Here’s our pick for the most spellbinding infographic we’ve seen in quite a while: A real-time chart of twitter activity around the world, created by Frog design. Tweets fall across the globe like rain. Just kick back and drool.
Among Bible scholars, it’s common knowledge that the Good Book is riddled with contradictions–events and histories that are laid out in one passage, and then contradicted, at times, only a few pages later. You’d expect as much out of any book written by countless authors over hundreds of years. Still, that’s heresy to many Bible literalists, which meant that this remarkable chart by Sam Harris kicked up a firestorm.
Some of the m
ost impressive infographics come as a result of unprecedented data sets. One case in point is this interactive chart created by Moritz Stefaner showing the results of poll that asked 1,400 people why they moved to or from New York. The result feels like a cross section of hidden lives– and offers the pleasure of voyeurism without the guilt.
If we had one pick for the most portentous infographic of the year, it’s this one created by Gravity, a social-networking start-up. Draw from data in your lifestream–your tweets and Facebook posts, for example–it shows how intensely you’re interested in various topics, ranging from bands to hobbies. Then it maps those interests again other people, so that you can find new stuff you might like–and so that advertisers can find their ideal markets.
We’ll admit that we were nervous when we held our Inception Infographic Contest — the first few entries were really, really troubling. (“I found these graphics on the internet,” wrote one person.) But we couldn’t have been happier with the eventual winner, Rick Slusher. The chart essentially shows everything you need to know about the movie, from the various dream layers to the bending of time and the various “kicks” that deliver the characters from la-la land.
Infographics have the power to influence massive public policy decisions. One good example is this this chart, which shows which countries overperform, in getting the best education from the least amount of money. With a chart like this, you can find your way to those countries whose education systems might serve as a model to others.
In a year where politicians figured out that they could use infographics to distort the truth, it was refreshing that some designers took it upon themselves to bring clarity to public policy. This chart broke down how you’d be affected by Obama’s healthcare reforms.
Once in a very long while, we come across an infographic that speaks to an entire world. Case in point: This chart by Eduardo Salcedo-Albarán, which shows the power structure of a Mexican drug cartel. The chart lays out the nefarious, ever-present influence of the gang, and speaks volumes about the true nature of the drug war in Mexico.
Social networking companies have produced a welter of data that we’re only know beginning to wrap our minds around. A good example is Foursquare. In this chart, Weeplaces used Foursquare data to find which bars and hang outs had the highest check-in ratios of men to women and vice versa–thus creating a guide to the best pick up spots in New York and San Francisco.
This chart bowled us over with the sheer number of stories living within its data. Summarizing the entire year of player performance for the San Francisco Giants, it shows exactly who was most valuable in the run that brought them a World Series championship.
Maybe the funniest infographic of the year was this one, by comedian and author Doogie Horner. The sprawling flowchart, commissioned by Fast Company, simply shows how you’d explain the internet to a Charles Dickens character.
Yet more proof of the powerful data that lies behind social networking sites: A mapshowing friend connections around the world, created by Facebook super-intern Paul Butler. What’s remarkable is how geography is an emergent property–the map is nothingless than visual documentation of the friendships and connections that define our world.
Almost no one thinks of their city as segregated, but this remarkable series of charts by Eric Fischer explodes that assumption. Fischer color coded population figures for all of America’s largest cities, and created maps that show just how integrated or segregated each one has become.