The Google Charts Tools provide two kinds of heat map charts for geographical data, the Flash based Geomap and the HTML5/SVG based Geochart.
I prefer the Geochart as it doesn’t require Flash, but so far there have been two shortcomings with it: I couldn’t add additional tooltip information and the default Mercator projection shows Greenland the size of Africa. Both of those issues seemed to have been resolved by Google.
The financial crisis has put a lot of pressure on countries’ long-term foreign currency credit ratings, with France recently being downgraded by S&P. Wikipedia provides a list of countries by credit ratings as report by US rating agencies S&P, Fitch, Moody’s and Dagong, a Chinese rating agency.
So, what does the world look like today through the eyes of those rating agencies?
I use the R packages XML and googleVis to read and display the data from Wikipedia with just a few lines.