Radial: Study 1


In short: Each New York cab journey is a point. The distance from the center is the distance of the journey and the position around the circle is the time (on a 24 hour clock-face, midnight at the top, 12 noon at the bottom). Color is to show the time of day.

Description: This image is a form of presenting data that is incredibly underused, radially. The clock face is also something that is entirely outdated. Each yellow cab journey is on the image, with the distance from the central of the image being the distance of the journey. The angle is the time-of-day with “up” being midnight and moving clockwise from there, down being midday. By doing this, so much more detail can be seen in the data, when compared to standard diagrams or graphs. The outer band provides an indication of distance as it mostly represents the Manhattan-JFK airport route. The radial “spokes” of data show the times at which journeys preferentially take place. The simplicity of the circle is approachable, but the detail and indications of when and how far New Yorkers take yellow cabs draws the viewer in as their curiosity is piqued.

Point of interest: From this image we can see the working hours of people in Manhattan, and though they appear to arrive at work at set times, they rarely leave on time. Or rather leave the city on time. And as for the city-that-never-sleeps, it seems there’s a power-nap to be had between 3 and 4am….

Technical: 6 months of yellow cab trip data for (Jan-Jun 2015) available at https://nycopendata.socrata.com/. Each journey is a point plotted radially with the distance from the center relating to distance and the angle being a 24hr clock face. The color is added as an indication of time-of-day only. The summation is weighted for distance from the center, also to provide an unbiased distribution of points.


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