Sam Brenner’s Sankey Diagram Generator

Sam Brenner, interactive design and development student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, has finished version 0.2 of his ‘Sankey Generator’ tool.

Inspired by state federal budgets Sam pursues to display financial figures in a clear and comprehensible way. Sources of state income are on the left, spendings on the right. As Sam says himself, this is still work in progress. “Iā€™m trying to make a dynamic Sankey Diagram generator (…) What I would like to end up with is a program that can take numeric data like a budget and turn it into a diagram…”.

See that small step at the bottom of the middle part? Hey, here you have the “deficit”…

Interesting new tool. Not sure if the Sankey Generator tool will reach a status that would allow Sam to release it publicly, but have added it to my Sankey software list anyway. Hope version 0.3 has some fancier colors, though šŸ˜‰


  1. phineas says:

    Maybe Sam’s choice of color is not arbitrary, but motivated historically. There are at least two similar Sankey diagrams for budgets, that use black:
    – one from 1940 shown in this post
    – one by Nigel Holmes in his 1999 book “Understanding USA”

  2. Sam says:

    Hey, thanks for the post! Right now I am pulling data out of Obama’s economic stimulus plan – even though it’s quite large, I’m finding it much easier to understand (for someone who is fairly unfamiliar with economics) than the NY budget I was using. Then I have a little bit of coding to do and I should be able to produce the large-scale graphic that I’m aiming for.

    Phineas, I was very influenced by the IBM estimated budget chart. I hadn’t seen the Nigel Holmes one before, that is interesting as well. I don’t see a strong need for color for the kind of data I’m using, at least as far as getting the information across goes. It’s the high contrast of the diagrams that attracted me to them in the first place.

  3. phineas says:

    Go to Sam Brenner’s blog to see what he has done in versions 0.3 and 0.4

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