Visualization used in 1127 "Congress"

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Visualization used in 1127 "Congress"

Postby danielberger » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:23 am UTC

Hi everybody,

does anybody know of software/libraries which can be used to do a visualization similar to xkcd 1127, the amazing congress infographic. It would be fun to play around, and in the official 1127 thread two people asked about the SW but never got any answer.

Any library/ any language would be fine - only, it should be open source.

The only background I can offer is as follows. In the Napolean war in Russia the Frenchmen Charles Joseph Minard
used a similar infographic. Later this type of visualization seems to have been termed Sankey diagram and was " typically used to visualize energy or material or cost transfers between processes" (wikipedia).
There is some Sankey diagram software but I haven't seen something specifically looking like 1127.
Another related concept is that of an Alluvial diagram. This concept has been used by Google analytics, and they did a summary blog post at 12/20/2011 pointing out related approaches due to having received "a lot of positive feedback from [their] customers" .

(Sorry, I would like to post the corresponding URLs but I am not able to, as a freshman. PM me, then maybe sb can do this?)

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Re: Visualization used in 1127 "Congress"

Postby gordo » Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:16 pm UTC

matplotlib, a plotting library for Python 2 and Python 3, can do something that looks like it. See for example this and this demo. As you can see in the gallery, matplotlib is extremely customizable, so maybe you can use those demos as a starting point.

There is a way to make matplotlib plots look like xkcd-style plots, but I don't know if that will work with the Sankey graphs.

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