Awards from Recovery and Reinvestment Act
Between February 17, 2009 to September 30, 2010, 88,791 awards have been funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This animated map shows where these awards have been distributed across the country month-to-month. Each "light" represents an award.
The weird thing is that this was created by Edward Tufte, who serves on the Recovery Independent Advisory Panel. We tend to associate the name with a certain level of aesthetic, but this is pretty much an out-of-the-box map in Flex. It lacks some of the interaction that we've come to expect from online maps, like panning and zooming. When you enter a zipcode, only a barely visible red dot appears. The map isn't horrible, but it isn't that good either.
It goes to show how important execution is. You can learn and read about design or have an image in your head of what something should look like, but the only way you can get better is to work at it. Pick up some data and try to do something with it.