The New York Times : A graphic story

The US newspaper uses interactive graphics and other multimedia to explain the effects of Hurricane Harvey.

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The feature

On 27th August 2017, The New York Times published an online article about the effects on Houston, Texas of Hurricane Harvey.
The article includes an animated interactive map that shows cumulative rainfall across an area of Texas over time. The map appears to use a live feed of data from the US National Weather Service: the data itself remained up to date two days after the original publication of the article.
If users hover their mouse over a point on the map, a bar chart appears showing rainfall per hour in that particular area.
The article also includes a range of static maps illustrating various aspects of the hurricane’s effects – plus a video, based on satellite images, showing the hurricane’s path.

The takeaway

Although photographs, interviews and other ‘traditional’ journalistic techniques have proven to be powerful tools for explaining the impact of Hurricane Harvey, this article from The New York Times shows how interactive graphics can be used to explain complex events in new ways.
Moreover, by using constantly-updated sources of information to ‘feed’ such graphics, they can be kept fresh without being manually edited.
Approaches such as this could prove useful to web managers who want to explain various aspects of their business in engaging ways – while minimising the burden of future maintenance.
First published 06 September, 2017
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