Let's Visualize Data.
We are awash in data. It bombards us every day — in the news, in our social feeds, in conversations. But unless it's clearly presented, it doesn't serve us well.

Visuals make data more accessible, more appealing, and more real. As a result, the data is more persuasive — and more actionable.

This issue presents an image and some sites to explore so you can make sense of the data around you, and help you make data more compelling to those you are trying to influence.
Welcome to my digital postcard filled with 3 things related to Visual IP*. It's designed to quickly inform, then get you on your way. In each issue you'll find an inspiring quote, an image, and a link to an essay or resource.

* Visual IP (intellectual property) = proprietary frameworks, diagrams, and drawings based on your ideas, which help you explain, influence, and persuade

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"The core advantage of data is that it tells you something about the world that you didn't know before."
Hillary Mason, founder of Fast Forward Labs

Visualizing Countries by Share of Earth's Surface

Look at that beautiful circle! What a perfect match of form and content.

The image represents the proportions of the Earth's surface, which is more than 60% water. The darker blue shows International Waters (43% of the planet's surface and nearly 95% of its volume!). The paler blue-green part of the ring — at about 11 to 2:30 on a clock face — is Territorial Waters (27%), which are economic zones that extend 200 miles off the shore of sovereign nations. That little white sliver is Antarctica, which remains unclaimed territory.

Moving to the darker areas, each textured area represents a different nation. Russia is largest (3.34%), followed by Canada, China, and the USA. In total, all of the world's countries make up less than a third of our planet's surface.

The data comes from the United Nations Statistics Division as well as Protected Planet, and the infographic artists at Visual Capitalist have transformed it into this appealing graphic.

In addition to teaching us about the nations of our world, this imaginative example shows us how to take a simple shape and transform it into a sophisticated communication, rich with meaning and easy to understand.


Tableau Public

The 100 Most-Spoken Languages in the World (excerpt), an infographic created in Tableau Public by Nandini Pundir.

Tableau is a leading visual data analytics software platform used by organizations around the world. It gives professionals the power to transform data into stunning infographics.

The company was founded in 2003 as an outgrowth of a Stanford University computer science project designed to make data more accessible through visualizations.

Not surprisingly, Tableau licensing fees can be pricey — after all, this is high-end business analytics software. But the great news is that there's a no-cost version of the software, Tableau Public. It's a free download (Mac or Windows) and you can connect your data in a variety of formats, including Excel, CSV, or Google Sheets.

Even if you have no interest in creating these data-rich images, you can explore the many ways that thousands of people are using Tableau Public through the Discover area on their site. They've compiled a stunning collection of highlights from 2021 on their blog. It's quite inspiring to see high-quality infographics on far-ranging topics such as sports, education, arts and culture, business, environmental issues — even resumes!

More Mini-Essays Shipped

My month-long essay-writing odyssey continues. The goal is to write a short essay or Twitter thread each day and post it online. Come follow along on my special Ship 30 blog, or on my Twitter feed.

Thanks for joining me this week. Here's to enjoying data in all its graphic forms.

As always, if there are others you think might enjoy these types of ideas and resources, please forward this on.

Until next time: Make something happen!

PS: Was this email forwarded to you? You can sign up to get your own copy on my website.
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