Author Archives: Doug McNeall

Playing “hunt the discontinuity”

TL;DR Viridis is a better palette than Rainbow for identifying a subtle feature in data. How does a plot’s colour palette affect our ability to find a subtle feature in data? Friend and colleague of Better Figures Tim Graham came up with a fun way to find out. Tim sent some Python code to plot a nice […]

How many Rainbows at EGU 2018?

How are we doing in getting rid of the dreaded rainbow colour scheme in scientific visualisations? On a whim, I asked for people to count presentations or posters with Rainbow palettes at this year’s meeting of European Earth sciences mega-meeting, the EGU general assembly. Many thanks to those that stepped up. This was clearly a […]

Better figures at BAS

Better figures got a lovely reception at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in Cambridge today. A tour of the building (ask to see the albatross), a cool mapping lab, and an engaged audience. Polar scientists have an interesting set of visualisation problems – including the fact that one of their primary interests (sea ice extent, […]

Better figures awards?

After seeing John Kennedy’s new visualisation of warming by latitude, Richard Erskine (@essaysconcern) suggested that there should be awards for climate visualisation. We heartily agree here at Better Figures, there is so much excellent work going on that should be highlighted, celebrated and shared. We could certainly do an annual round up of the best […]

New adventures in global temperatures

I caught up with Met Office data visualiser extraordinaire (and old chum), Neil Kaye, to talk about the process of making his new plot on visualising global temperatures, and why he made certain decisions. Here is the plot: Doug: What gave you the idea for the plot, what was the inspiration? Neil: Originally the idea was […]

A class act

A really nice example of the use of colour in a map here. The image is from a new paper on the relationships between cold weather, influenza and mortality in Nature Climate Change (ht Ed Hawkins). The authors have chosen a simple monochrome palette, and the map is clear from any distracting clutter. I guess […]

A significant achievement

What an achievement! Yesterday, the lovely perceptually accurate open source colour palette, Viridis (we discussed it here) turned up in a major paper. The paper itself was on some gravity discovery or something, but we need to focus on what’s important here. Well done everyone.