Start of 2011: time to give presents is over

Google Trends shows the time for presensts is over after Christmas.

Looking back at the year 2010 in Google Trends shows the time to give each other presents is over. The chart shows the search volume for the word present over the year 2010. The volume starts to increase in September and keeps on growing. Immediately after Christmas the volume drops to lowest point in the whole year.

The graph also shows in summertime (July and August) people are not looking for presents. This seems to be a pattern for holidays: around Easter (April 4th) and mid of February you can see a volume decrease as well.

Note the markers A till F given by Google don’t mean anything at all. The markers represent news items which could explain the volume. For example the F stands for the news “Stryker to Present at Investor Conference” which clearly has nothing to do with buying presents. So data interpretation by computers is not always accurate… be careful.

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New view on tax paid salaries (Balkenendenorm)

Snapshot poster on tax paid salaries

Snapshot of poster on tax paid salaries in Holland (Balkenendenorm)

Want to know how your tax is spent on top salaries? The results of my first project will give you this insight. That is, as long as you pay your tax in Holland (sorry, my next project will be an international one).

Check out the full version of the poster

The poster is a visualization which uses open data on salaries. Dutch government is required to publish this data by law (WOPT, Wet Openbaarmaking Publiek gefinancierde Topinkomens). Looking at the way the Dutch government publishes the data, it seems they still need to learn a lot on the concept of open data. Continue reading

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Definition of “open data”: open doesn’t mean available!?

Definition of open data

Definition of open data in a visualization as published by Melanie Chernoff.

A major goal of writing this blog is to develop my skills and knowledge. And I did this morning and like to share this with you. Melanie Chernoff posted this great article on the meaning of open data. She explains the difference between Open Data and public available data and why it is important to keep a clear definition. Continue reading

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Overview of data drive journalism: watch this video

Screenshot of video report on data visualization by Geoff McGhee

Found this video which gives a very nice overview on the subject of data driven journalism.

Journalists are coping with the rising information flood by borrowing data visualization techniques from computer scientists, researchers and artists. Some newsrooms are already beginning to retool their staffs and systems to prepare for a future in which data becomes a medium. But how do we communicate with data, how can traditional narratives be fused with sophisticated, interactive information displays?

The video makes clear journalist just started to discover the tremendous power of using data to create insights in journalism. Traditionally the profession of journalist and data expert don’t mix that well. But nowadays tools are available which enable an moderate computer user to participate in data driven journalism.

Let’s join this evolution! Like 10 years ago Wikipedia started a change by sharing knowledge between people connected by internet. Now it’s time for a next revolution: people all around the world sharing and creating new insights by the use of open data.

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Interactive data journalism by newspapers

Screenshot of interactive budget by The Guardian

Screenshot of interactive tool where you decide on the government budget (source: the Guardian)

British newspaper the Guardian is very active in data journalism. Last month they published this “Comprehensive spending review: you make the cuts”.

The coalition says it must slash billions from public spending to tackle the UK’s growing budget deficit. George Osborne’s comprehensive spending review has revealed where the axe will fall. But should he cut as deep? And is he cutting the right things? Use this tool to conduct your own spending review.

The tool enables you to select your own cuts in the budget and uses a treemap to visualize the total government budget. Continue reading

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Big Brother is watching your telecom use.

Number of "Big Brother" requests for data on phone use per 1000 citizens split by country (source: Bits Of Freedom)

Found this press report showing the results of research on how often “Big Brother” asks telecom providers for the details on phone calls made by individual subscribers. The graph shows the differences between European countries. This is a so called pareto chart: sorted bars from big to small. The height of each bars indicates the number of requests per thousand citizens. Continue reading

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