Friday, 24 January 2014

European word translator

I'm a big fan of the etymology maps on reddit. These gave me the idea of creating a map that would translate any English word (or two) to other European languages using Google Translate. The results are often far from perfect - the screenshot below shows that "a bug in a rug" becomes "an error in a rug" in Spanish. This may be partly because Google Translate has little context to work with when only one or two words are entered, and partly because it just isn't as smart as a human translator. Still, hopefully it's fun to play with!

Treemaps of emissions and Reddit posts

A couple of my recent experiments have been treemap visualisations using D3. Treemaps are useful for showing part-to-whole relationships when there are many data points and the data points can be categorised (countries by continent, stocks by sector and sub-sector etc). The Map of the Market is a nice example.

The interactive treemap I created of emissions and population is shown below. I think it does a reasonable job of showing the data, but perhaps it could be improved by dividing the countries into categories such as continents. I also wonder if side-by-side bar charts might be a simpler better way to show the data.

My other treemap shows the top 200 reddit posts of all time. It's just a bit of fun, but I'm not sure if it's really a successful visualisation; to me, the design of a treemap implies the relationship of parts to a whole, but in this treemap "the whole" is arbitrarily chosen to be only the top 200 posts.

For more information and links on treemaps, see this article by their inventor, Ben Shneiderman.