This post is for attendees of the Fundamentals of Data Visualization Workshop at General Assembly Boston. Exercise 1: Mapping Tutorial Instructions: Mapping If you have not done so, download and install TileMill. If you are running MacOS, you may need to use the instructions in the Mapping tutorial to get it running. Exercise 2: Scatterplot Tutorial Instructions: Scatterplot If you haven’t already, open a free Github account. Exercise 3: Cooking the Books Download the dataset: milk-tea-coffee.csv Use Quartz Chartbuilder to visualize the data.  

Scatterplot of cereal protein content and calories

This tutorial uses the Breakfast Cereal example data from Interactive Data Visualization and D3 example blocks by Mike Bostock and Michele Weigle. This tutorial is part of a course I teach — Fundamentals of Data Visualization — at General Assembly Boston. See Michele’s original example here: D3 Scatterplot Example. D3.js is the hottest web data visualization framework right now. But it can be difficult to work with unless you have a firm grounding in Javascript and can host your files on a webserver. This tutorial takes you through the process step-by-step without requiring you to know a lot of Javascript, and with a workaround that will let you quickly view your D3 visualizations without having to upload files to a[…]

Which state college systems offer the best “bang for the buck” when it comes to a student’s chance of graduating, and the amount of debt they will graduate with? With more and more students taking more than four years to graduate, it’s an important question — a question that a scatterplot can shed light on. A scatterplot shows you individual entities across two dimensions. Here’s an example showing you the relationship between the life expectancy of its country’s citizens and its Gross Domestic Product per capita (GDP).  As you can see, countries with lower GDP tend to have lower life expectancies. Now let’s try it with a dataset of our own. First, we have to get a dataset. We’ll start[…]

ABSURDLY ILLUSTRATED TUTORIALS Mapping: The Absurdly Illustrated Guide To Your First Data-Driven TileMill Map Timelines/Tabletop.js: The Absurdly Illustrated Guide To Your First Data-Driven Timeline Data Tables/Tabletop.js: The Absurdly Illustrated Guide To Sortable, Searchable Online Data Tables Immersive Digital Storytelling The Absurdly Illustrated Guide To Immersive, Tablet-Friendly News Stories Comparing and Contrasting/Rawcharts/D3.js: The Absurdly Illustrated Guide To Making Scatterplots With Rawcharts and D3.js

This tutorial will show you how to take your material and transform it into a tablet-friendly, rich experience for readers.   We will use open-source software called sStory, created by EJ Fox. This tutorial was inspired by my Australian journalist friends, who came to a workshop I taught hosted by The Walkley Foundation.  (The Walkleys are also Australia’s most prestigious journalism awards, akin to what the Pulitzer Prizes are to American journalism).  The participants in the workshop were unfailingly bright and willing, and so we skipped through several data visualization lessons early and spent the last half of the last day of the workshop trying to pull together our work into a data-driven, immersive story. We didn’t quite get done,[…]

What basic coding/tech skills meet the following criteria? They are relatively easily required with no need for a 4 year CS degree; They provide journalistically relevant and useful results They are reusable in a journalistic context In my opinion, there are three skills that meet these criteria: Mapping.  Most news happens in a place.  Maps are ancient precisely because they are such an expressive and powerful form of data visualization. Grabbing.  Thousands of websites have data gateways called APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that allow you free access to some or all of that site’s data — as long as you can write a relatively simple program that can grab it and return it to you in a format you can[…]

Not too long ago I was able to attend a demo of the data visualization toolkit Weave.  The person giving the demo was Georges Grinstein, one of the tool’s creators.  Georges hails from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. He showed a really amazing demo of foreclosure data from Lowell, MA.  For those of you who aren’t from Massachusetts, Lowell was one of America’s first industrial cities; massive textile mills once dominated the town.  The mill buildings are there — but the kind of jobs they once provided are long gone.  I have a lot of affection for Lowell because my grandmother lived there and my mother was raised there; my dad graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell[…]

  Photo Credit: scriptingnews via Compfight cc Last week I was lucky enough to meet with three folks who work in the newsroom of a daily newspaper.  That’s a big deal to me, because if my work isn’t useful to people who work in a newsroom, a mission-driven nonprofit, or doesn’t work for folks who want to change the world (or even just their little piece of it), I’m wasting my time. I asked them: “What should my next step-by-step tutorial be?  What would be really useful for a beat reporter who doesn’t think of themselves as a techie to pick up?”  Remember, it wasn’t all that long ago that shooting video was considered a specialty task that print reporters[…]

Recently I searched for the name of my current project, “Data for Radicals,” and through that magic we know as Serendipity on the Internet, up popped: Ten Rules for Radicals by none other than Carl Malamud.  To be honest, before I read “Ten Rules for Radicals,” all I knew about Carl was that my friends who were investigative journalists — particularly those who did the deep data and document dives through FOIA and other means — talked about him in hushed tones of awe. Reading the title, I could not help but think that the essay, originally an address to the WWW2010 conference, represented one of those strange messages that happen between people of ideas, even if those people are[…]