Yesterday I saw an infographic from Greenpeace about the cost of cleaning up Fukushima. On to Twitter it went…
Dubious and dare I say pointless 'infographic' from Greenpeace. No idea what this is telling me? pic.twitter.com/Es9LEZdf3h
— James Offer (@joffley) August 2, 2013
And Twitter’s response?
@joffley mmm. suppose to give you a view of the size of the cost… I don't know.
— Marcel du Preez (@marceldupreez) August 2, 2013
@joffley for one thing, that cleaning up after nuclear energy costs as much as supplying clean infrastructure to replace nuclear.
— Antony Day (@antday) August 2, 2013
That sounds about right — the message Greenpeace wants to communicate is that cleaning up Fukushima is immensely expensive and the same money could be used to provide clean energy. Bear that in mind and look at the infographic again:
I can kinda see it — but a good infographic / data visualisation should not leave me searching for the meaning. The main problem is the use of a treemap. For starters there’s not enough data or variation in size of data for the treemap to be useful (check out the Billion Dollar Gram for a far better example of a treemap that works). Secondly, the two key pieces of data — cost of the clean up and the cost of green energy — couldn’t be further away.
Thirdly, why be coy with the story here? Tell me your point, then show me your visualisation.
Here’s my version:
Better? Bar charts might not the be sexiest approach, but they work.