Monday, August 22, 2011

Viz: Radiation Zones in Japan

Non formatted data is of no use as it has no eye-catching bling to it. The raw data needs to be cooked before it is presented to the audience so that it has a appeal towards the audience.

While reading few blogs (like - found that the writer mentions that 'Japanese people in general seem to have excellent skills in data visualization, as well as quite advanced mathematical ability and a robust approach to science. Japanese appreciation of data visualization, particularly, seems to exceed anything similar in the West'[1]. Tokyo graffiti is one such magzine which ask local people to list their hairstyles, shoes on spider charts and other unique data viz. tools. On the same blog, I found that there's a site which shows the radiation level in microsievert level in 8 different cities in the Greater Kanto area where the recent power plant explosion took place after the recent tsumani. Sievert is SI unit for dose equivalent radiation. It attempts to quantitatively evaluate the biological effects of ionizing radiation as opposed to other physical aspects[2].

What the graphs indicate are the world average hourly radiation levels with the increase from left to right. The right one indicating that the radiation absorption per hour is too high and that place should be evacuated asap. Its a two dimensional graph which shows the amount of radiation absorption per hour by the workers working in a radioactive zone, the amount required for a 0.5% increase in cancer risk; and the amount at which you should evacuate. Below eight figures are eight different cities in which recent radiation absorption indication are shown.

What makes this viz. effective is that it manages to produce an overall calm image, at the same time it tries to indicate a clear sense of panic to the danger zone image while also smoothly contrasting it with the reality that surrounds it and the chart occupies the center of the real estate where all the focus is while visiting a website.


[1]faustusnotes blog
[2]Sievert Wikipedia