Tornadoes Over Time with CartoDB

Yesterday I participated in an online introductory class about CartoDB, a new mapping tool with a great look and feel and a solid free option. Although I had dabbled with CartoDB before, this class got me excited about it. In particular, a new tool called torque that allows you to make animated geovisualizations is really cool.

One project we did in the class was creating an animation of tornadoes touching down in the U.S. over time. My animation shows 10 years of data in about 15 seconds. You can clearly see a pulse of tornadoes each year that begins in the south in the spring, and moves northwest as the summer progresses. Meanwhile, Florida shows tornado activity pretty much year round. Making the map took about 20 minutes. Here it is:

tornadoes over time

click on the image to see the animation

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Using Tableau Public to Make an Interactive Visualization

Dashboard_1¬†For the last several weeks I’ve been experimenting with Tableau Public, a powerful, free software package for data analysis and visualization. I’m impressed by the software. It’s certainly the best free product I’ve worked with.

My big project on Tableau is an interactive graphic showing global mercury emissions by country and sector. I was able to get a nice dataset from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program. These data were part of the 2013 UNEP Global Mercury Assessment. So they are very up-to-date, and with the adoption of the new Minamata Convention on Mercury, the topic is quite relevant. Good ingredients for an nice viz.

The graphic combines three elements: 1) a world map showing mercury emissions by country in a color gradient scale, 2) a tree map showing the mercury emissions of regions and their constituent countries as a part of total global emissions, and 3) a bar graph showing the makeup of emissions by industry sector for the world or selected countries. All the elements are linked so that selecting objects in one changes the other elements.

Check it out.