July 31: AEA Coffeebreak Webinar on Interactive Reporting

Data Viz enthusiasts—got a free 30 minutes at 2 pm ET on July 31? Want to learn more about interactive reporting formats that could help manage the too-long report issue?


Spend it learning about some basic principles of developing interactive visualizations. Chris Lysy, cartoonist and visualizer extraordinaire is going to be sharing some of his insights and ideas from his work as a designer / systems analyst / evaluator, that’s sure to be well worth your 30 minutes. 

Learn more about the event over on his Fresh Spectrum blog, and register via GoToMeeting here.

Mapping and Graphing Ebola

The Ebola outbreak is undoubtedly frightening, with border closures being announced today in Liberia  and more than 1,200 confirmed cases across West Africa, and our thoughts are with everyone being affected by the outbreak

The Economist featured the spread of Ebola as it’s daily chart on 29 July, bringing together maps and some stacked bar charts with transparent backgrounds to illustrate both the severity of the current outbreak and how markedly higher the number of cases is compared to any outbreak on record.


The map and charts together provide a wealth of information in a small amount of space, and using colors in a similar palette (but distinctly different when being used to represent different kinds of data) helps to tie the visual together. Because the case numbers are so low in the bottom bar chart from 1978 to 1995, the overlay seems to work well when placed across the map, not obscuring any extra data points. The simple axes and exclusion of any data points keep the story front and center: this outbreak is the worst we’ve seen in history, and the disease has a striking mortality rate.

The incidence and mortality data coming from this outbreak, as well as data from past outbreaks, has prompted a number of graphs, charts, and maps trying to visualize the data. These include both standard charts and maps, but also visual illustrations of how the disease spreads and timelines of past outbreaks, which can be great tools for raising awareness and sharing accurate information.

Aspiring to more visual reporting formats

There’s no doubt that good visuals are great for encouraging click-throughs on email blasts: we’ve seen the rise of mini-infographics for this precise purpose.  It’s great to see increasingly visual content coming through from Think Tanks and large agencies better known for long form reports, and their commendable efforts shouldn’t go unnoted.

If visualizations and images are what make people want to click through though, shouldn’t we try to apply the same logic to the reports at the end of the click through?

In today’s Learning Lab Newsletter, I got excited to see an article on organizational network analysis, a method of increasing interest to evaluators looking at complexity and systems, and an approach that generates data that can make beautiful visualizations. What I saw in the newsletter looked like this:

USAIDcomplexity 1


Continue reading Aspiring to more visual reporting formats

2014 Humanitarian Data Viz Challenge

Check out this great opportunity to have your viz published!

The 2014 Humanitarian Data Visualization Challenge is sponsored by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The purpose of the challenge is to “inspire original and creative interpretation and analysis of data that relates to humanitarian needs and response.” The winning entry will be featured in OCHA’s annual publication “World Humanitarian Data and Trends 2014” and will be awarded $2,000 to further develop the infographic.

For more information, check out the challenge website.

HT Leah Denise Wyatt at MEASURE Evaluation