U.S. Terror Attacks

Map of U.S. terror attacks.
Click the image to see a closer look at my map.

For my second project based on using the skills we learned in the maps unit, I drew a map of the United States and highlighted the recent terror attacks that have happened on U.S. soil. Since 2009, there has been an increase in the frequency of terror attacks following September 11, 2001. My interest in the topic came as I was working on my graphic to highlight hurricane damage along the coast and while researching I heard about the terror attack that happened on Halloween in New York City. A man in the name of ISIS killed eight people with a rented truck. I decided that it would be newsworthy to show the geographic locations of the different attacks and attempted attacks that have happened since 9/11.

Looking back on my graphic, I thought I did a fantastic job in comparison to previous projects in the class. I thought the map of the United States, which I drew (rather than using the map given in the class resources on Canvas) looked very professional in its execution including the darkened edges and consistency in style. I thought that though my callouts did make the final graphic messy, they were helpful and needed. They also had adequate spacing between them. My bubble graphs were useful as well to showing the overall mass of death and injury counts. Overall, I felt that my graphic style has improved since the beginning of the class and moved towards a more professional look. I hope to become more consistent and develop a complete style guide by the end of the class that I can rely on for future projects. One change in particular that I made between now and my Charts project was changing to a sans serif. Before I had a condensed serif text, but I recognized that Avenir Next was more of the style I was looking to use for future projects. Also I stuck to a consistent type size for my various callouts and sources and note sections of the graphic.

Ultimately, I was very happy with my final graphic. The only thing that I hope to learn to do for future projects is learning how to include callout data without cluttering the final graphic.

Hurricane Heartbreak

Willard Devaul's chart graphic
Click the picture to see my full graph.

Every few years, the southern United States experiences a large tropical storm. Many times the storms evolve to a full hurricane based on the power of the particular storm. However, while many storms bring some level of damage to the coasts, some of the larger storms ravage the coastal lands. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina demolished most of New Orleans, a city below sea level. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy destroyed the Northern Coast of the United States reaching as far in as Vermont. But what about the recent hurricanes, Irma and Harvey? Much to my surprise, the hurricanes are estimated to be upwards of $200 billion in cost.

The bar chart that I created compares the costliest storms in U.S. history adjusted for 2017 inflation rates. I used a stacked bar chart to show the difference between the lower end estimate and the higher end estimate (150 billion and 200 billion dollars, respectively). I also used a pie chart in the lower left hand corner to show the different categories of the top 30 costliest storms in history. Much to my expectation, most of the storms were either category 3 or 4, however, Hurricane Irma was a category 5 hurricane at its beginnings. The last chart I made shows the deadliest hurricanes in modern history in comparison to Irma and Harvey. Much to my surprise, cost does not necessarily correlate to death toll. I thought perhaps they may be in direct correlation, but after review, I believe they have some connection to the quality of evacuation tactics and infrastructure.

Overall I was not happy with this assignment. I felt like I didn’t have interesting data that I found, and I felt like I lacked creativity with my graphs despite the many hours I spent working. I like my style guide, though I think my typeface could be a more professional type than Roboto (I didn’t have any of the professional types on my personal computer). I don’t know right now how I could improve my graphic other than improving my data. I felt very limited in my ability to create something memorable. I hope this project can be an early obstacle to get over for future graphics and that my creativity will expand going forward.