The 25 Best Data Visualizations of 2020 [Examples]

The 25 Best Data Visualizations of 2020 [Examples]
Anna Glivinska

Written by:
Anna Glivinska

Aug 18, 2021
An illustration of a woman looking at data visualizations.

Data is beautiful – it can inspire, improve lives and bring out the best in people. To keep you inspired, we’ve gathered the best data visualizations of 2020.

The chosen works cover a variety of topics from Covid-19 healthcare to environmental issue statistics and futuristic LIDAR data graphs.

With over 4.54 billion people using the Internet in 2020, we’re sure to witness even more amazing data visualizations next year. For now, get ready to dive into 2020’s best data visualizations.. Enjoy your flight of imagination!

But first, check out other top data visualizations in our previous collections from 2018 and 2019

 

1 Visualizing the History of Pandemics

The first project we have for you is an informative graphic named Visualizing the History of Pandemics by Nicholas LePan. It tells the story of all the known pandemics in the history of mankind, including the name of the disease, death toll and the approximate date the pandemic occurred.

While the exact number of victims of every disease is still under question, we can still learn from this graphic that super-spreading infections happened across all history of mankind. Statistical data of this infographic shows some diseases scaling with the growth of the population.

Striking 3D illustrations of diseases are combined with the research data from CDC, WHO, BBC, Wikipedia, Historical records, Encyclopedia Britannica and John Hopkins University. The illustrations scale according to the recorded death toll to allow scanning and recognizing data easily. 

 

2 It Fell From the Sky

Created by a UK-based designer, this infographic highlights beautiful data visualization of 34,000 meteorites that have fallen on the Earth. You will discover the map and timeline of the impacts per year, wrapped up in clean, stylish graphics. The visualization also shows spikes on the records and comparing the size of the biggest meteorites recorded. 

Meteorites hit almost all of Earth’s surface, but some areas seem untouched; this phenomenon could be connected with Earth’s magnetic fields. And who knows –  the future may bring us even more meteorites to explore! 

If you’re a fan of space and astronomy, you can learn more about meteorites from NASA website or check out this database of the Meteoritical Society. You can use our data visualization tool to create new stunning visualizations on meteorites and space  – sign up here for free. 

 

3 Mars Mission 2024 Promo Reel

Vivid, rich in details. This 3D graphic uses beautiful data visualizations to share the vision of the future. Space missions and sending people into space are shown in an eye-catching red-grey palette.

The complicated animation of terrain exploration, space module flight and surface graphics are breathtaking. For a moment, you feel like a Mars mission crew member with your eyes on the stars.

 

4 Void of the Memories

These mesmerizing circles were brought to you by one of the best-in-class street art and calligraphy authors, Pokras Lampas. Whether you would like to decipher this canvas or refer to it as a pure visual object, the unique gothic Calligrafuturism style is an eye magnet for anyone.

The project is focused on the human consciousness and the theme of dreams in the context of human memory and experience. According to the author, the future is for global unity and harmony of cultures – and it’s visible in the fusion of styles, techniques and systems used in the project graphics. 

 

5 Plastic Waste Pollution 

Based on data on the distribution of total plastic waste generation by continent, Jamie Kettle created this personal project to estimate the percentage of the plastic waste that was inadequately disposed of. 

The infographic provides a clear and precise picture on current surface plastic mass by ocean, measuring it in a creative way. We can see plastic waste management for every country in a colored bar chart. The names of the countries that report 100% of all their plastic waste handled properly are highlighted in bold. 

One of the major findings here is that the GDP of the country and efficient plastic waste management aren’t always correlated – you can see it by irregular patterns shown in the infographic.

If you are curious about plastic waste, here are some resources for you: a guide on plastic waste, detailed info on the plastic waste pollution from the UN Environment Program and Impacts of Mismanaged Trash by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

 

6 Fossil Fuels

This profound and complex visualization tells us about one of the most pressing environmental issues – the increasing amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere.

While CO2 buildup is responsible for climate change, the trend is projected to continue, and the infographic provides insight into when this could happen. It’s easy to notice a steady increase in fossil fuel emissions since the Industrial Revolution and the projected sharp rise in the concentration of carbon dioxide until 2100.

Find more data on CO2 emissions in the Our World in Data research, EPA website and Worldometer stats.

 

7 Price of a Pandemic: Poverty Spreads Around the Globe

In this classic data visualization by National Geographic, data is placed against the dark background for better contrast and readability. Simple, comprehensive charts show us the effect of the pandemic on the income of people in various countries.

The authors distributed three levels of income range for countries with low and middle class income to provide a clear picture of the current situation. Core findings of the report were that the pandemic pushed a tremendous amount of people to extreme poverty – projected data is 100 million of people living on $1.90 per person/day.

Based on the World Bank data, the infographic provides a wide view of the exact factors influencing people’s wellbeing – from travel restrictions and job loss to wars, displacements and higher food costs. Highlights at the beginning reveal rapid shrinking of income in examined countries across all continents on a mass scale.

 

8 Water Consumption 

Hidden food production costs involve a great amount of freshwater. The infographic created by Chesca Kirkland unfolds a story of water consumption required to produce certain kinds of food. 

From chocolate to cheese, coffee and beer, every product requires a certain amount of freshwater to grow or be produced. The second part of the infographic is centered on the water resources available, including the map of the water footprint per capita per year and general availability of clean water to people. 

Nominated for two C-Change Environmental and Sustainability Awards, the project won First Class Honours in Final Design Futures. Raising awareness about water sustainability is vital as we move forward to a more intelligent, AI-driven future.

We at Visme are inviting you to take up the challenge and create informative infographics that can invite change to various industry branches. Use our amazing free infographic library to create graphics for your personal projects as well as corporate or brand presentations. 

For more detailed info on the infographic creation, watch this video on the 13 major types of infographics.

 

9 Icebergs and Climate Change

Dedicated to “travel adventures” of this 4,200-square-kilometer iceberg, this infographic alerts people to climate change. A giant chunk of ice the length of Puerto Rico broke off the Antarctic peninsula coast to wander into the wild – and dangerously close to the South Georgia Island, packed with wildlife.

The graphic compares the size of the berg with 66 countries or territories, and cites that the ice mass is so large that it cannot be captured in one photograph. Besides, we can also see impressive geodata on the wildlife from the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species inhabiting the endangered South Georgia Island.

 

10 Cell Towers Map of the World

This stunning, elegant visualization of 40 million cell towers is surely an unforgettable view. Based on OpenCelliD, the world's largest open database of cell towers, this interactive map is so far one of the most precise publicly available data sources for telecom-related projects.

We can see how the cell tower network lights up Europe and other big cities of the world; simultaneously, vast areas of “wilderness” are still present on the map. Harsh climate and low population density in the northern regions of Russia and Canada, along with central areas of Africa and Mongolia result in low quantity of cell towers in these areas.

Closeup view of this cell tower map resembles the brain structure. Similar to the neurons, axons and dendrites that create the communication network of the human body – cell towers keep humanity connected.

 

11 Active Satellites in Space

Created for Scientific American, this colorful and bright data visualization displays satellites in an original way. Neat and stylish satellite cluster grids sort them by country, orbit and class – business/commercial, civil, amateur/academic or defense.

The graphic details the mass of the satellites (100 kgs - 5,000 kgs), category (Test and Training, Communications, Images, Surveillance and Meteorology, Navigation and Research) and the launch date, from Nov 1974 till Aug 2020.

According to the graphic, six countries of the world control the largest amount of the satellites in orbit, and the US owns the largest share so far.

 

12 Covid Vaccination Tracker

Updated daily, this animated Covid vaccination tracker shows the percentage of people in the world given at least one dose. The infographic displays data on the vaccination rollout plan in over 80 countries and 50 US states.

Data presented in this data visualization is sourced from the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford. Uncluttered, simple graphs show the 7-day Covid vaccination rolling average as well. Interactive charts allow you to sort the percent of population given at least one dose by country or income.

At the bottom of the page we can see the detailed, in-depth Covid-19 vaccination statistics, with type of vaccines offered (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Sinopharm, CanSino, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Covishield, Sputnik V, etc.) and vaccination priority groups for various countries separately.

 

13 Blindsight

It took 4 years to create this non-commercial self-funded project. Based on the eponymous sci-fi novel by Peter Watts, this visualization row includes breathtaking renders of the solar system, four-dimensional objects as a system of data visualization and manipulation, spacesuit interface renders, cryo capsule graphics and nonhuman species concepts.

The visualization received over a dozen awards and nominations such as Best VFX Screen Power Film Festival 2020, Outstanding Achievement Award (Sci-fi Short) Indie Short Fest LA 2020, Winner Best Sound & Music Fantasy/Sci-fi film Festival 2021, Award Winner Flickfair 2020, Official selection Miami International Sci-fi Film Festival 2021 and so on.

Space mysteries have always tempted mankind. With the outstanding talent of the team behind the project, we hope to enjoy the related movie one day.

 

14 Gravitational Waves

Introducing to you another captivating space-themed project – the interactive visualization of gravitational wave events. Created for Science News, this space-time ripples design is amazingly minimalistic, slick and informative.

This enchanting spirals animation is saturated with the useful data about the black hole mergers, or cosmic smashups. You can learn about the original and final mass of the mergers, total merger size and other details of gravitational wave events. 

 

15 Map of the Lighthouses of Ireland

 

This great animation was created as a part of 30 Day Map Challenge and it depicts all lighthouses in Ireland according to their timing and flash patterns. Here, the author visualizes data from the IrishLights – the maritime organization delivering the safety service around the coast of Ireland. 

Aside from being a vital part of the water safety of coastal waterways, lighthouses are a symbol of hope and undying light even through the toughest circumstances. That’s one of the reasons why this minimalistic graphic is so appealing.

 

16 Together [Hierarchical Positions of Employees in a Corporation]

Look at this creative way of displaying the hierarchical organization structure in a large corporation with a presence in over 100 countries. This graphic looks fun and a bit otherworldly, with muffled but contrasting colors.

Linking C-level executives to their subordinates in every branch revealed an intricate and complex corporation structure. It’s suggested that in most cases, flat patterns would fail to represent company structures correctly because of the flexibility of human relations.

 

17 The Search for Dark Matter

The search for the ever elusive and intriguing dark matter continues. The problem isn’t likely to get solved any time soon – but here is a striking infographic for you to follow the lead.

Quanta Magazine created this data visualization to represent the types of particles that dark matter could be made of. Axions, WIMPs, ultralight dark matter or primordial black holes – any of these could be a star candidate. 

Distributing every particle type along the scale according to their mass, the visualization also provides clear, concise descriptions for every type. Additionally, you can dive into the experiments’ data. Are you the one to solve the new puzzle in particle physics?

 

18 2020 Autonomous Vehicle Technology Report

Concise and lean, this comprehensive report draws focus to autonomous vehicle technology and provides an insight into the hardware & software market for self-driving vehicles. 

The report starts from the visualization explaining levels of autonomous vehicle capabilities in context of the environment. We learn that the greatest challenge for Google (Waymo), Uber and other companies building self-driving vehicles is to enable the vehicle to adjust to all driving scenarios.

Sensory technology is an essential part of autonomous vehicles, and they’re designed to build an environment map and localize themselves inside that map at the same time. This requires huge computational technologies – maps created by AI systems and humans are of great help here.

Further in the report, we see the visualization of electromagnetic spectrum and its usage for perception sensors, graphics of the time-of-flight (ToF) principle of environment sensing and various object detection sensor types such as radars, cameras, LIDARs, MEMS, etc. The next visualization covers different sets of sensors used for autonomy by Tesla, Volvo-Uber and Waymo. 

Short, clean-cut schemes of the AI architecture of autonomous vehicles, the computation/decision making environment of an autonomous vehicle and the concept of vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication complete the report.

 

19 The U.S. Election Twitter Network Graph Tool

These cutting edge visuals from the U.S. Election Twitter Network Graph Tool enables a viewer to analyze social media interactions that define the online political landscape. In this case, we’re tracking influence and connections between various political figures.

It’s clearly visible which accounts the target account is most likely to mention or reply to. The network graphs clearly show the potential of certain accounts to generate new connections and influence their followers.

You can search for specific nodes in the interactive map. All information flow between nodes is reflected in the color of the node edges. Working together with other open-source investigation tools, this graph is meant to increase transparency and help fight misinformation in social networks.

 

20 Map of a Fly Brain

The high-resolution nervous system map represented in the above graphic is a part of the fruit-fly’s brain – yet the complexity and harmony of the structure is astounding. 

Millions of connections between 25,000 neurons create a wiring diagram, or connectome, of connections in various parts of a fruit fly’s brain.

It’s estimated that tracking all neuron connections in the fruit fly’s brain manually would need 250 people working for 20 years at least. Google’s computational power has helped to speed up this research, and scientists are aiming to create a full fruit fly brain visualization by 2022.

 

21 Freight Rail Works

Our next visualization highlights the advanced layers of technology Freight Rail Works uses across its infrastructure. Talented Danil Krivoruchko & Aggressive/Loop teams produced a futuristic and dynamic animation of the data-world around a train in motion.

Magnificent waves of data light up outlines of the objects and then vanish in waves as the train moves forward to the smart city. Graphics of the giant city cluster zoom out to reveal the continent routes and the beauty of a simple railway communications network. 

In the era of semi-autonomous aircrafts and drones, the simple, down-to-earth railway system looks stable but innovative in this graphic.

 

22 The Korean Clusters

Korean hospitals and churches experienced a burst of Covid infections among their visitors in January 2020. Having linked connections between the confirmed cases, scientists were able to trace back the first case and build a tree of contacts between the affected people.

Tracking the timeline of the first patient’s actions revealed that this person caused thousands of infections. Wandering sick for a few days resulted in over 30 more people infected. Subsequently, the Shincheonji Church cluster with 5,016 infected people accounted for at least 60% of all cases in South Korea at that time.

 

23 2020’s Biggest Tech Mergers and Acquisitions

Despite the fact that for most businesses 2020 was a devastating year with grim outcomes, this data visualization shows that Big Tech experienced a growth boost. It’s not surprising that people working remotely increasingly need digital services of all kinds.

The graphic shows the biggest tech mergers and acquisitions closed in 2020, together with the short description of the acquired company, acquiring company, deal amount and deal date. While the chart is visually busy, it’s also innovative and visually appealing.

If you need a market report from your industry area, grab the data from Crunchbase and build your own custom branded infographic via our data visualization tool quickly and easily. Sign up free.

 

24 Stolen Paintings

This wonderful visualization was created for Visual Data, a column on "La Lettura," the cultural supplement of "Corriere Della Sera."

Since 1900 to present day, the infographic reveals the details of 40 stolen paintings. Neutral, minimalistic visuals highlight the painting’s artist, the year when the painting was created and the year of theft. 

It was shocking to find out that the majority of thefts took place during the last 20 years (2000-2020) – and most of the art works have never been recovered.

 

25 House Of Cards LIDAR

House of Cards from Brendan Dawes on Vimeo.

Take a look at the last cool data visualization in this list – the rework of Radiohead's House of Cards video. This astonishing art was created on the basis of around one minute of the LIDAR data.

Motion graphics of particles scattered around a person’s face create an unforgettable image. The hero of the story in the video is clearly emotional – but we can’t tell anymore whether this person is even human. 

AI generated data can be beautiful, but how can you take control?

 

Create Your Own Data Visualizations

If you are feeling inspired by these data visualizations, use our data visualization software to convert disparate data into clean, comprehensive visuals. 

To learn more about creating your own data visualizations, check out our detailed guide on data visualization types and the introduction to data viz on our blog.

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    About the Author

    Anna enjoys hot weather, collecting shells, and solving challenges in B2B marketing. She delights in thinking about abstract ideas and analyzing complex information to choose the best solution.

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