This is a piece that was created for the Tableau  #data14 #vizasart contest  While traveling through California on Holiday last week, I was struck by the different levels of attention paid to the drought.   From the assumed political correctness of Northern California, to the angry “Congress created dust bowl” signs along the I5, to the humorous public service announcements in Southern California about “Breaking-up with your green lawn”, the drought was present all along the state.   I wanted to create an artistic piece based on precipitation data to convey the lack of rain and its effects.

The panels represent precipitation by day from January 2000 through July 2014 (x axis) and hour (y axis), and the data is courtesy of  Weather Source.   The upper panel is data from San Francisco and the lower from Los Angeles, representing the long time often caustic relationship between these cities on many fronts, including water supply and usage (and of course baseball). 

The divergent color scale of gold to blue was chosen to reflect the landscape of California.   The barren effect that is created by the gold color in contrast to the sparse “rain” drops of blue precipitation data is meant to reflect a dry California - a  much too “Golden State” burnt out.  The blue rain falls within a column for each day leaving a line, much like a ring on a tree, revealing the history of precipitation.

I remember a drought when I was growing up and all the low tech things we did to help conserve – putting a brick in your toilet tank to reduce water usage, short shower drills, etc.  I wanted this Viz as Art piece to reflect the basic things that can be done to conserve water.   While many of my usual pieces focus on fancy formatting, and calculations to achieve viz affects, this one uses just two simple heat maps.  I did however chose to leave in the tool-tips.  Trying to find a hover that shows an actual precipitation value is extremely difficult reflecting the scarcity of water.    

Enjoy and please conserve water.