Mes chers amis: ‘How not to Sankey’

A presentation from 2005 on the French energy flows included the Sankey diagram below (I prefer not to name the author or the link to the original source, in order not to embarass anybody).

This Sankey diagram is pretty much messed up, and definitely a candidate for the “Worst Sankey Diagram Contest” that has already been called for. It took me a few seconds to understand that the flows dangling vertically below the blue arrow are actually a breakdown of the 177 mtep consommation finale. Vraiment … j’ai vu mieux que ├ža!

This is more or less how I would do it. Less colors, a breakdown of the blue flow into the five consumption sectors.


  1. Gabor says:

    This is what happens, when a user pieces together a Sankey diagram by using the arrows available from the drawing shapes available in Microsoft Office. You sort of get something like a Sankey, but unless you keep the bent arrows square (width=heigth) you get distortions and thus violations of energy conservation. The dangling flows to show contributions are wrong in any case.

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