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WEEK 12: Earthquake hazard map of the Unite States
11-11-2014, 10:39 AM
Post: #1
Bug WEEK 12: Earthquake hazard map of the Unite States
[Image: BRESSAN_GIS_North_America.jpg]

And here is the link of the associated article.
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/hist...key-times/

This is a traditional visualization that you've seen in many scientific papers and scientific magazines. Unlike these fancy vis made by professional designers, this is an example of what real-world scientists made to represent their research. Therefore, it's worth to study it since maybe we will generate a similar one in the future.

Overall, this vis shows the locations of historic earthquakes and the earthquake hazards zone with different risk levels of the United States. It did a basic job but there are lots can be improved.

First of all, the labels and legends of the earthquakes are poorly designed. According to the legends, red dots means historic earthquakes, black dots means earthquakes, but earthquakes since when? happening right now? the legend didn't make sense. Moreover, the years of historic earthquakes were displayed beside the dots, but some of them are overlaid, some of them are hard to tell which dots they are representing.

Secondly, transparent legend and shaded zones are not good choices. In this map, the first-order colors are used to represent the topography, which is a surprise for me. Then the designer used transparent shaded zones to represent the risk zones, which is very hard to tell from this map. Moreover, since the risk of earthquakes is low, medium and high, it should be considered as sequential data. So when we encode sequential data with colors, we should use color lightness or darkness instead of color hue.

Overall, it's not a good design of a map.
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11-13-2014, 11:11 AM
Post: #2
RE: WEEK 12: Earthquake hazard map of the Unite States
I agree with you that this visualization can be improved in many ways. The biggest problem I see from this is that it's hard to identify what year corresponds to what dot. To reduce confusions a year could be displayed when a viewer would hovers over a dot. However, I don't agree with you that transparent legend is not a good choice. As long as it doesn't hinder how the data is presented, a legend can be displayed anywhere, for this visualization on top of a non-target area, which I think is good for saving space. We're not talking about Canada's earthquakes.

Also, I don't see why the map highlights Appalachian Mountains and excludes all the other. Also, I don't get what they mean by Historic earthquake. What makes an earthquake historic? At least 100 years old? This visualization is not very intuitive in those areas. I think this type of visualization is what scientists should avoid and get over with, and they need move over to more interactive/intuitive data visualization.



(11-11-2014 10:39 AM)yaoyao Wrote:  [Image: BRESSAN_GIS_North_America.jpg]

And here is the link of the associated article.
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/hist...key-times/

This is a traditional visualization that you've seen in many scientific papers and scientific magazines. Unlike these fancy vis made by professional designers, this is an example of what real-world scientists made to represent their research. Therefore, it's worth to study it since maybe we will generate a similar one in the future.

Overall, this vis shows the locations of historic earthquakes and the earthquake hazards zone with different risk levels of the United States. It did a basic job but there are lots can be improved.

First of all, the labels and legends of the earthquakes are poorly designed. According to the legends, red dots means historic earthquakes, black dots means earthquakes, but earthquakes since when? happening right now? the legend didn't make sense. Moreover, the years of historic earthquakes were displayed beside the dots, but some of them are overlaid, some of them are hard to tell which dots they are representing.

Secondly, transparent legend and shaded zones are not good choices. In this map, the first-order colors are used to represent the topography, which is a surprise for me. Then the designer used transparent shaded zones to represent the risk zones, which is very hard to tell from this map. Moreover, since the risk of earthquakes is low, medium and high, it should be considered as sequential data. So when we encode sequential data with colors, we should use color lightness or darkness instead of color hue.

Overall, it's not a good design of a map.
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11-13-2014, 08:40 PM
Post: #3
RE: WEEK 12: Earthquake hazard map of the Unite States
The color encoding used should be improved as the colors currently used are not color blindness neutral. It uses red,green and yellow which could make it difficult for people with color blindness.


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11-16-2014, 09:46 AM
Post: #4
RE: WEEK 12: Earthquake hazard map of the Unite States
I would agree with most our your critique. The colors are not the best choice in this map. I feel that they were tying to show the geography of the land while still showing the important data that they were trying to portray. The legend is hard to tell what the colors are trying to represent. The labeling is also an issue. You really can't tell what the earthquakes are. The article might shed some light on this however. I would say that the legend does need more information about the earthquakes encoded in black. I would disagree about the risk areas needing a sequential coloring. I think that the higher risk should be closer to a red then the less risk areas should be more neutral or calm colors like blue. This would suggest the urgency to be aware of the earthquakes. This is what I feel the author has tried to do. They should have done a different method to blend the geography and the risk zones because it is hard to tell where those zones are.
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11-16-2014, 12:17 PM
Post: #5
RE: WEEK 12: Earthquake hazard map of the Unite States
This is indeed a very weird and poorly thought out visualization. The fact that the legend is transparent is a bad design choice and it appears to me that the "no data" block actually has two different colors underneath it making it hard to tell what color is "no data." Beyond that the choices of "earthquakes" and "historical earthquakes" is confusing. Are historical earthquakes ones like the 1906 earthquake or just ones in the past, which then makes me wonder if that's the case when are the black circle earthquakes happening? The inclusion of topographical data in the colored zones also makes it hard to distinguish if it represents a mountain or a higher/lower risk of earth quakes.
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11-16-2014, 06:52 PM
Post: #6
RE: WEEK 12: Earthquake hazard map of the Unite States
I agree with all the critiques of yaoyao.

Here are some of that could have made the visualization better
1. The legend is terrible. Typically legends are placed in the corner of a map generally over a water body if its a map showing land details and in the middle of the map.

2. Secondly the colors used for showing the earthquake risk bands which same hue. They could have made contrast or complimentary colors.

3. The labeling of the legend and the details on the map could have better and less ambiguous.
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11-16-2014, 07:29 PM
Post: #7
RE: WEEK 12: Earthquake hazard map of the Unite States
The topic of the visualization was very interesting. At a very high level it does its job by showing earthquake prone areas. I agree with the critique. My biggest problem with the Visualization is with the black dots and the color encoding. Black dots show that at that point an earthquake occurred. But what is the difference between red and black dots. Were historic earthquakes the ones with larger magnitude or were they the ones that were more documented? I could not understand what light/parrot green represented. And it was very hard to make out High Earthquake risk areas (the orange areas). One other question was what the darker shades in the colored area represent. I guess they have to be mountains or forests, but that is not clear. In my opinion this Visualization suffers from a lack of information too.
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11-16-2014, 10:40 PM
Post: #8
RE: WEEK 12: Earthquake hazard map of the Unite States
I agree that the visualization could stand some improvement.

The article itself is about interplate earthquakes and how although they're rare, they periodically happen in history. The visualization does a good job at showing that earthquakes usually happen on the west coast, and sometimes elsewhere. But there doesn't seem to be a lot of supporting data that the article uses from the visualization, so the reader has to make sense of it themselves. I think that's were a lot of the 'badness' in the visualization comes from. There's no single clear message or set of information that it's trying to say.

I think the earthquake risk coloring is a bit redundant as well. It seems intuitive that the risk of an earthquake is related to how frequently an area has earthquakes, which is already shown by the dots on the map.
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11-16-2014, 11:34 PM
Post: #9
RE: WEEK 12: Earthquake hazard map of the Unite States
This visualization does its basic job of telling the risk of earthquake in various parts of Unites States. It shows that mainly west coast is more prone to earthquakes. It also represents the level of hazard in a particular area through use of different colors.

However, there are some downfalls of this visualization.
- It doesn't use a clear color coding. Somewhat redundant colors are used.
- Not much detailed data is given. User needs to do extra work to get more detailed information.
- The labels given over dots are not aligned properly according to the dots. It is a bit confusing to decide which label belongs to which dot.

Overall, I am not satisfied with this visualization.
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11-17-2014, 12:51 AM
Post: #10
RE: WEEK 12: Earthquake hazard map of the Unite States
Although the information in the visualization is very interesting, the visualization could have been much better with better use of colors and legend. Following are the things I like about the visualization:
[1] I like the use of heat map for denoting the risk of earthquake.
[2] Showing the states which helps in getting to know about the exact places.

Following are the things which I think could have been done better:
[1] Colors could have been chosen in a better way. The color-intensity for the low risk areas is higher than that of the higher risk areas, which according to me should be the other way round. The font size and font color for the years of earthquakes seem to have been chosen poorly.
[2] It's not clear what's the difference between the red circles and black circles.
[3] It looks like that the map shown is not complete and some parts have been cut. For example: Alaska state.
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