Alternatives to the rainbow color scale

Dec 26, 2017

Oh. It’s that time of year already. Time to hate on the rainbow color scale, which is still prevalent but equally less useful than alternatives. Matt Hall provides (scientific!) reasons for looking to scales that don’t include the full spectrum and some solutions.

We know what kind of colourmaps are good for interpretation: those that increase linearly and monotonically in brightness, with no jumps or stripes of luminance. I’ve linked to lots of places where you can read about these — see the end of the post. You already know one perceptual colourmap: the humble Greyscale. But there are lots of others, so let’s start with one of them.

Favorites

10 Best Data Visualization Projects of 2017

It was a rough year, which brought about a lot of good work. Here are my favorite data visualization projects of the year.

How You Will Die

So far we’ve seen when you will die and how other people tend to die. Now let’s put the two together to see how and when you will die, given your sex, race, and age.

Life expectancy changes

The data goes back to 1960 and up to the most current estimates for 2009. Each line represents a country.

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.