Thread Closed 
Week 9: Drought Extends, Crops Wither
10-20-2014, 12:11 AM (This post was last modified: 10-20-2014 12:12 AM by mind.)
Post: #1
Week 9: Drought Extends, Crops Wither
The visualization is found in: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/...d=tw-share Below is a screenshot:

   

This visualization compares the crops situation under drought in 2012 with all the past years starting from 1986, particularly with the one in devastating 1988 drought. The set of visualization contains 6 subgraphs for 6 different kinds of crops: Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, Cotton, Sorghum and Pasture. The visual encodings for each subgraph is the same so I'll take the one for "Corn" as an example.

The subgraph contains two side-by-side views. They are Overview/Detail views because: 1) They have different visual encodings: left is a bar chart with the height standing for the percentage of corns whose conditions are "poor" or "very poor" - quantitive encoding; and right is a map showing the corn conditions in each position using different color luminance - geometry encoding. 2) They share a subset of data: left is an overview of the total percentage in each month of each year, while right shows detail information of the distribution in each area at a particular time. The two views also share navigation: when the mouse moves along the left figure, the numbers for the percentage and price above this figure change; in the mean time, the colors on the right figure also change, showing the crop size and location with drought condition at that time point.

This set of visualization is quite informative, with the overview/detail views, the interactivity, and also the text information above "1988" and "2012" bars for each left figure. On the left figure, the lighter color stands for the percentage of "poor" and the deeper color stands for "very poor". At first glance this may give the impression that the height of the lighter color is the percentage for "poor", which is about twice as much as "very poor", while in fact the difference of the heights between lighter and deeper color is that percentage. However in a second thought I think this is reasonable because the total amount of "poor" and "very poor" is what's more meaningful to be compared along the timeline, and besides, there are numbers for percentage above the figures if users are more interested in the difference.

Nevertheless, I do find that some places could be improved: 1) When user scrolls mouse along the timeline at left figure, the text above right figure is always "96 million acres planted, 2012", although the areas and locations on the map keep changing. I think it would be better if this line of text would change to how many acres planted at the year being selected along with the map changing. 2) The granularity on the left figure is per week, for example, the data for Jun. 2012 is Jun. 3, Jun. 10, Jun. 17, Jun. 24, with the numbers changing above this figure when mouse scrolling over; while the data for the right figure is per month, for example, if I scroll mouse along the different dates in Jun. 2012, the map on the right keeps the same and the figure title is always "Drought during June 2012". In my opinion, in this case, the granularity on the left figure should also be changed to per month, maybe by showing an average of the numbers within that month. Because it's really confusing: from May 27th, 2012 to Jun. 3rd, 2012, the numbers on the left figure is almost the same, only difference is "6.34/bu" and "6.37/bu", however the map changing from May 27th to Jun. 3rd is big enough; from Jul. 1 to Jul. 15, 2012, the numbers changing is big, but the map on the right stays the same. 3) What do those dark dots on the map stand for? I found nowhere in this visualization explaining that.

Overall, this is a visualization that effectively expresses the information it is designed for, though with a little deficiency which wouldn’t affect much of the idea this graph is trying to convey.
Find all posts by this user
10-26-2014, 11:20 PM
Post: #2
RE: Week 9: Drought Extends, Crops Wither
I do agree with you in everything you mentioned in your comment, however, I saw the some data been used in multiple places, which made the visualization a little weak, such as the date, also the multiple visuals under the corn, where I think all these could be one visualization.

If they all were in one big well done visualization it would help the user easily compare the results to come up with good conclusions. On the other hand, one thing I liked about the visualization is how fast it is, super smooth and full of information.
Find all posts by this user
10-26-2014, 11:33 PM
Post: #3
RE: Week 9: Drought Extends, Crops Wither
Many times with the map visualization of the united states, all you ever see is a map with and some dense data encoded as dots or color, smeared all over. Adding interactivity to a map graph is a very good idea, especially for information with a large amount of data.

The first think I notice about this data set is that the map is too small. I had to zoom in to be able to distinguish some of the boundaries between the colors used to encode drought. This brings up the second thing I noticed, this visualization uses colors that are far too similar. The eye has a hard time distinguishing relationships between non-neighboring colored sections. The designer likely wanted to use color that humans would associate with drought, however, this is a poor way to choose colors.

One of the things that I do like is that the designer didn't try and shove all the crops into one visualization. With that said, It would have been awesome if the user could rearrange the order of the visualizations as a means to compare.

Overall, I feel that this could have been a very successful visualization if it weren't for the color.
Find all posts by this user
10-27-2014, 11:39 AM
Post: #4
RE: Week 9: Drought Extends, Crops Wither
This visualization gives a detailed description of crops situation under drought in different years.Specifically,the crop condition under drought for 2012 is compared with previous years starting from 1988.All the information is presented in a very interactive manner.
Following are the pros and cons:

1)The entire information about crop condition under drought for different years is represented as a bar chart on the left where height standing for the percentage of corns whose conditions are "poor" or "very poor" - quantitive encoding.The color encoding is used to represent percentage of crops in poor condition and percentage of crops in very poor condition.
2)The same information is present on the right as a distribution of poor and very poor crops in different areas geographically.Color luminance is used to represent the distribution.This is called geometry encoding.
3)The two views share navigation also.That is as we move mouse on any bar chart on the left figure,we can see the statistics corresponding to that bar chart popped up and in the meantime ,the colors in the right figure also changes to show the geographical area and percentage of crop condition for that particular year.

Cons:
1)When user scrolls mouse along the timeline at left figure, the text above right figure is always "96 million acres planted, 2012".It should change to whatever be the statistics for that particular year.
2)The granularity for the data presentation for the left and right visualization is different.For the left figure it is in per week whereas on right figure it is in per month.
3)The dark points on the right visualization are not explained.

Overall the entire visualization was very interactive and served the purpose of the topic.
Find all posts by this user
10-27-2014, 01:54 PM
Post: #5
RE: Week 9: Drought Extends, Crops Wither
I do agree with your analysis of the visualization. I like the use of small multiples to show the different types of crops. The roll over interaction that updates the map view is good to show the detail of the progression of the drought. I also agree that I wish there was a better way to be able to compare the drought progression between two crops or all of the crops. The visualization is good for analysis of individual crops but it does not allow the ability to make effective comparisons or a summary of all of the data.
Find all posts by this user
10-27-2014, 02:42 PM
Post: #6
RE: Week 9: Drought Extends, Crops Wither
The analysis of visualization is totally agreeable. Visualizing data over a map along with the interactivity makes it a good visualization. The left part of the visualization has the bar graphs depicting the data for each week. Such lean bar graphs makes it difficult to hover the mouse over the bar that you are interested in.

I was also very curious about those dark dots on the map
Find all posts by this user
10-28-2014, 04:05 PM
Post: #7
RE: Week 9: Drought Extends, Crops Wither
I thought mind did a really good critique. I particularly agree that the maps on the right were too static and invariant with the mouse hovering on the left figures, and that the black dots on the right maps were very mysterious. I would also have liked to see some sort of summary tab or figure for combined crop statistics. Finally, I saw no visualization whatsoever for the price and yield figures - these were listed numerically on a user mouse-over, but it would have been nice to see a visual encoding as well.
Find all posts by this user
Thread Closed 


Forum Jump:


User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)