The Marimekko chart or analytical patchwork

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What data can we show on a regular bar chart? How many variables can we use? For those who answered ‘not enough’ the Marimekko chart may be the answer.

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What is the Marimekko chart? This type of chart is a 100 percent stacked barchart where the width of the bar is proportional to its share in the total value. The height of a segment in the bar depends on its percentage share of the total value of the whole bar. The bar width and segment height may be additionally modified by quantitative variables.

What can this type of data presentation be used for?  First and foremost, it serves as a great graphic representation of a crosstab.  A classic example of this is the visualisation used to represent survival rates of passengers of the Titanic . Here, the values are compared in terms of the class the passengers occupied and their gender.

We will use the Marimekko chart with qualitative and quantitative variables.

Holidays are a very pleasant time of year especially if it is not only a break from work but also a sightseeing trip. The worst part is when we have to come back and tally up the trip expenses. I will try to put a silver lining on the latter using the Marimekko chart.

Our data set is spending records for a two-week trip to Italy for two: visited places, costs incurred and their purpose.

The Marimekko chart.

What can we see in the visualisation?  The couple visited four cities, the cheapest stay being in Pisa;  the bar for this city is the thinnest and constitutes only 13% of the whole budget. The most expensive were their visits to Florence and Rome costing them 33% and32% of their budget respectively. Unfortunately, we do not know how long the lucky couple stayed in individual cities, but the chart shows that the accommodation in the capital took the largest share of their budget (49% of the costs for that city) and lodging in Pisa took the smallest share (11% of costs for that city).

We can conclude that the Eternal City, whilst not the cheapest in terms ofhotel costs, provided cheaper sightseeing which took up only 20% of the whole budget for Rome. Alternatively, it could be that our couple were the more enchanted by the capital of Tuscany on the basis that sightseeing in Florence amounted to 42% of their Tuscany expenditure.

With the budget reviewed, the couple can now relive their trip, enjoy the photos and plan for their next holiday :)


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