Information Graphic of the Day

energyflow
energyflow

I came across this graphic today and it really impressed me. The sources of energy for the entire U.S. as well as for each sector, and the energy efficiency of each sector. It’s incredibly easy to pick out a specific piece of data you’re looking for, but the graphic is also browsable. There’s an incredible amount of data here, all represented graphically (line thickness) and numerically. The relationships among the data points are shown visually, making the graphic much easier to navigate than a table. There are two problems I have with the graphic, however:

  • It takes a small amount of thought to figure out which number corresponds to which line in the middle. This could be solved by tilting the numbers to lie along their corresponding lines.
  • In the scaled down version above, some of the patterns are a little distracting, especially the cyan and black natural gas pattern. I think it would still work if they stuck to solid colors, especially since it’s pretty clear which lines belong to each category.

These small issues aside, I really like this way of showing resource flows. Lawrence Livermore National Labs has a whole page of this style if you’re into it as much as I am.