Did you ever study a table with many large numbers, where the moment you put it away you realized nothing from what you just saw had stuck? I guess most of us suffer from this handicap that large numbers are difficult to absorb or evaluate.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could use a similar method to convert numbers into symbols on Wikipedia? Now we can:
Using fast and slow traffic to symbolize land size was a compromise. I tried many symbols but most didn’t work at this small size. Suggestions welcome.
The following image is a tiny section from a huge table, that compares all European countries (and then some), in terms of population, land area, GDP. You can see at a glance that Russia is much larger in land area than my country: the Netherlands. Who would have thought 🙂
What did surprise me was that Russia’s GDP is not even 3 times as much a that of the Netherlands. I told several people and they hardly believed. (click to zoom)
Also, instead of presenting the raw numbers I show all metrics as percentages of the EU total, which makes it much easier to evaluate and even remember some of them, especially when you see the full table with European countries (and a few more).