Jan 12, 2021
I really enjoyed this visual story by ProPublica and Honolulu Star-Advertiser about the plight of beaches in Hawaii (link).
The story begins with a beautiful invitation:
This design reminds me of Vimeo's old home page. (It no longer looks like this today but this screenshot came from when I was the data guy there.) In both cases, the images are not static but moving.
The tour de force of this visual story is an annotated walk along the Lanikai Beach. Here is a snapshot at one of the stops:
This shows a particular homeowner who, according to documents, was permitted to rebuild a destroyed seawall even though officials were supposed to disallow reconstruction in order to protect beaches from eroding. The property is marked on the map above. The image inside the box is a gif showing waves smashing the seawall.
As the reader scrolls down, the image window runs through a carousel of gifs of houses along the beach. The images are synchronized to the reader's progress along the shore. The narrative makes stops at specific houses at which point a text box pops up to provide color commentary.
The erosion crisis is shown in this pair of maps.
There's some fancy work behind the scenes to patch together images, and estimate the boundaries of th beaches.
The following map is notable for its simplicity. There are no unnecessary details and labels. We don't need to know the name of every street or a specific restaurant. Removing excess details makes readers focus on the informative parts.
Clicking on the dots brings up more details.
Enjoy the entire story here.
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