Data roundup, December 14th

December 14, 2012 in Data Roundup

We’re rounding up data news from the web each week. If you have a data news tip, send it to us at [email protected].

Photo by Robert Banh

This week we want to use a few lines to talk about tools that you can use in your daily work. The School of Data offers a very useful compilation of online resources including tutorials, books and tools about scraping, data analysis, visualisation, etc.

But if you can’t find what you need, there are more options. Tony Hirst has just published a short post with some links to tools and applications that are useful for visualisations.

For those who want to learn how to manage digital data, there is an online training programme called Mantra that could be very helpful.

If you are a ‘maps person’ you might find useful this new tool released by LA Times to convert GIS shapefiles into SVGs.  But if you are more into statistics don’t miss this FAQ guide about basic data concepts.

Are you passionate about code? So visit this compilation of apps used by the National Public Radio.


Sometimes, news about economy are a little bit hard to understand, particularly if they are about big numbers. The Guardian tried to solve this problem using visualisations to explain Autumn statement.

But data is not just about what is happening now. We can use it to understand the future, like David McCandless tries to do it with this infographic about CO2 emissions. But we can also have a look to the past, like this interactive map about London bomb sight during World War II.

And if you are really passionate about a book or a TV show you can also start collecting your own data and make some visualisations like this “statistical look back” at The Walking Dead series or this interactive graph about Game of Thrones (the books).

Good practice

The web is flooded with ‘infographics’ made by PR and marketing agencies that don’t pay much attention to the accuracy of the message. But, as they have became so popular, many people think they are the original ‘information graphics’. Alberto Cairo is claiming the word infographic back.

If you are really interested in maps, I’m sure you will read this blog post from ProPublica where they explain all the choices and decisions they made to create an interactive map about migrations of african-americans from the countryside to the cities.

And also in ProPublica you can read how they used Creative Commons license to spread their content and how useful it was.

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