Better Understanding Through Visualizations

Social issues often remain hidden until brought to light by events such as the Ferguson, MO protests. When this happens, the media will employ the use of visualizations to help people understand how policy affects these issues. Throughout the past couple of weeks, a lot of media outlets have been outputting data visualizations, maps  and graphics in order to better explain the events in Ferguson. These visualizations can also explain the many different aspects of policy and demographics that influence communities across the country like Ferguson. Visualizations such as this graphic published by The Economist today, can also be used to illustrate how differences in national policies can have dramatic effects on things such as fatal shootings by police officers.

Source: The Economist

The original Economist graphic is composed of two circles representing the number of people fatally wounded by police in four different countries (Japan and Britain had zero fatal shootings by police, hence no circle). Since people are generally better at perceiving differences in length than area, I entered the numbers into a bar chart; result shown below.

Police Shootings


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