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XanGregg
Staff
Better late than never: Remaking pie charts for Pi Day

The week of Pi Day was eventful for JMP this year. We hosted our European JMP Discovery Summit in Frankfurt and rolled out JMP 14 on Pi Day itself. All that preempted my usual Pi Day activity of making the world a better place, #onelesspie at a time, but now it’s time to do my duty. I was glad to see that Kaiser Fung carried on the tradition by remaking a pie chart on his Junk Charts blog. 

First, I would like to clarify our purpose in replacing bad pie charts. It often gets misconstrued as seeking to replace all pie charts, which is not the case. Sometimes an unadorned pie chart with few slices is fine in less analytical contexts. And sometimes it’s hard to represent the pie chart’s cumulative part-to-whole relationship in other simple charts, as Jon Schwabish wrote about earlier this year, in F**k it, let’s use pie charts. Nonetheless, pie charts are still an iconic (sometimes literally) chart form and are often overused for data that doesn’t fit or are adorned with special effects that obscure the data.

So I continue the (delayed) effort to replace one bad pie chart at a time. Or, because of my delay, I'm replacing two pie charts, both 3D pie charts with poor labeling found in a Wikipedia article on the English village of Woodmancote.

 

 pie1.jpgOccupations_in_Woodmancote,_2011.jpg

(Attribution: CC-BY-SA, Rtaylor94)

 

For replacements, I made simple bar charts, using the same data and categories.

 

 Occupations_of_Woodmancote_1881.png   Occupations_of_Woodmancote_2011.png

 

With direct labeling, there is no need to give each occupation its own color, and we can instead use color to distinguish the special unknown/non-specified categories.

See you next Pi Day, but I’ll be on the lookout for wayward pie charts all year long, and I hope you will too.