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3 Questions To Ask Yourself Next Time You See a Graph, Chart or Map

daftandbarmy

Army.ca Myth
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Oh man... this guy nailed one of my pet peeves ):

3 Questions To Ask Yourself Next Time You See a Graph, Chart or Map

While they’re great illustrators of data, graphs and charts can also be incredibly misleading.

Since the days of painting on cave walls, people have been representing information through figures and images. Nowadays, data visualization experts know that presenting information visually helps people better understand complicated data. The problem is that data visualizations can also leave you with the wrong idea – whether the images are sloppily made or intentionally misleading.

Take for example the bar graph presented at an April 6 press briefing by members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. It’s titled “COVID-19 testing in the U.S.” and illustrates almost 2 million coronavirus tests completed up to that point. President Trump used the graph to support his assertion that testing was “going up at a rapid rate.” Based on this graphic many viewers likely took away the same conclusion – but it is incorrect.

The graph shows the total cumulative number of tests performed over months, not the number of new tests each day.

When you graph the number of new tests by date, you can see the number of COVID-19 tests performed between March and April did increase through time, but not rapidly. This instance is one of many when important information was not properly understood or well communicated.
As a researcher of hazard and risk communication, I think a lot about how people interpret the charts, graphs and maps they encounter daily.
Whether they show COVID-19 cases, global warming trends, high-risk tsunami zones, or utility usage, being able to correctly assess and interpret figures allows you to make informed decisions. Unfortunately, not all figures are created equal.

If you can spot a figure’s pitfalls you can avoid the bad ones. Consider the following three key questions the next time you see a graph, map or other data visual so you can confidently decide what to do with that new nugget of information.


https://getpocket.com/explore/item/3-questions-to-ask-yourself-next-time-you-see-a-graph-chart-or-map?utm_source=pocket-newtab
 

Colin Parkinson

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I had assumed this was a another white suppression by Mercator projection piece, I apologise for failing to account for your good taste in peeves.
 

daftandbarmy

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Colin P said:
I had assumed this was a another white suppression by Mercator projection piece, I apologise for failing to account for your good taste in peeves.

Thanks. All my taste is in my mouth unfortunately, but I'll take it! :)
 
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