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311 Scale [311scale.jp] by the Nippon Design Center aims to provide historical as well as real-time information about the "Great East Japan Earthquake" and the state of Japan today, through the use of a "single integrated visual language".

In particular, the website offers a small set of minimalistically-styled visualizations that focus on the various aspects of the disaster, including the earthquake, the tsunami, the nuclear radiation and the actual electricity power usage. Be sure to actively explore around, as not everything is clearly labeled as being clickable.

Interestingly, this website follows an explicit policy that states:


  • 1) No dramatization,
  • 2) No opinions,
  • 3) Communication that can be easily understood by people around the world, and
  • 4) Maximum possible accuracy


which somehow sounds like a quite succinct but accurate definition of "data visualization" to me. Or is something missing?

PS. For those interested, the New York Times also has an interesting interactive overview graphic on the same topic.

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