• April 12, 2024

    A decade and a half ago, I wrote the first edition of Visualize This as a how-to guide to my past self. It was for someone who was familiar with visualization but was stuck on the part where it’s time to make and design charts with your own data.

    What tools should you use? How do you use them? How do you get from rough sketch to finished graphic? How do you get the visualization idea in your imagination on to a screen where others can see?

    It turns out that you can read and learn a lot about visualization — the chart types, the best visual encodings, design considerations, and purpose — without actually knowing how to follow through with the advice. There’s a technical side to visualizing data that couples with the thinking side. I wrote Visualize This for the person who wants to make the coupling and follow through.

    The challenge of writing a book with concrete, how-to examples that rely on software is that some of the software fades. The technology and applications shift.

    Flash dies. People consume data through different screen sizes. New tools make it easier to visualize data. Tastes change. The field develops.

    Visualize This, Second Edition is an update for the tools, chart types, and overall process that changed over the years. The examples are better balanced and more focused.

    The new book is still a practical, easy-to-read guide intended for my past self who wanted to make all the charts for all the data. But this time around, I had a decade and a half more experience analyzing data, making charts, and thinking about process.

    Visualize This, Second Edition is out in June, but you can pre-order a copy now. I hope it helps you have fun with data.

  • NatureQuant processes and analyzes satellite imagery to quantify people’s access to nature. They call it a NatureScore. For the Washington Post, Harry Stevens mapped and charted the scores across the United States. At first glance, the map looks a lot like population density, but the better comparison is in how cities with similar population densities look next to each other.

  • Members Only
    April 11, 2024
  • As you might expect, the path of totality brought increased activities as people tried to get in the right spots. For the New York Times, Charlie Smart mapped the movements based on activity data from Mapbox and traffic data from TomTom.

  • Variation kicks in when you look at the later years, consider multiple marriages, divorce, separation, and opposite-sex versus same-sex relationships. This chart breaks it all down.


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  • April 9, 2024

    From xkcd, a Rube Goldberg machine that keeps on going. Edit a cell by adding xkcd-esque objects and watch the balls fall and bounce to neighboring cells.

  • April 8, 2024

    Maybe you heard there’s a total eclipse happening today. AirDNA mapped Airbnb occupancy rates over the week. There might be a pattern.

    The anticipation of the solar eclipse has transformed an otherwise ordinary Monday into a lucrative opportunity for STR hosts located within the path of totality. As of March 25th, occupancy rates for April 7th have soared to an impressive 88% across all listings. This represents a massive surge in demand for accommodations on the night before the big celestial event.

  • April 5, 2024

    The easystats R package in on my to-try list.

    easystats is a collection of R packages, which aims to provide a unifying and consistent framework to tame, discipline, and harness the scary R statistics and their pesky models.

    Apparently it’s been around since 2022, but it’s new to me.

  • Members Only
    April 4, 2024
  • Joanie Lemercier used a grid of spinning paddles that turn with the wind. Collectively, they show the flows through the air in real-time.

    It reminds me of a digital map that used a similar geometry to show wind patterns across the United States.