The 14 Best Visual Capitalist Infographics of 2014 - Visual Capitalist
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The 14 Best Visual Capitalist Infographics of 2014

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The 14 Best Visual Capitalist Infographics of 2014
For the final post of 2014, we’ve decided to come up with a list of the best original infographics of 2014 that were posted on the site. We based the list on a variety of criteria including views, comments from our audience, social media shares, and our own subjective opinion.

Click on any link below to visit the full version of each infographic on the list.

Also, if you don’t already get our daily infographics and other visual content, make sure you connect with us here.

14. How 3D Printing is Shaping Business


How 3D Printing is Shaping Business

Our 3D Printing infographic showed how additive manufacturing technology works, as well as how it may impact industries in the future. While consumer electronics is currently the biggest market with 22% market share, as adoption increases, 3D printing is expected to set to change the business of medicine, defense, vehicle manufacturing, jewelry, and much more.

13. How to Test for Fake Gold or Silver


How to Test for Fake Gold or Silver

This summer, working with Silver.com, we showed how bullion buyers can test for fake gold or silver. In recent years there have been various concerning cases of bullion counterfeiting, and so investors should be aware of these methods to ensure their gold and silver are the real deal.

12. A New Vision of the Mining Company of the Future


A New Vision of the Mining Company of the Future

We presented a vision of the Mining Company of the Future in this infographic and accompanying video version. Mining companies today face a complexity of problems: spiraling costs, government intervention, deepening pits, lower ore grades, and declining productivity are just some of the issues. These graphics convey a framework developed by KIN Catalyst through years of conferences, consultation, and hard work.

11. Is Vancouver a Legitimate Tech Hub?


Is Vancouver a Legitimate Tech Hub?

If you’re asking yourself if Vancouver is able to directly compare with Silicon Valley, the answer is a resolute “no”. To put things in perspective, Silicon Valley boasts at least 10x more tech employees, 20x more venture capital deals, and an unsurpassed track record of success. In fact, California alone grabbed a hefty 47% of all North American venture capital funding in 2013. However, the Canadian city is trending in the right direction and in this infographic we look at the evidence on both sides.

10. Peak Population


Peak Population

By 2100, our global population is to be between 9.6 and 12.3 billion. In the first part of our Peak Population Series we look at the crunch that a growing global population will put on natural resources.

9. Medical Marijuana in Canada


Medical Marijuana in Canada

On April 1, 2014, Canadian legislation changed significantly around medical marijuana. In our Medical Marijuana in Canada infographic we look at the new regulations, the market for medical cannabis, and its uses and treatments.

8. Everything You Need to Know About the Swiss Gold Referendum


Everything You Need to Know About the Swiss Gold Referendum

In November, Switzerland had a potential game-changing referendum on their central bank’s use of gold. The vote ended up being a firm “no”, but in this Swiss Referendum infographic we looked at the potential implications that a “yes” vote would have brought in Switzerland and the rest of the world.

7. The Definitive History of Bitcoin


The Definitive History of Bitcoin

We put together an ambitious five year history of Bitcoin together all the way from its inception to the end of 2013. See the Definitive History of Bitcoin in all of its glory as every notable event is compiled in one place in beautiful detail.

6. The Many Phases of Silver (Silver Series)


The Silver Series

In the first part of our new Silver Series presented by Silver.com we covered the many phases of silver: its uses as a monetary, health, and industrial metal.

5. The Narwhal Club: Home to Canada’s $1B Tech Startups


The Narwhal Club

The Narwhal Club is Canada’s answer to Aileen Lee’s idea of a “Unicorn Club” for $1B+ valued startups in the United States. Working with Garibaldi Capital Advisors we compiled and curated a list of all tech startups in Canada worth over $1 Billion, including many companies that are on the verge of success.

4. Space Wars: The Private Sector Strikes Back


Space Wars: The Private Sector Strikes Back

The space industry is rapidly changing, and there are about a dozen private companies that are helping to shape the future of space travel. From space tourism to dreams of harvesting asteroids, we cover the movers and shakers of Space’s Private Sector in this infographic.

3. Inside Tesla’s $5 Billion Gigafactory


Inside Tesla's $5 Billion Gigafactory

Recently, Tesla made the bold decision to build a $5 Billion factory to mass produce batteries with economies of scale. In this infographic on the Tesla Gigafactory, we look at the implications of this decision with regards to natural resources such as graphite, cobalt, and lithium.

2. A Year’s Extraction of Metal Shown Next to Landmarks and Cities


A Year's Extraction of Metal Shown Next to Landmarks and Cities

In this infographic slideshow, we asked ourselves how big a year’s extraction of various metals would be if they were put in a hypothetical cube. Some of the answers will surprise you.

1. The Gold Series


The Gold Series

In our Gold Series, we covered everything on the yellow metal including its rich history, supply and geology, demand and uses, investment upside, and predictions for the future. Spanning five infographic parts, The Gold Series is a world class collection of informational and educational content on the fundamentals of gold investing. This series was viewed more than any other infographic this year.

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Mapped: Second Primary Languages Around the World

This fascinating map highlights the second most commonly spoken primary language in almost nearly every country.

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Second Languages Around the World Shareable

Mapped: Second Primary Languages Around the World

After the primary language, what second languages are used as native tongues in your country?

The answer reveals a lot about history and location. Whether through immigration, colonization, or local culture, a primary language can either spread around the world or remain rooted in place.

This map from MoveHub shows the second most commonly spoken primary language in most countries, using data from the CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia as of February 2021.

The Difference Between Primary and Secondary Languages

First, it’s important to differentiate between primary languages and secondary languages.

A primary language—also known as a first or native language—is the language we use most frequently to communicate. These are languages we are usually born with, have a lot of exposure to, and use at home.

On the other hand, a secondary language is one we learn or pick up after our primary language. In many countries, English is the most commonly learned, with close to 1 billion speakers.

But a map of common second languages can simply show just how many countries prioritize learning English, the de-facto international language in many organizations. Instead, this map highlights the movement of people by showing the second-most common primary language.

The Second Most Common Primary Languages by Country

Even when filtering by primary language use, however, English and other Indo-European languages dominate the world.

With 55 countries speaking it as the second-most common primary language, English came out on top.

Top 10 Most Popular Second Primary LanguagesNumber of Countries
English55
French14
Russian13
Spanish8
Creole8
Arabic6
Kurdish4
Portugese4
Italian3
Quechua3

The use of English as a second primary language was primarily concentrated in Western Europe, Northern Africa, and Southeast Asia and Oceania.

Similarly to second-place French with 14 countries and third-place Russian with 13 countries, English was most common in proximity to English-speaking countries or where there was a history of immigration.

Other second-most common primary languages highlighted different cultures within countries, such as China’s second-most common language Cantonese. Alternatively, they showed the primary indigenous language before colonization, such as the Quechua languages in South America.

What other interesting or surprising language patterns can you spot in the map above?

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Mapped: Human Impact on the Earth’s Surface

This detailed map looks at where humans have (and haven’t) modified Earth’s terrestrial environment. See human impact in incredible detail.

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human impact on earths surface

Mapped: Human Impact on the Earth’s Surface

With human population on Earth approaching 8 billion (we’ll likely hit that milestone in 2023), our impact on the planet is becoming harder to ignore with each passing year.

Our cities, infrastructure, agriculture, and pollution are all forms of stress we place on the natural world. This map, by David M. Theobald et al., shows just how much of the planet we’ve now modified. The researchers estimate that 14.6% or 18.5 million km² of land area has been modified – an area greater than Russia.

Defining Human Impact

Human impact on the Earth’s surface can take a number of different forms, and researchers took a nuanced approach to classifying the “modifications” we’ve made. In the end, 10 main stressors were used to create this map:

  1. Built-Up Areas: All of our cities and towns
  2. Agriculture: Areas devoted to crops and pastures
  3. Energy and extractive resources: Primarily locations where oil and gas are extracted
  4. Mines and quarries: Other ground-based natural resource extraction, excluding oil and gas
  5. Power plants: Areas where energy is produced – both renewable and non-renewable
  6. Transportation and service corridors: Primarily roads and railways
  7. Logging: This measures commodity-based forest loss (excludes factors like wildfire and urbanization)
  8. Human intrusion: Typically areas adjacent to population centers and roads that humans access
  9. Natural systems modification: Primarily modifications to water flow, including reservoir creation
  10. Pollution: Phenomenon such as acid rain and fog caused by air pollution

The classification descriptions above are simplified. See the methodology for full descriptions and calculations.

A Closer Look at Human Impact on the Earth’s Surface

To help better understand the level of impact humans can have on the planet, we’ll take a closer look three regions, and see how the situation on the ground relates to these maps.

Land Use Contrasts: Egypt

Almost all of Egypt’s population lives along the Nile and its delta, making it an interesting place to examine land use and human impact.

egypt land use impact zone

The towns and high intensity agricultural land following the river stand out clearly on the human modification map, while the nearby desert shows much less impact.

Intensive Modification: Netherlands

The Netherlands has some of the heavily modified landscapes on Earth, so the way it looks on this map will come as no surprise.

netherlands land use impact zone

The area shown above, Rotterdam’s distinctive port and surround area, renders almost entirely in colors at the top of the human modification scale.

Resource Extraction: West Virginia

It isn’t just cities and towns that show up clearly on this map, it’s also the areas we extract our raw materials from as well. This mountainous region of West Virginia, in the United States, offers a very clear visual example.

west virginia land use impact zone

The mountaintop removal method of mining—which involves blasting mountains in order to retrieve seams of bituminous coal—is common in this region, and mine sites show up clearly in the map.

You can explore the interactive version of this map yourself to view any area on the globe. What surprises you about these patterns of human impact?

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