Steve from wikibudgets.org posted a comment calling attention to a new free web app they have launched on their website.

This is a straight-forward drawing tool for simple left-to-right distribution diagrams. On the website just pick a node (called “budget” there) and an arrow (called “transfer”), add amount, choose color. The elements can be dragged freely in the browser window. Easy zooming with mouse wheel or double-click on an element. The ‘Save Image’ command from the browser’s context menu lets you store a PNG file.

The motto of wikibudgets.org is to “Visualise public budgets. Rationalise politics. Tackle Corruption. Eliminate waste. Fight bureaucracy.” The Sankey diagrams everyone can produce with this tool aim at visualizing financial transfers in US$.

According to the wikibudgets.org blog this is a first early release of the open source Sankey app for desktop UI. Touch friendly editing for mobile devices is under development.

Added to the list of Sankey software.

The ‘Landscape of Climate Finance’ is a project by the Climate Policy Initiative. CPI “works to improve the most important energy and land use policies around the world, with a particular focus on finance. (This) helps nations grow while addressing increasingly scarce resources and climate risk.”

At http://www.climatefinancelandscape.org/ the have put up graphically appealing and beautifully crafted slideshow with facts on climate finance. How much is spent? Where does the money go to? Who are the receiving countries. Please browse the slideshow here.

Below are two Sankey diagrams from the 2013 report on climate finance.

The first is a rather coarse overview showing the international funding of climate projects by OECD countries and Non-OECD countries. On the right side the recipients breakdown: within their own borders, OECD countries, Non-OECD countries. Details on the countries are available in the report. Flows are in billion US$.

The other Sankey diagram is more complex. Here we can see the sources of climate finance and intermediate agents, the instruments, the recipients and the uses (adaptation and mitigation).

The incoming flows from the left are mostly “not estimated” (NE) and therefore are not to scale with the outgoing arrows. There are many annotations on assumptions and constraints, so please don’t make conclusions directly from the image. In the online version one can hover over the nodes to receive more information.

Congratulations to CPI for this work. They are tackling a complex issue graphically, and make good use of Sankey diagrams for visualization.

The below is a section from a larger Sankey diagram by Adrián Chiogna, shown at visualize.org. This is for budget flow and activity based costing.

Check out the full image at visualize.org.

From Katie Nieland’s early bird desgin blog, this Sankey diagram shows an average US family’s tax burden.
Income tax goes to the national budget that is further broken down to show spendings.

More than half of the tax load is social security tax, another 1,016 US$ us medicare. Out of the 9,983 US$ taxes some 1,016 US$ go to national defense.

Data for this average Joe Taxpayer is from ‘Your 2010 Federal Taxpayer Receipt’ by whitehouse.gov

Carl-Johan Skoeld of China-based strategic advisory firm Stenvall Skoeld & Company presented the following Sankey diagram in his recent post on ‘How a 31-year old Shanghai office worker spends his money’.


(Stenvall Skoeld & Company via ChartPorn)

This is a fine sample of a Sankey diagram that merits some more explanation:
In fact, these are two combined Sankey diagrams. The overall sum of 10,000 RMB income breaks down to some 25% taxes, 19% savings and 56% spendings (consumption). The Sankey arrow representing the disposable income is then zoomed to allow for more detail to be seen. Hence the Sankey arrows in the left part of the diagram are not the same scale as the ones on the right. The arrows branching out to the top are considered “necessities”, while the one that go downwards represent “discretionary spendings”. Circles at the end of the arrow show the amount in Chinese currency. As the author points out, “this example is from one of the respondents and not an average of all respondents.”

Blog reader W. Rufer sent a scan of a Sankey diagram from his favourite soccer magazine.

Rufer writes: “I found this rather unusual Sankey diagram in a German soccer magazine called 11Freunde (11Friends). It visualizes the career of French international Nicolas Anelka in terms of transfer and lending fees. He started in the youth team of Paris Saint-Germain, changed to their first team in 1995 and got sold to Arsenal for 750’000 € (left side of the Sankey diagram). From there he made his way through Europe, sometimes for incredible transfer fees of about 35 million €. Now, as a rather old player, he earns his money in China.”

The legend also has grey arrows, when Anelka was “on loan” to another club. The change to his current club was without tranfer fee (different blue).

In a post on the winners of the SND 31 competition over at the Infographics News Blog I found the below diagram on the President’s Budget. Originally published by the Washington Post it has won an Award of Excellence in the 31st edition of the Society of News Design contest in the Infographics / Breaking News section.

It is not really a Sankey diagram, since the arrows are not explicitly directed. But it has weighted arrows/bands, in this case representing $$$. This infographic was maybe inspired by this one from Spain that was – after lengthy discussion – named a “distribution diagram”.

I cropped the lower part of the infographic that had details on the deficit as bar chart. See original, full infographic file here.

Two more infographics in this post have characteristics of Sankey diagrams, and I might post them here on the Sankey Diagrams blog, if I run out of ideas one day…

A tiny example, but fun to see: income statement, apparently for a webhosting company. Operational Expenses (OPEX) in light blue, cost of goods sold (COGS) in light brown, net income in green. No currency given, I think this is just to convey the idea of “money flows” and to give an idea how data can be presented other than in tables.

This is from a post called “5 exciting alternatives to boring power points” at Speaking Power Point.

The detail shows though that even if Sankey diagrams are “sexier” than tables, you still need to pay attention to the details when drawing them. This one was apparently made in Power Point by joining shapes and arrows. Which wasn’t all that successful in some places, as the detail shows. Would have been better to use a Sankey diagram software.