DataVizards

DataVizards #2 – Texty (Ukraine)

2017-10-18

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In the second entry in our DataVizards series, we are going to look at a Ukrainian data journalism group…

Texty.ua

According to Wikipedia, “data journalism is a journalism speciality reflecting the increased role that numerical data is used in the production and distribution of information in the digital era. It reflects the increased interaction between content producers (journalist) and several other fields such as design, computer science and statistics”.

Texty is very much in line with this definition, on their website they outline their main activities in the following way:

summary of main activities

Their website is in Ukrainian, so most of us will not be able to understand, but I found that Google Translate does a fairly okay job of translating to English. Obviously, the journalistic nuance is lost, but it’s still enough to get the gist of their visualisations. So let’s see an example.

In their piece, “Збиткова справа: Що робити з парковками?” they examine whether the parking services of Kiev collect as much money as they should be able to. They then offer a brief policy discussion about free parking and compare Kiev to other European cities.

The visualization part of the story is very smart. They took a webcam, set it up at different parking lots in the city and calculated the amount the authorities should have been able to collect and compared it to the official data. To visualize this, they used a timeline showing how many cars were in the lot throughout the day. This same timeline is then used to browse through photos taken that show the number of cars.

This is both an ingenious journalistic device, that supports their data and it also beautifully demonstrates the principle of abstraction that is so central in data visualisation. The pictures become individual points on the timeline while their most essential feature (namely the number of parking cars) is distilled down and shown numerically. You can see a gif of one of these vizes below.

a gif of the parking vizualisation

(source: texty.org.ua)

They have a whole collection of beautiful and interactive works, but those cover more complex topics so summarizing them in a short introduction like this would prove to be difficult. I urge you to check their site out and translate it with some in-browser tool. (I personally used Chrome’s translation option to read the articles).

In terms of visualisation tools, they seem to use d3.js to build custom charts and displays that fit their story at hand.

Let us know which article you enjoyed the most!

 

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Istvan Korompai

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