This project started over the course of the summer when reading about the 60 year anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. A few infographics had been published presenting the tests that had preceded and followed this event.
I started wondering about the data behind those infographics. Where they easy to collect (Nuclear testing could be classified for certain obvious reasons), which information would be available.
It turned out that Nuclear testing is a quite well documented subject. Quite quickly I have found some sources describing in details the tests that have occurred with dates, names, and various other metrics such as the power or the height at which the event happened, allowing me to have more insights on the topic.
At the same time, I was also taking benefits of the summer break to catch up on my blog reading list and was reading about the use of “scrolling” in data visualisation on Jim Vallandingham’s blog. Finding this format particularly useful for storytelling, I decided to try applying it to an example and what’s best than the data
I have gathered the information I needed to produce my story, focusing on the tests, the treaties and the number of nuclear weapons. Once I had a story line, I have produced the accompanying charts to go along the “story”.
The charts have been produced using mostly d3.js.
The scrolling format allows to go through the story in a natural way. The charts and texts evolve smoothly while you’re going down the page.
It is important to interact with the charts to get as much information as you can from them. Thus, the map (screenshot below) needs to be played in its entirety to realize how many test have happened, how often and where (you just need to play the yellow button).
The dark background has been picked intentionally in line with the topic treated. The first sentence in the text “Are humans really the only species willing to play with a technology they don’t fully comprehend and master?”, is a direct reference to a science-fiction comic that has marked me as a child: Valérian, agent spatio-temporel and more specifically the Métro Châtelet direction Cassiopée and Brooklyn station terminus cosmos episodes.
I have also published each graphics individually. They can be seen at the following locations:
- One presenting the cumulative number of test over time (Nuclear tests: time series)
- One on the number of tests per country and per year (Nuclear tests: Tests per country over time)
- One on the cumulative number of test per country (Nuclear tests: number per country)
- One on the type of tests: (Nuclear tests: the types)
- One on the height at which the tests have occurred (Nuclear tests: height)
- A map recapitulating the exact location of the tests over time and their power (Nuclear tests: the map)
- One presenting the stock of nuclear weapons over time per country (Nuclear tests: the weapons)