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Data Roundup, 28 May

- May 28, 2014 in Data Roundup

Noborder Network – Lampedusa

Welcome to this week’s Data Roundup. We collect articles and snippets all about Data (Learning, using and theorizing.). You can help us collecting news using the hashtag #dataroundup or by adding your ideas to the School of Data Roundup Etherpad.


On Alastair Raid wrote about the launch on next summer of Trooclick an automatic fact-checking Firefox plug-in which will be able to verify the foundation of an article when a user reads it.

Data Stories

Few days before the European elections day Simon Rogers published a map of the United Kingdom with geotagged tweets mentioning the political groups represented in the parliament. Now that elections are passed it might be interesting to compare the results with the geographical distributions of the tweets.

Migration has always been a constant in human history but how did it change in the last twenty years? Discover the new routes of the migrants on the interactive chord graph “The Global Flow of People” by Nikola Sander, Guy J. Abel and Ramon Bauer.

In some countries getting a university degree might mean falling into debts of thousand of dollars. In this short article on Vox Danielle Kurtzleben underlines the increasing gap between student incomes and debts.

Alberto Cairo has recently accused websites (Vox and 538 among the others) of doing “datum journalism” and not data-journalism. The Niemanlab collected opinions from many different influential experts and academics on Cairo’s point of view.

How many satellites are there in space? Who owns or controls them? What’s their main activity? Skies are populated of these rotating objects since the launch of the Sputnik in 1957. But what happened next? The answer in this data visualization: “A visual history of Satellites”.

Rating a Healt Law’s Success” is a great piece of data-journalism from the New York Times which shows the existing gap between nations on the number of deaths that could have been prevented with access to health care.

Data Sources

Milena Marin, Project Coordinator at the School of Data, collected, organized a released a list of all the interesting resources that were mentioned or used during the International Journalism Festival. You may find tutorials, readings, slides, videos and much more here.

What’s the beauty of creating data visualizations? Listen to the answer that David McCandless gave to this question at a TED talk conference.

The first week of the European Journalism Centre MOOC “Doing journalism with data” has already gone but Simon Rogers gently published the text of the first part of his module for all of those who might have missed it.

Every once in a while It is always recommendable to update your list of people to follow on Twitter. Travis Korte from the Center for Data Innovation suggests 15 woman data-lovers accounts which it might be useful to monitor.

Another useful list of resources is the one suggested by the managing editor of the International Journalists’ Network Maite Fernandez: if you are looking for guides, articles, videos or data hubs take a look here.

Working with data requires a methodology. If you are a novice you should take a look at this guide from

Open data may increase a government efficiency. If you have good idea on how to use data to improve public administration’s services then we suggest you to partecipate to the If Gov Then That initiative.


Thanks to Zara Rahman (@zararah) and Lucy Chambers (@lucyfedia) for their contributions to this edition of the Data Roundup.

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Data Roundup, 14 May

- May 14, 2014 in Data Roundup

Manuel Acebedo – Lovely Universe…!!!

Happy week! In our Data Roundup, we everything from Fertility rates data to D3 tutorials.

Tools, Events, Courses

La Naciòn invites the Argentinean data community to celebrate the 10th year of the Maestría en Explotación de Datos by participating to the conference “Hablemos the Big Data”. Program and speakers on

Researchers at Politecnico di Milano Density Design Lab developed RAW, an online platform built on d3.js library which allows high flexibility in creating beautiful data visualizations.

Data Stories

With the era of Big Data came the era of statistical concepts like causation and correlation. Some say it is not possible to find a single cause for a single phenomenon but multiple correlations which simultaneously influence its occurrence. Sometimes correlations are very curious: take a look at those listed on

Fertility rate is a demographic index with important consequences on certain markets. Toy industries, for example, have to monitor it everyday in order to foresee future trends. Paul Hodges states it clearly in its article “Toy industry hit by lack of babies” on the Financial Times Data section.

Federica Cocco, journalist at the Daily Mirror Ampp3d, recently published the story of Boko Haram, the most violent and deadliest among the terrorist groups operating in Africa responsible for one quarter of the violent events occurred in Nigeria in the last 4 years. There are also some great conversations around the use of data tools for complex data stories.

Santiago Ortiz Lifeuniverse is an interactive selection of wonderful information visualizations created by teams or individuals.

The Italian parliament is probably among those with the highest number of old members in the world. Andrea Picchi created an infovis showing the age distribution of parliamentarians since the foundation of the republic in 1946.

Data Sources

Another useful guide from prof. Bradshaw: Coding for journalists: 10 programming concepts it helps to understand.

Are you a D3.js developer in search for tutorials on bubble maps? Maybe you might want to follow these instructions coming directly from the inventor of the JS library: Mr. Mike Bostock.

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Data Roundup, 7 May

- May 7, 2014 in Data Roundup

Rick Harrison – Harvest

Tools, Events, Courses

Spring is the season of data journalism events in Europe, and if you’ve missed the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, you’d better avoid repeating mistakes and register for the Dataharvest+ Conference, which will take place in Brussels this weekend and will gather data specialists and coders from all over the continent.

Visualize is a 96-hour workshop on data journalism and data visualization promoted by the association GliAdditivi. The event will take place in Lecce, Italy, and will last from May 8 to June 18. Special guest: John Grimwade.

Data Stories

Paul Bradshaw on data journalism is always a point of view worth reading. Recently on his Online Journalism Blog, he had fun in comparing the emerging #ddj journalist communities to three different animals according to their different skills: unicorns, racehorses, and mules.

Thomas Piketty’s latest book “Capital in the 21st Century” is surely among the most influential ones in the US. On it is possible to download and look into the 75 datasets used by the author to conduct his analysis.

Every year, the American NGO Freedom House releases its report on the state of the art of press freedom in the world. Leila Haddou extracted the data and published an article on it on the Guardian Data Blog.

The World Bank is encouraging both countries and private actors to share and spread data at their disposal in order to create new social and economic opportunities. In its last spring meeting “Talking about a Data Revolution”, experts and observers discussed the role that open data may play for countries’ development.

What are the main trends in the cost of living in UK and the US? Which prices increased and which ones diminished since the beginning of the economic crises? The Financial Times posted a short article which offers an interesting perspective on how poverty has changed in the two countries.

Data Sources

Freelancing is a widespread activity among journalists both offline and online. If you are new to this world and you need to know how to measure the value of the article you’ve written or the video interview you’ve conducted, take a minute to read “How do you cost your work as freelance”, again from the Online Journalism Blog.

On the Mu Lin Blog, it is possible to find a list of readings, tutorials, and resources all exclusively focused on data visualization.

The Datavizcatalogue is an ongoing project developed by Severino Ribecca which contains descriptions and details on every possible way to visualize data. I also recommend that you take a look at its suggested readings section.

One of the most promising and positive effects open data may have on societies is that it improves government transparency and helps identify cases of corruption. Europe’s Public Sector Information platform has released a report on this claim which is freely available on its website.

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Data Roundup, 30 April

- April 30, 2014 in Data Roundup

Chris Martino – US Capitol Building

Tools, Events, Courses

You still have a bit of time left to participate in the Data Visualization contest launched by, which aims at making the extent of the teen crisis (bullying, self-harm, abuse) social phenomenon in the US more accessible and understandable. The final deadline to submit your visualization prototype is May 2.

The Knight Center for Journalism will soon launch another great MOOC called “Investigative Journalism for the Digital Age”. The course lasts five weeks and will start on May 12.

Data Stories

The elections for the US senate are about to come, and bets on the winner party have already started. But if you need a much deeper statistical point of view on the event, take a look at “Who Will Win the Senate?” from the New York Times (with interactive graphics made by Mike Bostock).

Sarah Slobin is a data journalist who works as graphic editor at the Wall Street Journal, and she wrote a very interesting article on Source explaining why transforming data into visualizations is not always the right thing to do and why it is important to link the human element to the numbers.

What can we expect from data journalism in the future? What is to come after the launch of FiveThirtyEight and the Upshot? ProPublica’s assistant managing editor Scott Klein analyses the state of the art of DDJ in an interview published on the Tow Center website.

Another interesting perspective on open journalism is that of Simon Rogers, surely among the most heard voices on the web when it comes to data and storytelling. This is his appeal: “Hey Wonk Reporters, Liberate Your Data”.

What role will data visualization play in the climate change debate? Will it help clarifying misunderstandings and promote a better confrontation or will it keep things as they are? Read Megan Albon’s opinion on

Internews just concluded the first ever data journalism training event in Afghanistan.

Data Sources

Arthur Charpentier published a long, long, long list of interesting readings, visualizations, and blog posts for data lovers. Scroll it down on “Data News: Why the Boom in Big Data Journalism Makes Sense & More”.

Even though it may seem easy at first, selecting the right colors for your visualization is always a hard task. The guide “UX color theory” is a very useful guide that 5AM Solutions recently published and made available for free to anyone who wishes to know more about colors.

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Data Roundup, 24 April

- April 24, 2014 in Data Roundup

Takeshi Tanabe – Zoka Coffee

Tools, Events, Courses

If you have an idea or lots of experience you would like to share with other data journalists, designers, engineers, and data scientists, you are still in time to participate as one of the several speakers at the next Strata World Conference 2014. The deadline to submit your proposal is April 30th.

Web scrapers have become the digital version of miners. If you are one of them or if you are just interested in scraping the web, here is a useful introduction from Ken Ross’s blog on how to scrape using Power Query.

Data Stories

The New York Times just introduced to the world The Upshot, its newest experiment in data journalism and data visualization on political and social phenomenon. In its opening manifesto, David Leonhardt clearly stated: “One of our highest priorities will be unearthing data sets — and analyzing existing ones — in ways that illuminate and explain the news.”

We have seen maps about people, natural events, and economic trends, but rarely about music. Movoto provided a solution to this problem by posting an interactive map of the United States, showing the distribution of music genres according to the number of people who listen to them.

In addition to music, Nathan Yau suggests you also take a look at this version of the US territory map which represents the geographical distribution of population density.

Britain is a melting pot of races, cultures, and religions, too. Is this melting pot of people from all over the world changing the predominance of Christianity in England? Gavin Jackson from the Financial Times tried to answer the question in his article “In charts: a Christian country?”. is surely one of the most beautiful geographical visualization experiments ever made so far. It is a website designed by the Social Computing Group at the MIT Media Lab which displays a set of different maps, each specifically created to show a different type of data: bike crashes, coffee shop locations, and much more.

Data Sources

Statsmodel is a Python module used to extract and analyze data. Skipper Seabold published a nice introduction to it in this post on the DC Data Community.

If you are looking for data related to international trade, exports, and imports of goods, then World Integrated Trade Solution site is what you need. The website is a World Bank portal freely available to anyone where is possible to filter your search per country. Siddesh Kaushik from the WB explains how it works here.

Are you about to make a chart? If yes, then take a minute to scroll down this list of data visualizaton tools published on that you can freely use to draw the kind of graph you need.

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Data Roundup, 16 April

- April 16, 2014 in Data Roundup

Ana_Cotta – saudades da Amazônia

Tools, Events, Courses

On Wednesday the 30th, the eighth edition of the International Journalism Festival will take place in Perugia. The event has become one of the most important of its kind in Europe, and it will host hundreds of journalists from all over the world.

The IFJ will also be the location of the third edition of the 2014 School of Data Journalism jointly organized by the European Journalism Centre and the Open Knowledge Foundation. The School will start on the May the 1st and will see the participation of 25 instructors from world-leading newspapers, universities, and think tanks.

ProPublica just announced the release of two JavaScript libraries. The first one is Landline and will help developers turn GeoJSON data into SVG browser-side maps. The second is built on the previous one and is called Stateline and will facilitate the process of creating US choropleth maps.

Data Stories

Chris Michael from the Guardian Data Blog recently published a short article listing the world’s most resilient cities. Michael extracted data from a study of Grosvenor, a London-based company which measured resilience by assigning a value to cities’ vulnerability to environmental changes and their capacity to face political or economical threats.

British citizens might be interested in the quality of air they breathe everyday. Those who are worried about air pollution should take a look at George Arnett’s interactive choropleth map showing the percentage of deaths caused by particulate air pollution in England.

What’s the role of the world tech giants in politics? Tom Hamburger and Matea Gold tried to explain it in this article on the Washington Post by observing the evolution of Google in its lobbying activities at the White House. Google’s political influence increased enormously since 2002 thus making the company the second largest spender in the US on lobbying practices.

Are conservatives all conservatives in the same way, or is there a certain degree of moderation among them and toward different issues? On his newly-born FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver faces the argument by displaying data on the “partisan split” between the two US parties on several main topics.

If you are Catholic, or maybe just curious, you should be very interested in seeing The Visual Agency’s last infographic, which represents through a series of vertical patterns the number, geographical area, and social level of professions of all Catholic saints.

Gustavo Faileros, ICFJ Knight International Journalism Fellowship, is about to present to the public InfoAmazonia, a new data journalism site which will be monitoring environmental changes in the southern part of South America using both satellite and on-the-ground data.

In addition, as environmental changes increase, so do the number of deaths of environmental and land defenders. The Global Witness team has just published its latest project, Deadly Environment, a 28-page report containing data and important insights on the rise of this phenomenon which is incredibly expanding year by year, especially in South America.

Data Sources

Michael Corey is a news app developer who was involved in the realization process of the National Public Radio mini-site named Borderland. In this post, he analyses the main features of the geographical digital tools that he used to collect and display data on the US-Mexico border which helped him correctly localizing the fences build by the US government all along the line which separates the two Countries.

The data-driven journalism community is expanding rapidly, especially on Twitter. If you need a useful recap of what has been tweeted and retweeted by data lovers, then the Global Investigative Journalism Network #ddj top ten is what you need.

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Data Roundup, 2 April

- April 2, 2014 in Data Roundup

Ars Electronica – Brain Art

Tools, Events, Courses

The Argentinean La Naciòn Data Blog continues to foster citizen participation in collecting and using open data. This time it did it by presenting VozData, a shared platform through which people can transform complex public documents into easily readable databases.

Do you want to put your visualization skills into practice? The Infographic Competition: Visualizing the Scale of the Brain gives you the opportunity to do it. Hurry up: the deadline is on April 30th.

Data Stories

The Guardian Data Blog recently published two interesting data journalism pieces we would like to recommend. The first is an article on Death Penalty Statistics written by Leila Haddou which summarizes the state of the art of executions in the world. The second is an interactive map showing country-by-country data on Europe’s young adults living with parents by Ami Sedghi and George Arnett.

If you are a fanatic about cars, you should take a quick look at Exploring Your Car’s European Roots, which displays the most important historical achievements in car and motor production.

The Data Desk of the Los Angeles Times recently released Crime L.A., a daily updated map which shows both violent and property crime trends in more than 200 neighborhoods of the city.

Google Flu Trend certainly was one of the biggest experiment in predictive analytics ever done in the recent history. Read Kaiser Fung’s point of view on why it represented a failure and Alexis Madrigal’s arguments in its defense.

Sam Wang from The New York Times published an article with data on autism showing the difference between the attention paid to the topic by the press and the scientific evidence.

Cartography is surely much better now that the second version of the Map of the Internet has just been released. The display of the oceans and the lands of the virtual world absolutely deserves applause and five minutes of your time.

Data Sources

The Washington Data Community is about to start a completely new version of their weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and you will also get useful data job alerts.

A list of visualization tools is always worth reading. Code Geekz assembled one that may interest you containing 30 links.

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Data Roundup, 26 March

- March 26, 2014 in Data Roundup

Eowyn_86 – Salvem La Balena / Save The Whale

Tools, Events, Courses

It is true that JSON is increasingly becoming the standard when it comes to API formats, but what if you need to convert it into a much more organized CSV file? Thanks to Eric Mill, now you can do it quickly with this tool. Read more about it in “Making JSON as simple as a spreadsheet”.

Data Stories

Dave Guarino tells us what ETL problems are and how we can succeed in solving them when we have to collect and re-organize datasets lost God-only-knows-where in the Web.

What is the difference between data storytelling and data narratives? Dino Citraro from Periscopic explains it in his short and brilliant post “A Framework for Talking About Data Narration”.

It has not even been a week since the launch of Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, and it is already attracting criticism from influential experts in the field, both journalists and not. If you are interested in reading a roundup of these opinions, take a look at Alberto Cairo’s blog and at Mark Coddington’s article on the Nieman Journalism Lab.

The most honorable use of data collection and analysis is certainly that which helps people improve their life. Katie Fehrenbacher recently posted an article on Gigaom on how data can fight human trafficking around the world which absolutely deserves to be read.

Have you ever wondered how our brain stores information? Do you want to know what is the main task of your hippocampus? Find all the answers in this infographic published on the Daily Infographic.

What prevents the emergence of open data-driven businesses in emerging countries? Is it possible to fuel innovation in these states through the establishment of a new investment fund? According to Prasanna Las Das from the World Bank Data Blog, this is the right time to do it.

Data Sources

Public transportation means are not always easily accessible by anyone. There could be people with difficulties (disabled or injured persons) which do not allow them to move freely on a metro. Mappable recreated an interesting series of maps showing those metro stations in Hamburg, London, and New York which are considered to be wheelchair accessible.

The article also contains a link to Wheelmap, a web app developed to monitor and display wheelchair accessibility around the world.

There are always experts that give useful suggestions on how to deal with open data, but these ones actually come from the father of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee, and you may not to miss them. If you read this 5-star deployment scheme, you will find interesting insights on the costs and benefits of web data.

To celebrate the World Water Day, the US open data portal released a series of datasets related to American coasts, oceans, and lakes that you can browse in


Thanks to @jalbertbowdenii @zararah @DataAtCU

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Data Roundup, 12 March

- March 12, 2014 in Data Roundup

Code – mutednarayan

Tools, Events, Courses

Don’t miss the opportunity to design on of the page of Knowledge is Beautiful, the next book of David McCandless. The challenge is open until March 24 and is also well rewarded with a prize of a total of five thousand dollars.

Ampp3d, the Trinity Mirror-owned data journalism site, launched its own competition too. Aspiring journalists have to develop a mobile-friendly data visualization which will be published on the Ampp3d website. The winner gets a hundred-pound prize.

R is one of the top choices when it comes to programming languages for data visualization. Here you may find a tutorial from Daniel Waisberg on how to display Google Analytics Data with it.

The New York Times is about to reveal Upshot, its new data-driven website based on politics and economics, which will replace Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight. Read some updates here.

Data Stories

This week we would like to start by presenting a series of infographics that are detailed as well as interesting.

The funniest one is surely “Twelve world records you can break during your lunch hour”, posted by ChairOffice on

Big tech companies mean big business transactions. Watch this interactive explanation from Simplybusiness on the history of the biggest Tech Giants Acquisitions

Among the others mentioned above, we strongly recommend you see Weather Radials, a poster representing all the climate changes occurring in 35 cities in the world last year, which is also a data visualization masterpiece to admire.

For a deeper understanding of visualization, take a moment to read this article written by Dorie Clark on the Forbes website, which reminds us why “Data Visualization is the Future”.

Data Sources

See how tech enterprises and organizations are spreading across Africa in this map on WomenTechAfrica.

The toolkit of a data addict is growing every day, and sometimes you have to choose the right tool for your own project. Here is a short list from Jerry Vermanen of software and programs that can be used for data extraction, filtering, and visualization.

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Data Roundup, 5 March

- March 5, 2014 in Data Roundup

Wally Gobetz – United Nations Headquarters

Tools, Events, Courses

Not all the data you are looking for are already formatted and uploaded on the Internet. Sometimes you have to extract them from multiple websites, and then scraping is the only answer to the problem. allows you to write your own scraper in Python, PHP, or Ruby. Give it a try!

The NICAR 2014 conference ends today, but there is already a lot of material available online. Probably one of the best links is Chrys Wu’s list of slides, tutorials, and tools.

Data Stories

It is not a funny topic, but it surely stimulates curiosity, specifically that of the US citizens: take a look at Top Ten Causes of Death in the United States from Daily Infographic.

Selling and buying online is becoming the rule, they say. The Wall Street Journal states the contrary with this little piece of data journalism which shows the dimension of the two sides of the markets in absolute terms as well as percentages.

Maybe some of you have missed it, but you can still read Samuel Lee’s article on the World Bank Data Blog about the International Open Data Day in Washington D.C and the state of the art of the world of open data.

Currently Ukraine is on the cover page of every newspaper worldwide. If you know to want more about the main differences between its defense sector and that of Russia, you should see this infographic showing the two countries’ military power.

Moreover, you might also be interested in knowing more about the economic relations that Russia and the European countries maintain. On the BBC News website, you can find Russia’s trade ties with Europe; go and read it.

Data Sources

Thanks to the HDX platform developed by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, it is now possible to collect, share, and download data related to humanitarian crises in a much easier and faster way.

The big data job market is expanding, and so is the need for frequently updated job boards. Here you can find that of Source, which regularly publishes “job listings for people who design interactive features, write code, and sling data in newsrooms”.

This week we recommend that data lovers, information designers, and journalists take a look at, a well organized and useful collection of data visualizations of all kind from around the web.


Thanks to @SchoolOfData and @OpenDevToolkit

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