Vision of Humanity offers beautiful infographics on the state of the planet
Vision of Humanity is one of the most beautiful and thorough visualizations that I have recently seen.
It's a zoomable Flash world map, which lets you browse and compare a vast number of "peace indicators," such as level of violent crime, access to weapons, jailed population, relations with neighboring countries, and more.
You view a world heat map, which shows where that index is most prevalent. You can zoom in on a specific country and browse through all of its indicators, and you can compare two or more countries.
The site takes all of these indicators and derives a single number, which it calls the "peace index." At a glance, you can basically see which countries are the most peaceful and which ones rank worst on the list.
As per usual with these tools, the tool itself is very impressive, but I cannot say that I fully trust the data. The data comes from an entity that calls itself the Institute for Economics & Peace, which is an incredibly nebulous name. Even reading their About page didn't improve my level of trust in this "institute." There's a Wikipedia entry about them, so they seem to be real. I cannot, however, vouch for the quality of the data.
Still, from a technology/design viewpoint, this is an impressive visualization that I could easily spend a great deal of time with, discovering new (if troubling) facts.