Cool Toys pic of the day: Google Data Visualization

Google Data Visualization: Public Data:

Oh, there were so many wonderful things I wanted to show you today!
Even several that were announced today, so hot off the press! How to
choose, how to choose?

Well, after fretting a bit, this one was prettiest and I played with
it the longest. Evidence is in the pictures.

Google just released a public data visualization tool as part of their
Labs, the experimental part of Google. This means if you like it, you
better say so, because otherwise it may disappear. Me, as much as I
love ManyEyes, I
still enjoyed playing with Google Public Data, and found it useful.
Different, but still useful. I don’t think the two apps compete with
each other really, so much as offer different options in different
online spaces.

So, here are a few examples of how I was testing out Google Public
Data. If you attach multiple pics, as I have today, Posterous displays
all the pics at the bottom of the post in a slideshow fashion, so go
click through them for the rest to make sense.

Pic 1: The Google Public Data Homepage
Pic 2: Selecting a dataset (I chose national cancer statistics)
Pic 3: Selecting a visualization type and setting your preferences

Larynx Cancer Example:
Pic 4: 1999
Pic 5: 2001
Pic 6: 2003
Pic 7: 2005

Read the colors as red is worse and blue is better. Notice that is
1999, the age-adjusted cancer rates for cancer of the larynx are worst
at the edges of the country and more towards the north, with the state
with the highest percentage rate of the population being in tiny
little Rhode Island. As you scroll through the years (the slider is
right below the map) the colors gradually shift more towards yellow,
greens and blues, although the worst incidence remains in the
NorthEast. Some of the dots shrink in size also. What really caught my
eye was Alaska. In 1999, Alaska was orange, and by 2005, their dot had
completely disappeared!

Breast Cancer Example:
Pic 8: 1999
Pic 9: 2001
Pic 10: 2003
Pic 11: 2005

This tells a similar story to the Larynx cancer, although not quite so
dramatic. Still you see the same gradual shift toward greens and
blues, and while Alaska doesn’t quite lost their dot, you see the
color shift again. This time, Alaska gets worse before it gets better,
but ends up in pretty fair shape.

I’m not going to draw any conclusions about the numbers / colors and
what they mean, but I definitely see a role for this tool in joining
the ranks of online data viz tools.


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