Software

51 posts
Excel is the graveyard of charts, no!

It's true that Excel is responsible for large numbers of horrible charts. I just came across a typical example recently: This figure comes from Edward Wolff's 2012 paper, "The Asset Price Meltdown and the Wealth of the Middle Class." It's got all the hallmarks of Excel defaults. It's not a pleasing object to look at. However, it's also true that Excel can be used to make nice charts. Here is...

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Semiotic, a visualization framework

Elijah Meeks released Semiotic into the wild. It’s a framework that allows quick charts but provides flexibility for custom stuff. Semiotic is a React-based data visualization framework. You can see interactive documentation and examples here. It satisfies the need for reusable data visualization, without committing to a static set of charting types. It came out of a need for a data visualization framework that let us make simple charts quickly...

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It’s your fault when you use defaults

The following chart showed up on my Twitter feed last week. It's a cautionary tale for using software defaults.  At first glance, the stacking of years in a bar chart makes little sense. This is particularly so when there appears not to be any interesting annual trend: the four segments seem to have roughly equal length almost everywhere. This designer might be suffering from what I have called "loss aversion"...

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Visualize large datasets with deck.gl

deck.gl is an open source framework developed by Uber to visualize large datasets (mainly geospatial ones, naturally). It started as an internal tool but was released to the public in November last year. Uber just released the next iteration of the package, which handles a bunch more use cases. Bookmarked it. Tags: JavaScript, Uber, WebGL

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Automatic visualization is a bad idea, generally speaking

Plug in any dataset into a magic box and it spits out a lovely visualization you can show all of your co-workers, friends, and family. That’s the promise of a lot of startups, but it doesn’t quite work that way. Ian Johnson explains by comparing visualization the medium to other forms of communication. I want to take a deeper look at why this pursuit of automation is misguided, and in...

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Prophet for forecasting with a lot of data

Facebook released Prophet, which is a procedure to quickly forecast with time series data. Prophet is a procedure for forecasting time series data. It is based on an additive model where non-linear trends are fit with yearly and weekly seasonality, plus holidays. It works best with daily periodicity data with at least one year of historical data. Prophet is robust to missing data, shifts in the trend, and large outliers....

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Now over 10,000 packages in R

There are a lot of R packages, which is why before I implement any chart type myself, I look to see if someone already did it. Recently, the official R package repository surpassed the 10,000 mark. Why so many packages? R has a very active developer community, who contribute new packages to CRAN on a daily basis. As a result, R is unparalleled in its capabilities for statistical computing, data...

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Catalog of visualization tools

There are a lot of visualization-related tools out there. Here’s a simple categorized collection of what’s available, with a focus on the free and open source stuff. This site features a curated selection of data visualization tools meant to bridge the gap between programmers/statisticians and the general public by only highlighting free/freemium, responsive and relatively simple-to-learn technologies for displaying both basic and complex, multivariate datasets. It leans heavily toward open-source...

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Embedding.js: Data-driven environments for virtual reality

Embedding.js is a work-in-progress JavaScript library by Beau Cronin that makes it more straightforward to create data-driven environments. Think virtual reality and rotating areas in the browser. From Cronin: [I]t’s not just about 3D — we’ve used various depth cues in windowed visualization settings for some time, and in some cases these techniques have been put to good use. But something altogether different happens when we inhabit an environment, and in particular...

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Tilegrams in R

Last month Pitch Interactive launched an online tool for tiled cartograms, or tilegrams for short. Upload your state-by-state data, and it does the rest. Now you can make them in R, thanks to Bhaskar Karambelkar, since I know you’re just itching to make your own election maps. Tags: cartogram, R

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