Sunday, December 18, 2011

PNC 12 Days of Christmas Price Index

Since 1984, PNC Bank has been issuing their 12 Days of Christmas Price Index.  This index is comprised of the costs of all 12 gifts in the song from the 12 Days of Christmas.  I have heard of the index in the past, but didn't know that it was PNC who put it together or that they have been doing so since 1984.  They have a really fun website this year that involves interactive flash video.  You should definitely right click on this link and "open in new tab" and go check it out.  I'll wait for ya...

PNC 12 Days of Christmas Price Index

I would think this could be fun for children or (if you are like me) those who are a child at heart.

Fortunately, PNC makes their historical data  (.xls file) available for the general public.  So in an effort to spread some Christmas cheer via interactive data visualizations I put together a dashboard of sorts to explore the Christmas Price Index from 1984 till 2011.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lies, Damn Lies, & Statistics

So I fell in love with data and charts back as an undergrad when I took my Political Science methodology class (thank you Professor Folger).  It is then that I learned how they can be used to help explain what happens in the world around us.  However, I also learned how they can be manipulated in such a way to create a false explanation or mislead someone.  That is why the quote in the title has to be one of my favorite sayings of all time.  So much so, that my friends and co-workers roll their eyes every time I say it.

Most of the time the manipulations of data are subtle and those manipulating the data can justify how they are presenting their results.  However, sometimes the manipulation is so outlandish you wonder if it was done purposefully or out of incompetence.  For instance, for those of you who follow data visualization topics or media watchdog groups, you have probably already heard about the Fox News unemployment chart.  I first read about it at FlowingData who links to MediaMatters about this story.  You should definitely check out the comments section for the article at FlowingData for a lively discussion of politics, Fox News, and data.

Here is the Fox News chart for those who missed the story...

Can you spot what is wrong with this chart?  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

FDIC Bank Closings

I continued to explore the data sets at after I finished my Gov Data contest entry.  I stumbled across this data set that was nice and clean and obvious.  Sort of makes me wish I submitted this for the contest instead of the renewable energy visual.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The story so far...

Three Tableau contests, and over 1000 page views later I thought I would take a moment to review my latest contest entry and put together a data viz using the page view data for my blog.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Historical Renewable Energy Consumption: Public Data Viz Contest Submission

Tableau is having another data viz contest with a focus on government or public data.  I had some success in working with data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency before, so I thought I would use one of their data sets again.  I have had my eye on the renewable energy consumption data for awhile and this contest was the motivation to get off my duff and design a data viz with it.  

So here is my official submission for the Tableau contest.  Take a look, let me know what you think, and wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Birds do it...Bees do it...

A few weeks back I put together a chart using data available from the USA National Phenology Network about the Tiger Salamanders that were observed in Battleboro, NC.  This data set is perfect for someone like me looking for data to use in Tableau.  It has a nice variety of data types:  categories, dates of observation, latitude/longitude.  Makes it fun to play with.  For instance, here is a data viz featuring birds and bees that were observed while engaged in reproductive activities.

Let me know what you think.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Speaking of lessons learned...

I saw this blog post earlier today and absolutely loved it.  One reason is because I have heard this so many times before.  The other because he covers some of the design issues I struggle with when designing public data visuals.  I can also very much relate to those three stages he goes through upon hearing other people's reactions to his data visual.

Anyways...enough about me.  Check out Steve Wexler's Hey Your Tableau Public Viz is Ugly *and* Confusing.


Data Vader

I was excited and honored that I won Tableau's "Evil Viz" contest last week.  Thank you Tableau for the awesomely evil Funko Darth Vader (that you see in the picture at the left)!  After seeing some of the other entries, I wasn't very optimistic about my chances.  However, even though I was in it to win it, I also wanted to show that I could learn from my previous entry in the sports contest.  I wrote about 4 lessons that I learned from my hockey stats entry previously.  Let's see how I applied those lessons to my Evil Viz submission.  

Friday, August 12, 2011

Dr. Sinister's Data Visual of Doom

Like most evil mad scientists, Dr. Sinister has dreams of one day ruling the world.  But apparently, he has some personal scores to settle first.  Fortunately for us, I happened across his data visual that details his evil plans.  Hopefully we can warn his victims before it is too late!  (Well...maybe not all his victims.)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tiger Salamanders in Battleboro, NC

Ever wondered how many salamanders you might find in Battleboro, NC? Thanks to the USA National Phenology Network, you can wonder no more. Here is the observation data for 2010. You can check out what the exact location looks like at Google maps.

Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Tableau Sports Data Viz Contest

The winner was announced this afternoon and the winner is not me.  You can check out the winning visualizations here.  Not an unexpected ending to this.  The whole experience however was pretty amazing and I learned a lot from entering the contest.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Which NHL players benefit from more shifts?: Official Entry for Tableau Sports Data Viz Contest (2 of 2)

Tableau allows us to enter up to two visualizations in their contest.  So after building the monster Explore NHL Player Stats I took some time to figure out what a more manageable data visualization would look like based off the results I was getting from exploring the player stats.

I have always been a fan of the plus/minus stat.  I always thought it was a good way to measure how well players play together on the ice.  A player's plus/minus increases by +1 when their team scores while that player is on the ice.  However, it also decreases -1 whenever the opponent scores while that player is on the ice.  I compare that against the average number of shifts a player has during a game and we can start to see which players benefit from having more shifts. 

It is another scatter plot, but with the filters, you can narrow your view and compare conferences and divisions and teams.  I also added a box based off of the min and max values for shifts and plus/minus.  This allows you to compare how groups of players (divisions, conferences, teams) compare against one another.  However, before you get that far, just take a look at the visualization as is.  Which conference's players seems to have a better plus/minus the more shifts they have?

Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Explore NHL Player Stats from 2010-11 Season: Official Entry for Tableau Sports Data Viz Contest (1 of 2)

When I was younger, I loved choose your own adventure books.  However, I always got peeved when I wanted to choose an option that the book did not make available to me.  Or that several of the paths in the book seemed to have the same ending.  Well, now that I am older and am in control of the "story" I will let you choose which path to take in order to determine your own ending.  Choose your stats to mash-up. Choose how you want to view the players in the chart.  Highlight teams, players, or positions.  Or drill down to look at specific divisions or teams.

This visualization might seem intense, but if you take some time and choose your path wisely, you'll find that there are a wide variety of endings to choose from.  I had a lot of fun making it and even more fun playing with it.  Let me know what sorts of interesting tidbits you get as a result.

Energy Generation Viz: My first published data visualization

A former colleague of mine, Walter Frick, works up in Boston for the New England Clean Energy Council.  As a follow up to a conversation we had, he shared this EIA graph with me. As you can see it is an area chart. I've never been able to understand or read stacked area charts.  (Perhaps because they are often used incorrectly?) So, I downloaded the data for the EIA chart and reworked it. Walter liked it and used it for a blog post for his organization. My first public data visualization!

I know that stacked bar charts are not always the best way to see changes in amounts across the x axis for a particular band. However, I think visually it turned out rather nicely.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Precinct Results for Anne Arundel County Executive Race

I am involved in local politics in the Annapolis area and in 2010 I was a volunteer for a County Executive candidate.  He lost.  But it was a fun campaign nonetheless.

I was able to put together the results by precinct and throw it together in Tableau.  The results are what we would expect from taking a look at just the data itself.  However, I found it interesting that there were a few precincts with very low turnout but major support for a candidate.  I think both the Republican and Democratic candidate each had a precinct like that.  Take a look below and let me know what you think about the results.