I made an interactive for this last year, which was nominated for a Data Journalism Award. That one took a few weeks of dabbling. I made this one in a single night after putting it off for far too long. The end product used the Fusion Tables API to dynamically query the data from the dataset. I really wish we could easily create our own database installs with PHP, but the FTAPI worked quite well. It definitely has the highest traffic and most engagement of any interactive I’ve made. This has less to do with the content and everything to do with it leading the home page for several hours that day. Promotion = traffic. No promotion = no traffic. Simple as that. View the entire interactive
What a fun project this was. I contacted MLB to see if they had any data on R.A. Dickey, the Jays’ new knuckleball pitcher. Did they? Ha! They have reams of data. In a spreadsheet. And they’ll email it to me right away. And answer questions promptly. The exact opposite of almost every government source I’ve ever reached in Canada. The beauty of working with professionals. The data had a multitude of columns, from batter name to pitch type to result and speed. But the most interesting potential came from the coordinates: it tracks where the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand and where it crosses the plate. Enough to reconstruct every pitch. I started working on a Raphael interactive (naturally — Raphael is the very best interactive engine in the market today in my opinion… yes, better than D3!). I designed an entire top-down version that tracked the ball’s movement from [...]
This project took about a year. Really. Because we had to collect the data from a dozen sources in between other projects that kept demanding our time. But we finally got it out and it was a huge success. The incredible Rob Carrick wrote a great column to accompany the interactive. It looks at how young people today have it much worse than a generation ago. This is old hat to some people, but it’s never been dealt with so objectively before. We finally dug deep across several metrics to identify the trends. View the full interactive
My latest interactive breaks down donations to Ontario Liberal candidates. It includes a bar chart (below), some pie charts and a searchable table. See the full interactive
This was made very quickly for the 2011 census release on family. We sort of forgot it was happening and realized only a few days earlier. I could have done something simple… but decided to try a new kind of data interactive for the Globe: a customizable infographic narrative with dynamic charts. Check it out here.
I don’t quite have a name for it, but this moving infographic thing was released today after a frantic coding/collab marathon over the past few days. Our friends in Community unleashed a poll on ROB readers about their smartphone use. They had more than 5,000 responses and came to me asking if we could do something. I mulled for a bit and considered the possibilities. At first I wanted to do some kind of sortable bubble chart interactive where you could track respondents’ movements between different smartphone brands. But this was canned after seeing the data, which didn’t give a linear narrative between each respondent. After ditching a few more ideas, I remembered the ubiquitous ”long infographic,” very popular on the web and Mashable. But I also wanted to make it interactive. I started with spreadsheets and crunched the numbers. Then I sent a draft script to the community editor and started working [...]
The long list for the Information is Beautiful Awards has finally been published and two of my interactives made it onto the list (plus another large interactive package I contributed to). They were all nominated under the Interactive Visualization category. With more than 1,000 submissions from around the world and judges including the esteemed Brian Eno and the Guardian’s Simon Rogers, it’s a real honour to be included. What made the list? I’m really excited to see my two pet projects on the list. These were both entrepreneurial projects I was really passionate about. The first was the bicycle collision project, an idea I had to turn massive amounts of collision data into an interactive tool. It was one of my first experiments with the Google Maps API and Fusion Tables. I was able to do some neat querying across multiple fields… something I haven’t really seen elsewhere. Kaleigh Rogers and I worked [...]
This folio package was a two-page spread in the paper focusing on poor prospects for recent grads. It wouldn’t translate well online: not only would the text appear in a linear way, but you’d lose the scanability from the blurbs. I built this interactive using gRaphael… for some reason. Really, it would have been easier to create static images since the interactivity was low. But it was good practice and an exercise in turning around an interactive very quickly. See the full version.
I’ve started a new collective, kind of like the Open House Arts Collective of yore, but this time about data journalism. It’s called Ad Hoc Data. It’s a chance to work with like-minded nerds interested in exploring the tech and story-telling that comes from data. Our first project, a federal budget calculator, took quite a bit of time and offered some interesting results. Try it yourself. I’m excited to see where it goes next. It’s a chance for me to experiment and create with more freedom than usually afforded to me. And a chance to meet other like-minded folks interested in creating, creating and creating.
The Ontario government released their annual Sunshine List on March 24, detailing public sector employees earning more than $100,000 per year. I created a table so readers can explore the list in more detail, letting you can search, sort and filter by name, salary and more. This list is published each year on the Government’s website in a way that’s hard to search, impossible to sort and difficult to navigate. The Globe wanted to pull the data from this year’s list and publish it in a more usable way, as a tool for our reporters and our readers. Here’s a little background on how I made the tool. I started by building a scraper, a program that trolls web pages for content and saves it in a more sophisticated way than copy-paste. Using a coding language called Python, I built a universal scraper that could pull all the data back [...]
My latest map plots the various hazards that threaten the Northern Gateway pipeline — from underground earthquakes to landslides to protected animal populations. The pipeline ends at Kitimat, B.C., a small coastal port on the west Coast. From there, oil’s transferred onto tankers and tugged through the maze of the Douglas Channel. There are three exit opens but only one approved anchor point. It’s an interesting look at the tremendous difficulty in getting oil out of Canada. View the full interactive
After scraping the content for all the Drummond reports, I wanted to show them in a simple way. Inspired by What The F#*! Should I Make For Dinner, I created this simple site that shows a random recommendation with option to tweet the ones you like. The site works by pulling in all the recommendations in a JSON file, then creating a random number and pulling that record. I also added a query option, so if you add “?37″ to the end, it’ll pull the 37th recommendation. This is helpful for tweeting and recalling an interesting recommendation. Visit the site.
The Drummond Report offered mucho insight into Ontario’s future. But the recommendations themselves were buried in 300 pages of background and chitter. What if you just wanted the recommendations? You could browse all 20 chapters on the government website. Or, with some deft scraping, you could pull them down and throw them into a table of your own. That’s what I did last week with the help of ScraperWiki, a super-handy website that gets you up-and-running with Python, Mechanize and other scraping libraries in no time flat. Download the Drummond report recommendations (CSV) or visit the website for the full text. How the scrape worked Here’s a look at the full scrape from ScraperWiki. You can see this on the site too.
Google has a lovely suite of tools for creating custom maps, chief among them the Maps API and Fusion Tables. They work together like brother and sister to create respectable visualizations with mucho data. Let’s dive in. Get your data ready Your data should be in a clean CVS or XLS table. You’ll probably have to do some work refining things first. (Hey, check out Google Refine for that!) Then spend some time doing simple graphs and interviewing the data in Excel for trends and clues. When you have an idea of what you want to map, open up Fusion Tables. For the purposes of this tutorial, let’s use my spreadsheet on B.C. federal prisons, available on BuzzData. Uploading to Fusion Tables Go to Fusion Tables (click “see my tables” from the splash screen). But DO NOT try to just upload the file to Google Docs. Instead, go to Create > [...]