Tuesday, August 15, 2017

World Health Organization (WHO): spotting spending patterns in 2000-2015

It took me a while to find and groom WHO spending numbers. All financial reports I used can be found here. There were a few challenges, here are some worth mentioning.

1. Between 2000 and 2011, the WHO published two-year financial reports, and in 2012, they switched to one-year schedule.

2. The list of expenditure categories was changing from year two year. As a result, I could not break down equipment and supplies category into meaningful groups, so medical supplies and furniture fall into the same category. Same with the "Other" category: it includes grants, research contracts, local subsidies and what not.

3. Since 2008, WHO financial reports stopped providing staff costs breakdown, so "Stuff costs" category includes full-time and part-time employees, consultants and even governing body delegates.

Below is the two-axis chart that shows absolute spending numbers as bars and the share of some spending categories as lines:

Key observations:

  • the WHO is drifting towards outsourcing some of the activities: watch the staff+equipment spending go down while contractual services going up;
  • the share of travel expenses grew three times between 2000 and 2015.

It turned out both observations make sense: just google "world health organization outsourcing" and "world health organization travel expenses".

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Animated GIF is alive and well

I have just came across a blog featuring high-quality charts visualizing all kinds of data: https://datasoaring.blogspot.com. Charts are made with plot.ly, highcharts, bokeh, charte.ca and other tools. Some charts are published as high-quality animated GIFs. Apparently, the blogger uses this data format as a last resort - not so many tools out there support animation right out of the box. Anyways, good to see charte.ca in a good company.

Log scale for XY charts

From now on, charte.ca supports log scale in all XY charts (bubble, scatter, motion). Consider the following visualization of World Bank and SIPRI Military Expenditure Database data:

Why log scale? There are a few cases when a log scale is appropriate. The most well known is: log scales allow a large range to be displayed without small values being compressed down into bottom of the graph. Consider the same visualization made using linear scale (this is just a screenshot, not an interactive chart, but it gives you a good idea about the problem):

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

More fun with motion charts: European top 20 imports and exports, 1990-2016

World Bank Group provides a lot of data to play with. Let's build a motion chart based on export, import, and GDP data for European top 20 economies, grouped by regions - Northern, Western, Eastern, and Southern.

Watch international trade shrinking between 2008 and 2009!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Motion charts: add categories and animate those bubbles

charte.ca now supports motion charts. Motion charts are basically bubble charts with one more dimension added (usually, it's time). In charte.ca, we use category for this dimension, remember category radio buttons in charte.ca pie charts and bar charts? So, our motion charts are bubble charts with category radio buttons.

Recently, Statistics Canada published a quick overview of interprovincial migration data, using simple line charts. Let's make this data look fancier:

Here are the steps to create this motion chart.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Happy Birthday, Canada: animated categories

While Canadians looking for the ultimate party to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday on July 1, we will have a quick look at their spending habits. And we will do that by using charte.ca new feature - animated categories.

Chart options panels went through some reorganization. Now we have "Current category label" panel:

and "Animation" panel:

For charts with multiple data rows that are considered categories (pie, regular bar and comparative histogram charts), charte.ca can walk through all categories and update the appearance, creating an animation effect - see chart below.

Try it for yourself - create a pie, regular bar or comparative histogram chart with multiple data rows and play with animation settings. The feature comes handy when you embed charte.ca visualization into a presentation and do not have a convenient way to click or hover over the chart to navigate between categories.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The case for pie charts

Pie charts get a lot of criticism these days. I must agree that bar charts deliver the message better because:

  • bar charts can present data for multiple categories without user interaction;
  • human eye is much better at telling differences between lengths than it is at determining differences between areas.

The charts below visualize the same data, and they all have the same size of 640x640 pixels. Decide for yourself which one does it better.

Pie chart in question - move your mouse or tap over radio buttons to change category: