To get to the bottom of his anxiety we gave Nikos a good listening to. Here’s what we learned.
A good pie chart shows a ‘part-to-whole relationship’. Pies, like pie charts, can be sliced in various ways to show ratios in quarter, half, three quarter slices etc.
But it’s not always easy to see how much each slice represents.
Here is a pie chart with six slices. See how simple it is to determine the green slice is 25%, one quarter of the pie.
Now notice how the green slice isn’t as easy to recognise as 25% in the chart below.
The man who invented the infographic; Edward Tufte, also had a thing for pie charts.
He said ‘the only thing worse than a pie chart is several pie charts’ ¹, because ‘the viewer is asked to compare quantities located in spatial disarray both within and between pies’.
Look at the pie charts below and you get the idea.
Here’s the pie chart that got Nikos’s attention. Our carbon tracker shows the difference between various sources of electricity generation.
Like the pie charts Edward Tufte takes exception to, it might not be the best way to display this information.
The amount of power generated in New Zealand, and the source of this generation, changes month to month. We like to keep track of this to show how close we’re getting to becoming 100% renewable and the mix of resources that supply electricity to everyone in New Zealand; hydro, geothermal, wind etc.
What’s missing from our pie chart is the amount of spare capacity — the power that could be generated or used but isn’t needed on any given month.
This new bar chart shows all of the resources and how much of the total amount of energy consumed they contribute, as well as the total amount of unused capacity.
It’s a small improvement to keep our customers better informed and help us understand the potential to transition from fossil fuels.
We hope you, and Nikos, like it.