Experimenting with Visualization Tools


‘Visualization is a technique to graphically represent sets of data. When data is large or abstract, visualization can help make the data easier to read or understand. There are visualization tools for search, music, networks, online communities, and almost anything else you can think’ (Read Write Web)

I found Zee Maps was the easiest and most efficient visualization tool out of the ones I tried out. This is what you can use Zee Maps for:

  • To create a free customized, interactive map.
  • To publish the map on a blog or website
  • Add markers manually, from Google Spreadsheet, or CSV file
  • Customize marker fields for geo search
  • Highlight regions like states or countries
  • Create PDF or JPEG images
  • Create wiki-maps for crowd sourcing

On Youtube there a loads of step by step video guides which are practically foolproof. If you want to watch one then please click here. I tried out the guide, using data that I had collected myself from Zoopla, one the UK’s leading property websites. There are always articles being published in the press about property values in London, and capital cities around the world. People seem to be perpetually fascinated by where the wealthy live, and how much the most expensive houses sell for in their area. I used Zoopla’s Home Values tool to calculate the average price of a house on London’s most expensive areas. I then used this to work out where the most expensive streets were within the areas. These are my results

Many Eyes

I wanted to try and use the same data to create another map on Many Eyes, and then to compare the two results. However, I found Many Eyes was much more sensitive and complicated to use. It failed to recognise legitimate postcodes within my Excel spreadsheet, and flagging up easily identifiable London addresses as countries like Kenya and Egypt. All in all very frustrating, and nothing I tried seemed to rectify the problem.

Wordle

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. I took a recent speech made on March 6th by William Hague in response to the crisis unfolding in Libya. The results provided an interesting insight into where the Foreign Secretary’s priorities lie in terms of policy. Whilst ‘Libya’ was one of the least used words in the speech, ‘British’, and Britain ’and‘ Policy were all used prolifically. The word cloud highlights a UK-centric approach to foreign policy, and aid. Here is the wordcloud.

If you want to see more examples of visualization tools you can use then please go to Mashable.

Emily Lingard

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About Emily Lingard

Ma Broadcast Journalism student
This entry was posted in Data Journalism Experiment, Introduction to Data Journalism and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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