Visualizing Data Like a Weatherman

By Deane Barker on August 30, 2012

I loved this video from Hans Rosling around a dataset of average lifespan plotted against average income.  The trick is that he steps inside the graph as it moves, and describes what’s going on.  It’s compelling.

You have to think he had a screen showing him the data, so he was playing like a weatherman, looking offscreen for some context of what he was pointing at.

I found this via an article about storytelling (a term which I loathe, incidentally).  The article was so-so, but the point was that Dr. Rosling is telling stories about the data as it renders, thus imparting (1) a human face, and (2) human context to the data.

The choice of setting is interesting as well.  It’s in what looks like an old warehouse, which is not what I would expect.  This is something you would normally do against a green screen.  But it works well, even if I’m not sure why.