kulturometer.org presented a fantastic diagram that shows the municipality of Madrid’s spendings in cultural activities in 2009. By compiling data from numerous tables, tender calls, and administrative bulletins, they managed to stunningly visualize what one commenter called an ‘information overload’ (‘apagón informativo’). Click on the diagram to enlarge.

This is a breakdown diagram, or ‘diagrama de brazos’, that shows the distribution of the overall cultural budget (182 Mio Euros in 2009) by sectors, sub-sectors, and even into individual types of activities or projects.

It somewhat reminds me of Nicholas Rapp’s AIG bailout diagram, even though less colorful…

Each branch of the diagram is labeled with the relative weight in percent, as well as the absolute value in millions of Euros. The color scale indicates the reliability of the data, either non detailed estimate (light grey), published estimate (grey), or published budgeted data (black).

Here is the full diagram in large scale (PDF) with an additional breakdown of one particular section (Medialab) at another scale and full legend and annotations
Watch a slide show to learn more about the diagram (starting p 19)
– And finally, a blowup detail of a diagram section:

One type of Sankey diagram layout seems to get popular recently. A representation of national energy flows of a country with the energy carriers on the left side (source), and the consumption sectors on the right side (sink). The Sankey flows in between show how energy from these sources are consumed and in which sector. Wasted energy is shown, and the overall energy (in)efficient use of primary energy is made clear with such a Sankey diagram.

I just discovered the energy flow diagram for Spain for 2006 on Joan Vila’s blog.

Unfortunately I don’t speak Catalán (well, I learned that “blog” is “bloc” in Catalán!), and the image quality isn’t very good. You can see nuclear, natural gas, coal (“carbó”) and crude oil (“petroll”), as well as hydro an wind (the two green lines) on the left side. The top box on the right side that takes the big red Sankey arrow for losses from electricity generation (“pérdues”). The others are the use sectors transport, industry, and domestic / services / agriculture. Vila calculates an efficiency of 38,2% for the electric power generation.

Joan advocates Sankey diagrams for visualizing and being able to better understand the issue. He says, that you won’t understand many things about what’s going on, if you don’t study this [kind of] diagram (“No entendrem moltes coses sobre el que passa si no estudiem aquest diagrama.”).

Check out simiular diagrams for Japan, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, United States.