infographic

A very long infographic. 465152 pixels long to be precise.


InfoVis – Happiness, War, Immigration, Maps and Flowers

World Happiness vs World Income

This interactive allows you to swap between a world map of happiness and a world map of income. There is somewhat of a correlation between the two. Although Latin American seems happier with less money, and Eastern Europe seems less happy with more.

World Happiness vs World Income

21 Worst Atrocities in History

This interactive shows the worst death tolls throughout (and because of) human history. You can view the figures as absolute numbers or compared to 1950s figures.

21 worst atrocities

Peace and violence

Comparing the amount of people killed by war and murder to the people who weren’t, since 1 AD.

View post on

Two Centuries of US Immigration

This interactive shows where from and when immigrants went to the US. You can let it just play through the years or use the slider yourself.

US Immigration

Make your own custom map

Choose your map – 2 versions of the world, 4 regions, 7 countries to choose from. Then colour it up as you like. Here is a map of Europe that I did.

Map of Europe

Flowers: pretty and fashionably late

This is a link to a Wikipedia page. I’ve put this here, not because of it’s a particularly innovative piece of visualisation, but more for what it shows. I did not know (or had forgotten) that mammals have been around longer than flowers.

Evolutionary chart

InfoVis – from curse words to the cosmic web

More information visualisations. No real theme. Too many to mention in the title. I will also slot these into the categories contained in the InfoVis drop-down menu (top right of the desktop site).

Causes of death

This interactive graph shows the proportion of deaths of Americans at age of death. You can choose to see various division of the society by gender and race. It animates nicely between the various views.

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 14.46.02


These maps show the spread of slavery in the United States 1790-1870. Each map is accessed by rolling over the year. The maps are plotted by population density and not by the usual, and misleading, method of plotting by county.


Mars Facts

This is an info graphic (as opposed to an info visualisation) comparing Mars and Earth data.


World Map of Political Regimes 1816-2011

This interactive traces global changes in political regimes from 1816 to 2011. You can hit play to step through the years, or use the slider to go to a particular year.

I do question some of the assignations in this map. For example, New Zealand was a “full democracy” decades before the rest of the world (except Switzerland). Whereas France is not a “full democracy” today.

World Regimes

The Most Profane Artists in Hip-Hop

This is several interactive graphs showing the use of swear words in American hip hop. There is one graph showing who swears the most, with Salt-n-Pepa, Will Smith and (surprisingly) Run DMC right down the bottom. Another graph where you can select which swear word (all asterisked out) and by which region of the US.


Cosmic Web Visualisation

An interactive, and very atttractive, visualisation of the gravity web that exists at the macro scale of our universe between galaxies. You can drag the mouse on this page to rotate through the view, and use the mouse wheel to zoom.

Cosmic Web

A graphical comparison of earthquake energy release

A comparison of earthquakes, by Richter Scale, in a basic animation

Apple, Microsoft and IBM: a 20-year stock comparison in 60 seconds

This is an animation of a three-bar bar chart comparing three big tech companies.

Stock comparison

Options according to Yoda

A pie chart