Orders of Magnitude

Orders of Magnitude

Infographics often deal with large numbers or large concepts, with the goal of making the viewer understand just how large they really are. This is also a huge failure point because designers and storytellers often don’t keep comparisons in the same orders of magnitude.

You have heard the old distance metric, “If you stack all the X on top of each other, it would reach to the moon, and back!” This is a good reference to something that is 500,000 miles. People understand the distance to the moon better than they understand 500,000 miles. This is an example of a comparison done right.

As soon as the comparison leaves the first order of magnitude, though, it becomes less relatable.

Did you know that Chevy Volt owners have surpassed 100 million all-electric miles in the first two months since it launched? That’s like going to the moon and back, 210 times!

There have been six... keep reading

The Civic Data Challenge: Creation Phase

The Civic Data Challenge has just completed the ideation phase and entered its creation phase. The ideation phase was fantastically successful, drawing on civic health data to address several civic problems. Some of the ideas include: An online nonprofit mapping tool to more efficiently bridge the gap between services provided and community needs, A... keep reading

Telemetry Uses Data Visualization to Take Race Cars to the Next Level

Motorsport is one of the world’s most popular spectator activities, and one of the most data-heavy. While the average three-hour baseball game can generate three million data points, a one-hour car race can generate well over 8 million. All these data points are the result of telemetry systems that can use more than 100... keep reading