Archive for the ‘graphs’ Category

I have a love-hate relationship with ArcGIS. For all its power and simplicity, it is very inconsistent. For example, some things are located in toolboxes which is good, while others are hidden away in various locations in the editing toolbar, for example.

The editting toolbar is bad. Firstly, your feature has to be in editting mode, which is slow and a pain in the neck. Edits made in the editting toolbar aren’t recorded in your spatial data files metadata. They can’t be automated, so you can put make them in model builder or call them from a Python script.

One of the few reasons I use the editting toolbar is for the Planarize tool, tucked away in the “More editing tools” -> “Topology” toolbar. It turns out, that for line shapefiles, the “Feature to line” toolbox does exactly the same thing. No more edit sessions for me!


I’m sure we’re all familiar with the drawbacks of pie-charts. It is notoriously difficult to compare the sizes of different slices of the pie, a problem that the ABC News Online Investigative Unit have set out to solve once and for all.

Instead of returning to the tried and true bar chart, the good folk at the ABC have instead decided to reinvent the pie-chart in a new form. You can decide how well you think they have done:

ABC's categorical radial charts, on a map comparing crime in Mt Druitt to the rest of Sydney

The saving grace here is that they have also included the raw numbers as a count.

The World Health Organisation’s Global Status Report is generally excellent. But some of its graphs are a little… misleading:


While I generally find ABC’s election coverage excellent, their live graphs on TV on Saturday night were a little… strange. Judge for yourself:

Photograph of television presenter Leigh Sales in front of a ridiculously unproportional column graph.

Graph fail