It is July. Growing up in the US, the 4th of July holiday felt like the real beginning of summer to me—school was out, the sun stayed in the sky longer, and my parents let me stay up late to watch the celebratory fireworks. My favorite have always been the traditional blooming circles (perhaps unsurprising, since we find circles beautiful): a radial data visualization in the sky, marking distance from explosion with light and the passage of time.
I won’t be in the states to experience the fireworks this year, so thought I’d seek circular pictures through the #SWDchallenge. I challenge you to create and share radial data visualizations!
First, a couple of caveats. I’ve not plotted data like this before. I’ll provide some examples from others for inspiration (and plan to participate myself!). Probably the closest I’ve come to radial data visualization in a business setting was a poorly conceived 8-axis radar graph when I was working in fraud management, which ended up not being a good use case. Which brings me to my second caveat: not all data will lend itself well to a radial view. (And not all graphs are meant to be circular!)
But some data does.
The challenge this month: identify data that makes sense to plot in a radial view and visualize it. Full submission details can be found below.
First, I’ll share few examples. Just last week, I came across Christian Felix’s Celiac Disease Story sunburst depicting his personal experience with celiac disease. One of my faves from recent years has been Zan Armstrong and Nadieh Bremer’s The Baby Spike, published in Scientific American in 2017. The same year they won silver in the Information is Beautiful Awards, Moritz Stefaner and Yuri Vishnevsky took home gold for Rhythm of Food, an interactive data explorer using Google Trends data (part of Google News Lab data visualization project with Simon Rogers and Alberto Cairo). Finally, it seems remiss to talk about radial visualizations without mentioning a historical source of inspiration for many: Florence Nightingale’s coxcomb chart depicting mortality in the military. For many more examples, check out Nadieh Bremer’s Data Viz | Radial or Kevin Shoultz’s Data Visualization: Radial Charts collections on Pinterest.
CHALLENGE: Create and share a radial data visualization using the tool of your choice. You may note that the examples referenced above include many different types of circular charts (and some go by multiple names): chord diagrams, coxcomb charts, polar area diagrams, radar plots, sunbursts, and more. For this challenge, any circular view of data is welcome. Please do aim for data and a scenario that will lend itself well to this. Speaking of data, if you need help finding some, check out this list of publicly available data sources. You're also welcome to use a real work example if you'd like, just please don't share anything confidential.
DEADLINE: Wednesday, July 10th by midnight PST.
SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS: upload your visual and related commentary via at storytellingwithdata.com/SWDchallengeSUBMIT. (DO NOT EMAIL: we are no longer monitoring the old alias!) Feel free to also share on social media at any point using #SWDchallenge. For inclusion in the summary recap post, submissions must be officially submitted to us (still a time-intensive process and we aren’t able to scrape Twitter and other social media sites).
Stay tuned for the recap post in the second half of the month, where we’ll share back with you all of the visuals created and shared as part of this challenge. Also check out the #SWDchallenge page for past challenge details and recaps. We’re excited to see what you come up with this month!