A Depressingly Good Plot August 17, 2009Posted by gordonwatts in computers.
Long time readers of this blog will known that I love graphics – and think we need to use visual data representation better in particle physics than we currently do (heck, one of the main reasons I started working with DeepTalk). A friend of mine here in Marseille pointed out this fantastic one from Slate:
What you are looking at is a static version of the real thing. Seriously, go to the article, and click on the green play button. I’ll wait. You’ll be depressed. You might recognize maps like this from the election. Each box is every single county in the USA. Here the blue circles represent the # of jobs gained each month. The red ones the # lost. And the size of the circle is proportional to the actual number. As you might imagine as the animation makes it way into 2008/2009 the map turns rather red.
There is a lot of data being shown here. But in about 20 seconds you can get a good idea of what is happening to the US job market in the last 2.5 years. So, while a depressing plot, what a great way to show the time evolution data! It has very high information density.
In particle physics most of our plots are static and simple histograms – very low information density. The problem is making high density plots like this is very work intensive. And we’d need the tools do do it quickly. Do such tool kits exist?