After spending some time on the World Bank website, it demonstrates a good range of data in relevant areas for this project, and also has a tool for creating data visualisations using the data provided. It has a relatively simple interface, but does not seem to be intelligent enough to suggest specifics for creating more readable data visualisations.
I will play around with this tool and see if I can create some usable data visualisations for the final piece of data journalism.
I have noticed that you can select as many variables as you like, which isn’t ideal, as it then creates unreadable or confusing data visualisations. Above all I want my data visualisations to be easily readable, or they fail at the most basic level.
Using World Bank data, and their tool for creating data visualisations, I created a map using the same countries as I had found OECD data for in relation to environmental degradation, http://databank.worldbank.org/data/reports.aspx?source=health-nutrition-and-population-statistics#.
The question is, can alcohol consumption be considered a good measure of social degradation? I’m sure that would an interesting (and somewhat controversial debate).
Most people would agree that excessive, compulsive, or irresponsible alcohol consumption could be a social issue; an expression of an unhappy and unfulfilled society, filling an emotional hole with the escapism of alcohol. The problem is that data doesn’t break this down for us, we can’t presume to know why people are drinking, or whether it is a problem for them or indeed for society at large. Unless we consider alcohol consumption in general to be negative for society (which I’m not sure we can) then this may not be an adequate or fair measure of social degradation or human health.
My intentions for the finished artefact (of which this blog, and indeed this entire website are an intrinsic part) are that a selection of amazingly impactful and compelling data visualisations will combine with a powerful written narrative to bring to light the issues connecting human and earth health. In honesty, I’m hoping it will show a connection or a correlation, because it makes sense, but either way I will be able to explore the topic and investigate what the data is saying.
I have struggled with deciding on which data to use to express which measure, because there is such a wealth of data available, and so many different interpretations of what actually constitutes environmental degradation. I have decided that use of forestry resources and pollution are good and appropriate measures of environmental degradation, and possibly also CO2 emissions.
In terms of the human health aspect, or the social degradation aspect, I think that looking at mental health, health outcomes, and possibly crime or education would be good measures. I have been looking into data sets in this area, and will investigate further and create some more experimental data visualisations.
Using Data Hero www.datahero.com and data from a few different sources.