Monday, July 11, 2005

Timelines on the Web - Part I

Here is a recent timeline example that is well worth studying - a visually rich demonstration combining data from many semi-independent sources to create a powerful composite effect showing the week by week poll popularity of President George W. Bush.

Compare the richness of Professor Pollkatz' graphics with the traditional ways polling information is shared with us -- typically as a single data point from a single poll - completely divorced and cut off from any history or context.

So, for example, our ABC evening news might tell us that the popularity rating in late June was 48% in their most recent poll. Think about how much more can be discerned with the Pollkatz graphic that lets us examine all the other recent poll numbers and the evolving pattern over the preceding weeks and months.

You can find some more of the time-series work of Professor Pollkatz (Professor Stuart Eugene Thiel of Depaul University) at:

Check out his Approval/Disapproval Spread chart. It's an excellent example of the power of deriving new and revealing time series by arithmetically recombining other time series - in this case calculating the SPREAD by subtracting the DISAPPROVAL value from APPROVAL value.

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