Glow map

Posted to Design  |  Tags: , ,  |  Nathan Yau

John Nelson has a knack for making maps that glow, where the base map serves as a dark backdrop and the data of interest sort of lights up. In a recent talk, he calls it Firefly Cartography and explains its use in presentation and in education.

A firefly map is to regular thematic maps the way that a lightsaber is to swords. Thematic layers that look like they are etched with white hot plasma tend to draw eyeballs and provide a sense of intensity that solid Boolean symbology just doesn’t offer. I think we are wired to notice and note things that glow. Whether it is marking time by the sun or moon, staring into embers, watching for nighttime travelers by the open flame they carry, or noting the churned phosphorescence of the sea, we historically have done well to note the things that glow.

I suspect firefly charts would be equally expressive.

Favorites

Famous Movie Quotes as Charts

In celebration of their 100-year anniversary, the American Film Institute selected the 100 most memorable quotes from American cinema, and …

How to Spot Visualization Lies

Many charts don’t tell the truth. This is a simple guide to spotting them.

Watching the growth of Walmart – now with 100% more Sam’s Club

The ever so popular Walmart growth map gets an update, and yes, it still looks like a wildfire. Sam’s Club follows soon after, although not nearly as vigorously.

Marrying Age

People get married at various ages, but there are definite trends that vary across demographic groups. What do these trends look like?