by Willem Klumpenhouwer
In 2016, 284,548,423 tonnes of goods were moved by rail to, from, or within Canada. That's over half the weight of all humans on earth.
Statistics Canada regularly collects and publishes information on the tonnage of goods that move in and between provinces and regions in North America. Because this data involves flows between and within regions, it is a good candidate for visualization with a
Below, you can view flows between regions as represented by "chords" moving between the edges of a circle. The width of the chord as it meets the edge of the circle represents the proportion of goods that moved
Hover over an individual chord to see the flows between those regions, or hover over a portion of the circle to isolate those flows from the rest of the diagram. Use the dropdown to select individual commodity groupings as provided by Statistics Canada, or choose "all commodities" to see the total amount of traffic.
From this single diagram, we can gain a lot of insight about how goods are moving in the country by rail. Here are a few examples:
This is the power of good visualizations. They allow us to think about our data in multiple ways at once, and interactivity allows for exploration of the data and spurs further questions which we can dig into further. The chord diagram shows proportionality, movement, and comparitive relationships all at the same time. It's one of my favourite diagrams.