Courses

Learn to visualize data step-by-step, from beginner to advanced.

Tutorials are great if you know what data you want to visualize and how you want to do it. But if you want to learn about the visualization process more generally, these practical step-by-step courses are for you. They are self-guided so that you can learn at your own pace.

These three courses make use of the free and open source R, which is a statistical computing language that gives you a lot of bang for the buck in terms of visualization. I mostly use base R, which is a factoid you can ignore if that means nothing to you.

Membership provides instant access so that you can start understanding and presenting your data now. It’s also the best way to support an independent FlowingData.

Visualization in R

Basics. Then work your way up to more advanced methods.

This four-week course walks you through the essentials of visualizing data in R. Familiarize yourself with the language, quickly make plots, and build your own. Exercises at the end of each section help you hone your skills.

Recommended Time

Four weeks, about eight to ten hours per week.

Learning Objectives

You start at the very beginning: Install R on your computer. After some R basics, you get right into plot-making. Learn how to make the old stand-bys such as bar charts, line charts, and dot plots. Then make your own custom charts. Map spatial data.

The goal is to setup foundations, and by the time you finish the course you should be able to apply what you learn to your own data.

Outline

Week 1

Get setup, learn the basics, and make charts in R with a few lines of code.

Week 2

Extend R by installing and working with packages and create custom charts to fit your needs.

Week 3

Spatial data. Map various data types and formats, and make geographic maps that look good.

Week 4

Refine what you learned the first three weeks with multi-faceted views, reusable code, and tools that are not R.

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Visualizing Time Series Data in R

See and find the changes in your data.

Everything you need to know to see and show patterns over time, from basic chart types to the more advanced.

Recommended Time

One week. Or, fit it all in on a weekend and get back to work.

Learning Objectives

Get you charting time series data as quickly as possible. Cover the basics first and then move into more advanced things like animation.

Outline

Getting Started

Install and setup R in a few easy steps.

Basic Chart Types

Quick charts. Very little code.

Categorical Time Series Charts

Compare multiple time series at once to see differences and similarities between categories and groups.

Multiple Variables

Maybe you want to see more than one thing in a single view over time.

Animation

Make it move.

Adjusting for Presentation

For when you want to communicate what you found to others. This requires more care and polish than making charts just for yourself.

Stumbling Blocks

Don’t get stuck in time.

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Mapping Geographic Data in R

Make maps that allow you to see spatial patterns across regions and are great for presentation and communication.

Recommended Time

One week. Or, fit it all in on a weekend and get back to work.

Learning Objectives

Get you making maps that aren’t horrible in as little time as possible. Learn the process, so that you can apply it to your own geographies.

Outline

Drawing Boundaries

The borders for geographic regions help make data recognizable, and there are good and bad ways to go about it.

Mapping Locations

Load spatial data and overlay it on the boundaries.

Choropleth Map

Learn to join datasets to geographic regions and then color accordingly.

Making a Lot of Maps

Show changes over both space and time, or make comparisons across categories and subpopulations.

Get Started

Membership provides instant access so that you can start understanding and presenting your data. Your membership is also the best way to support this independent site of mine. Join now.