During the Docs 3.0 panel at the Sheffield Doc/Fest, my fellow panelist Paula Le Dieu talked about how Web technologies are allowing for new forms of storytelling, specifically through what she called visualization. Here are some of the visualization websites she highlighted, which provide visitors a new understanding of very complex data sets and encourage them to see the stories behind the sometimes-impenetrable numbers and statistics in the news.
BreathingEarth presents the carbon dioxide emission, birth rates and death rates of every country in the world in real-time. The pulsating stars representing birth and death, and the flares of red representing carbon emission, are elegant, hypnotic and frightening at the same time.
Since March 20, 2003, thousands of deaths have occurred in Iraq. The Iraq War Coalition Fatalities site tracks the deaths of those in the U.S.-led coalition one by one, day by day, through black dots that flare red on a map of Iraq. Though the interface of the project is simple, it reminds us of how steadily, how quickly and how often lives have been lost during the past three-and-a-half years in Iraq.
Maps of War starts with questions like “How has the geography of religion evolved over the centuries?” and “Who has controlled the Middle East over the course of history?” and answers them through 90-second flashlets that trace history and geography across time.