Monday, February 27, 2012

Pirates in Space-Time

One of the things Visual Fusion does best it to put data into context.  Often that means turning it loose in different visual dimensions, like maps and timelines; that's fine but another way of providing context is with different aggregates of itself.  In the image below, heatmaps provide a broad 30-year reference of pirate activity while the dots are more recent.  So, with one dataset I get forest and tree views but it's more fun than that... If there is a hotspot with no dots, then I can infer a historic hangout that has been abandoned.  Likewise, if I see a cluster of dots with no hotspot, then it's a new haunt...

Here's a whirlwind tour of the interactive version (or try it yourself here)...

Follow-up Analysis
Here are a few links to visualizations that took a more time-centric approach to the data.
  • A seasonal look at Somali piracy, to identify predictable hot spots of activity based on what time of year it is.
  • A historic animation of Somali piracy, sliced by year, illustrating the boom of 2008 and subsequent moves into tight shipping lanes.
  • A look at the top-five nautical zones for piracy, broken out by yearly, seasonal, and day-of-week trends.

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