Visualizing data points

You can occasionally have so much information that just looking at the data points doesn’t properly illustrate the point. Take this story from al.com, which pulls together the 590 traffic fatalities in Jefferson and Shelby counties between 2007 through 2011.

Untreated the number 590 is simply a statistic. When you put 590 stories into a map, the sense of scale changes.

http://geocommons.com/maps/244896

map

It would have been nice if reporter Mike Smith had been able to embed the map into his story. He’d done the work, he should be able to share the effort on his site. The point remains, telling a big story in a different way can add a lot for your audience.

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