Getting Scatterbrained with Scatter and Bubble Plots

Visualizing Correlations with Connected & Animated Scatter & Bubble Plots

Seems like I’ve gotten a bit obsessed with scatter plots and bubble plots lately over on Digital Splash Media. I’ve been looking at correlations of certain health risk factors like sugar consumption and physical activity levels and how those relate to obesity rates and heart disease death rates in the US, Canada and several western EU countries. Here’s a quick summary:

Animated Health Visualization: Sugar Consumption-BMI

First, I improved on the animated scatter plot video experiment that I posted here a couple of weeks ago, by painstakingly animating bubbles for 14 countries over 24 years, resulting in this video.

Next, in Inactivity vs Sugar – Correlation to Obesity Rates, I went with more traditional, static scatter plots to show correlation of two health variables to obesity rates; sugar consumption and physical activity levels. Here’s the scatter plot of physical activity levels to obesity rates.


Next, it occurred to me that instead of animating several scatter plots over time as I did in the above video, I could have created connected scatter plots, so I explored the same sugar consumption to BMI data set as I did with the video but this time generating several connected scatter plots. Here’s a sampling of small multiples of those connected scatter plots. See the rest here.



Finally, I began exploring relationships of physical activity levels to cardiovascular disease and obesity rates using Density Design’s RAW tool.


In all this data viz exploration of correlations I’ve come up with a new method for creating scatter plots and bubble plots using a combination of tools such as RAW, Plotly and Adobe Illustrator that’s much quicker than using Illustrator alone. I’m planning to put together a downloadable tutorial for that in the next few weeks, so if you’re interested in that, stay tuned.