Data Roundup, 30 August

August 30, 2013 in Data Roundup

How to animate your infographic, why colour shouldn’t be an after-thought and will open data destroy us all? – the US government department asking that question.

Mapping balloons, photo jokin lacalle, flickr

Mapping balloons – check out the free course next week in London

Tools, Events, Courses

On events coming up this month, another shout out for OKcon, the big OFKN event in Geneva running from the 13th September. Tickets, programme and contact details here.

Other events in September include a free five week course on data mining and machine learning from some of the celebrities of the data mining world, the creators of Weka, a popular suite of machine learning software. Waikato University in New Zealand are offering a an online course starting September 9, 2013, with enrolments now open. The course teaches data mining and machine learning.

Some one-off courses are open in London’s UCL in September, good for those interested in mapping. UCL is hosting two free DIY aerial photography workshops. Using kites or balloons, participants can learn to make a composite aerial photograph with MapKnitter and potential uses for the data. On 7th Sept 14:00- 18:30. See the UCL excites programme or email cindy[dot]regalado[dot]11@ucl[dot]ac[dot]uk

Open Refine is a powerful and free tool for helping anyone clean up their data, view it, structure it, link it. Ruben Verborgh’s blog describes the new release of the software coming up in September and a guide book that helps make the tool easier to use for newbies.

Want to make your infographic a bit more exciting? Make it move. A video tutorial on how to animate infographics in After Effects is here by Klaas Diersmann.

Choosing a colour to use in your visualization shouldn’t just be an afterthought. Here’s an excellent blogpost on the possibilities and pitfalls of colour and where to start when you have to chose some.

And finally, want to make a simple static site quickly out of a Google spreadsheet or document? Try out Tarbell, a super-simple CMS built out of Google Drive, built by the Chicago Tribune News Applications Team.

Data stories

Could open data destroy us all? Alarmist but DARPA Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, are looking into it, as Bloomberg report.

It’s ironic because the US government has a lot of data already as the recent NSA stories have shown. This nice infographic from the Washington Post visualizes the US government’s black budget – what the US spends on surveillance and security.

The New York Times is tracking you too… but to provide insight into reader behavior. Interesting to anyone working in journalism or user interfaces – this description of how the NYT tracks its readers gives some insights into how people behave, read and share online.

Still on New York, you can see just how popular the candidates are in Track NYC’s Mayoral race

And the site TechPresident describes how a very simple open data tool telling people where their nearest polling stations were helped thousands more people to vote in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Sean Ndlovu who worked on GotToVote! told the International Journalists’ Network (IJNet) that it has always been a long process to find a polling place in places like Kenya and Zimbabwe, and simply letting people know what the closest places are makes a difference. Report here.

And finally, an interview with a renowned Brazilian infographic designer Luis Iria.

Data sources

Some new datasets on include a curated set of open data for Zimbabwe.
And an open dataset from the Belgian city of Gent, aimed at fuelling smart city projects.

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