We're flooded with information every day. To capture a reader's attention, it's critical to provide your points in a lean way. It also means that we now like to consume news in a much more visual way.
Particular international stories could be told more visually, for instance by using maps. We already see maps trending on social media, but I think also traditional media could use maps more frequently and effectively to tell their stories.
Take the current story about Hurricane Matthew as an example. I want to show you a map, see the image above, that has been created using Swiss Re's CatNet which includes just three elements: the location, the wind footprint and the property value distribution.
These three things combined in a map can tell you many interesting things. For instance it can demonstrate the situation as-is. Matthew, the most powerful storm to hit the Caribbean in almost a decade affected a very large area. It meant that the Bahamas saw both its centers, Nassau and Freeport, which are more than 200km apart, almost a direct hit by the storm. Quite a low probability.
Maps also allow you to see how different scenarios could have played out. CatNet shows if Matthew's eye had passed 50 miles to the west, i.e. along a similar track like Hurricane David in 1979, the impact from West Palm Beach to Jacksonville could have caused a large-scale disaster. The storm could have kept its energy over the warm sea for a long distance.
As someone who is interested in how catastrophes affect the world, I think maps can shows more than thousand words. What do you think? Let me know if you'd like to find out more.
Category: Climate/natural disasters: Floods/storms
Location: Florida, United States