The story of a simple chart that became a dataviz test case
Once upon a time we created a simple chart on the changes in the color of the cars on the road. After a lonely period it grew a family of other likewise charts based on the same data. And everybody lived happily ever after.
Sometimes things get their own life. This is the story about a chart we created some years ago that inspired others to experiment a bit more and now seems to be a test case for new dataviz tools.
It started way back in 2013 on a Dutch weblog. In the Netherlands the car registration data became open data. This allowed us to show that the Dutch roads became less colorful. The chart was updated and refined over the years. It was popular in the Netherlands.
But the question was raised if the Dutch situation was mirrored in other countries. So we started looking for data. Without access to simular databases, we found that Dupont and later Axalta each year published a report on color distribution of new cars sold all over the world based on the paint they sold.
This allowed us to create a version for North America. We recently updated it to include 2017 (see graph at the top).
Via the version we created on Tableau it was picked up by Matt Chambers as part of a makeover Monday. He was more interested in the rank instead of the distribution. So he created a bump chart in Tableau. It became very popular.
Elsewhere the people from Data Revelations took a different approach after seeing Matt's bump chart. They also figured out a way to show the relative weight and rank in one chart.
And now it's used as an example to show the capabilities of a new dataviz tool called Data Ilustrator.
Makes us wonder where else the data are used. And we like to keep the creativity flowing by making the updated dataset available to all to use.
Update 13 February 2020:
The last couple of months we've found some more examples. It's not always certain they were derived from other examples. But the have a simular look/feel, so we include them here.
Ook interessant om te lezen
DATA VAN DE DAG - Net als vorig jaar hebben we weer in kaart gebracht hoe de verdeling naar kleur was van de Nederlandse personen auto's op de weg in de jaren vanaf 1950.
DATA VAN DE DAG - After publishing our chart on the evolution of the color of cars on the Dutch roads, request came in to do a simular chart for North America. We found the data and created it.
In the Netherlands the data on cars currently on the road is available for everyone. Only the owner remains hidden.
With this data we can plot how the color of the family cars changed over time.