Remixing Rosling

For an article about Sweden’s most famous statistician Hans Rosling in Google’s “Think Quarterly” Magazine, Moritz Stefaner has remixed two of the famous Gapminder bubble graphics. The project was commissioned by The Church of London, the creative minds behind the limited-edition book and the companion website.

About Think Quarterly

The publication is curated by Google UK and is aimed at Google’s partners and advertisers. Nonetheless, the well written content makes the first issue a good read for all folks interested in how data is re-shaping business.

In a world of accelerating change, we all need time to reflect. Think Quarterly is a breathing space in a busy world. It’s a place to take time out and consider what’s happening and why it matters. Our first issue is dedicated to Data – amongst a morass of information, how can you find the magic metrics that will help transform your business? We hope that you find inspiration, insights, and more, in Think Quarterly.

The visualizations

Fertility and life expectancy is a condensed, and static version of one of Gapminder’s famous animated “worm” graphics. Among others, it shows how Vietnam is today on the same level as the US in 1980 with respect to the fertility rate and life expectancy. Scaling the diameters of the circles according to the years, and then connecting them, induces a sense of motion over time, even in this static image.

Child mortality dramatically shows how Bangladesh manages to reduce its child mortality with a rate faster than Sweden ever did. In the background, the mortality rates of all countries are plotted in light grey lines, in order to provide a sense of the density and distribution of the data over the years. Note how measurements seem to fluctuate strongly before the 1950s.

While we compare the two versions, it’s important to keep in mind that the original visuals are embedded in the powerful interface of the GapMinder and thus may seem a bit more complex. I think Moritz explains the changes over time with his static versions in a clear and elegant way.

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