Sunday, January 04, 2015

The Bible Map

The Atlas of Pentecostalism has created a Google Map using a static image of a picture graph of global sales of the Bible. The picture graph itself uses scaled tiles to represent the number of Bible sales and the tiles themselves are organized geographically to create a map of the world.

A picture graph was clearly not the best way to present this data. The height of each tile (not it's surface area) represents the number of sales. This on its own may cause some confusion in interpreting the data.

The height of the tiles also causes other problems, for example taller tiles necessarily obscure the tiles of smaller tiles places behind them. Turning the static image into a map does lessen the impact of this problem to a certain extent. You can zoom in on partly hidden tiles to at least have a guess at what country an obscured tile is meant to represent.

The data in the Bible Sales map also might have been more informative if it had been based on per capita sales. For example the tiles representing India and China both indicate high sales of Bibles in these countries. However using Bible sales per capita in either country would presumably present an entirely different picture. The data also represents both Bible sales and also Bibles given away in each country. Separating the Bible sales and Bible donations data in each country might have been more informative.

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