Data Viz Squirrel

Data Visualisation, Data Viz, Infographics and ‘making pie charts look pretty’ seems to have sky rocketed within the past couple of years. Despite studying database development during my final year of University in *ahem* 2003 and constantly being surrounded by lovely data (whether at work or on the web) I had never really paid much attention to it. I gawped at the screen when I discovered Information is Beautiful (and then ordered the book right away), yet it still hadn’t twigged that this was something I could try for myself, thinking it was only for graphic designers and not a lowly techie like myself.

My moment of epiphany came in 2011 when I was looking for a course to attend – I don’t have a huge training budget at work and so that ruled out any MSC qualifications but I wanted to try something a little bit left-field but which was still related to my job. This is when I discovered Andy Kirk’s ‘Introduction to Data Visualisation’ training and thought I’d give it a go – after all, if it wasn’t for me I’d still get a free trip to Brighton (yippeee!)

The training was fantastic, so much more than I had imagined as it started right from the beginning – it assumed no prior knowledge and covered all aspects of visualising data. Attendees were from a variety of backgrounds: designers, coders, database developers and I finished the day feeling incredibly inspired (you should see the mad scribblings I made in my notepad on the way home).

No more boring pie charts for me – hello stunning data! 

Fast-forward a few months and data visualisation is still at the forefront of my attention. I am overloaded with all the wonderful resources on the web about it; be it free tools, design tips, data…oh the lovely data, tutorials or books. You should see the “Data Viz” folder in my favourites – I’m like a squirrel hoarding the links.

I am a data viz squirrel; hoarding links for the winter.

Well, this is why I have set up this site, I LOVE to play and tinker but will then often finish something and then move on to something else. I have coded Python for the first time, created a Choropleth map of English Counties, I have screen-scraped, made a Heat Map and created my first visualisation for publication. I want to document this work, my thoughts, discoveries and processes so that I can keep a log of everything I have worked on. I have seen some wonderful tutorials online that don’t quite fit what I want to do and so I have modified them and now want to share them. I have so many ideas for blog posts and so many people to credit that I can see this site expanding very quickly!