Pedro M. Cruz has published a small experiment about springs and soft bodies in data visualization. The animated visualization shows the evolution of the top 4 maritime empires of the XIX and XX centuries by extent.
The empires are represented by circles and as parts of the empire become independent they split away. Thus the size of the bubbles shrink over time. While the animation is rather playful than informative the concept of showing the decline in this way seems to have some potential. Pedro is well aware that there’s space for improvements.
…as the visuals are not very sophisticated or elegant, and the way that the information is treated doesn’t enable the extraction of advanced knowledge. Although, it works very well as a ludic narrative. I ultimately found it very joyful.
Read more about the experiment on Pedro’s Master Thesis blog