My latest data journalism project just went live on BC Business magazine's website: An interactive map that lets you compare your commute to neighbourhoods across Metro Vancouver. You just choose your commute time from the dropdown menu at the top and the map changes colour to show you which areas have a shorter or longer commute than you. You can also hover over any neighbourhood to get more info on how people in that area get to work.
The map accompanies a feature story on commuting by my friend Frances Bula.
I had the pleasure of speaking on March 22 at Simon Fraser University's Burnaby campus as part of the President's Dream Colloquium on Engaging Big Data. It was a real honour to be included in the event, which included some amazing speakers. And it was great to have a chance, after the talk, to chat with some of the students at SFU about their experience taking part in the Colloquium.
The charts above, comparing the "Scientific Method" to the "Journalistic Method", was part of my talk. Though the point I was making wasn't quite as harsh as it might first appear. I was arguing that one of the strengths of data journalism is that, practiced correctly, it can help journalists actually answer important questions, and move away from he-said/she-said reporting.
The video of my talk is now available on SFU's website, and embedded below. The talk is in two main parts. The first part, from around the 5:30 minute mark to the 21:30 minute mark, is the "big picture" part of the talk, in which I talk about why data journalism is so valuable. The second part, from 21:30 to 57:30, is the more practical part of the talk, going through some of the resources available for finding open data and visualizing it. From 57:30 on is the Q&A.
But I also had the chance to dig my teeth into one really big data journalism project over the past few months and it launched this week: Vancouver Magazine's data-driven ranking of Vancouver's most livable neighbourhoods. (North Shore neighbourhoods are also included in the ranking.)
The project really put my nerd skills to the test. I had to figure out how to cobble Census Tracts together into meaningful neighbourhoods, use QGIS to map business locations to neighbourhoods and figure out how to use a "Z score" to get the whole ranking to make sense.
I also got a chance to work with a great team over at VanMag -- Tom Gierasimczuk, Max Fawcett and Trevor Melanson -- who I hope I get the chance to work with again soon.
The overall winner for most livable neighbourhood? False Creek, followed by the West End and Lynn Valley.
You can pick up Vancouver Magazine at your local newsstand and check out the full ranking online here.
These kinds of rankings are obviously subjective, as you have to make a decision about how much to weight different aspects of livability.
Which is why I'm so pleased the project launched with an interactive calculator where you can answer a few questions about what's most important to you about where you live and find the best neighbourhood just for you.
If you've got a data project -- journalism or otherwise -- you'd like me to help out on, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some testimonials from folks who attended my earlier training sessions.
If you're wondering why I'm only posting about this workshop now, it's because I try to give people on my email list a heads up about upcoming training sessions -- usually at least a week before I promote the events on Twitter and this blog.
If you'd like to get on that mailing list, just add your name here and I'll send you an email when the next training session is scheduled.
A reminder that I'm also available to do one-day and two-day onsite training if you have a group of people at your organization who you think would benefit from training in Tableau or other data visualization and analysis tools.