Thursday, August 19, 2010

Confusing Map of the Week-Oil and Much More

Preemptive Media is an organization that lets participants monitor air quality with GPS enabled monitoring devices. However, this post is not about that. This post is about the confusing map they have posted on their web page.

It's an interesting visualization but full of cartographic problems. First of all too much information takes away from the focus on US oil imports. The title and blocks of text at the bottom about gas and coal confuse the reader about what the map actually shows. It's not a map about all fossil fuels, just one. The country sizes are also confusing - is this supposed to be a cartogram? I'm pretty sure it's not. The colors? I guess they're just colors and have no additional meaning. They did get it right in sizing (by width) the connecting pipelines according to the number of barrels a day we import.

Nevertheless this map does show some interesting statistics about where our oil comes from. Canada and Mexico are our top two sources for oil? Ecuador's in the top ten? Who knew? I also like the chart at the lower right showing how we create greenhouse gases.

1 comment:

Joshua said...

I agree with your comments, the graphical part is pretty good, but there's too much text around the map which draws you away from the main point.

I recently read Who Turned Out the Lights: Your Guided Tour To The Energy Crisis by Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson.
Quite good explanation and potential solutions of energy issues and in easy to understand (and even lighthearted) language.