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Posts Tagged ‘data journalism

We can work it out!

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The biggest problem I had with my Production Labs project was that the client wanted an animated timeline map showing the Manchester cuts in sequence. No matter how much I searched, I could not find a way to do it within my current abilities.

I even spoke the the Flash developers at the Financial Times, but they said that I would need a lot of expertise to achieve what I wanted. Then over a beer in the afternoon a fellow Online Journalist, Desi Velikova, suggested I look at Tableau to see if that would work.

Firstly, I made sure I had all the longitude and latitude data in the spreadsheet, dates formatted correctly etc and then loaded it into Tableau. At first it just showed a map with one large circle in the middle, but then I found out the default setting was to find the average of the numbers, so correcting that immediately changed the view to one of Manchester with all the locations of the cuts correctly displayed.

Next, through trial and error (as the help facility was anything but helpful), I managed to work out how to add a time element to the map and also change the size of the markers depending on the size of the cut (dropped from the final version) and how to change colour depending on which department the cut was from.

You can see a screenshot of the resulting map below, or to see it in action, have a look on Kijamedia.

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Written by Andy Watt

March 24, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Liz Taylor: A Life In Numbers

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As a practise for visualising data, I decided to use information about the life of actress Liz Taylor to create a handful of visualisations.

I used Many Eyes, Fusion Charts and Google Docs.

The first was a collection of random data such as how many films she had starred in, how many grandchildren she had, how many front covers she had graced etc.

Next I decided to look at films, and I discovered that in relative financial terms, her movie ‘Cleopatra’ is still the most expensive film ever made which I showed with the following visualisation.

Finally, I looked at a very famous aspect of Taylor’s life, namely how many husband she had, and turned that into a visualisation.

You can see all of these in their full animated and interactive glory here.

Written by Andy Watt

March 23, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Visualisation Variety

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I have been working on the data provided by the MEN and have come up with 3 visualisations.

Firstly, an interactive visualisation showing where job losses were being implemented. The visualisation can be changed by the user to display the job cuts by establishment or category along with a couple of other ways. It can be viewed here.

Secondly, a heat map which shows the locations where the cuts are taking place which can be viewed here.

Finally, I have managed to get a timeline up and running which will link back to original online articles and include photographs, but it does not load reliably. The script is on Google’s site so I was expecting it to be reliable. Reloading the page often solves the problem but this is confusing because if the script or the data was incorrect, it should display the error every time, not intermittently. Anyway, if you want to see if it will load (try reloading if it doesn’t), then the link is here.

Written by Andy Watt

March 16, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Production Labs – finally got the data

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For my production labs project, I am working with data concerning the Manchester budget cuts. In a previous discussion, I had agreed to a Google map showing where the cuts were taking place which would link back to the online report on the newspaper’s website. I was also going to look at different ways in which to visualise the data such as heat maps etc but the email I received envisaged something much more ambitious.

They would like an animated map, with locations showing up when the timeline reaches the date the respective cuts were announced, with links back to the website. Quite simply, I do not have the ability to do this. I am not a coder and there is not service out there which I could tap into to allow me to achieve this, so I will have to look for alternatives as near as possible to what they want.

Written by Andy Watt

March 14, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Posted in Production Labs

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