Homework Week 3 (Due Feb 21)

This week you’ve got  a Refine exercise, some readings and I want you to register for http://jsfiddle.net and … of course, you should be thinking about your second pitch and chipping away at your first story.  As I said in class, feel free to edit your pitches — I’ll go through them Monday and give you feedback, so what I see on the blog on Monday should be the pitch you’d like my feedback on.

At the request of one team that wants to move faster on their story, I’m going to switch things up a little bit. Next week, 2/21, we’ll tackle HighCharts, and we’ll get to CartoDB on March 7.

All that really means for your homework is that your readings have changed, and you’re going to read about charts instead of maps. I want you to take a look at …

Illinsky, Designing Data Visualizations, Chapter 4:
Choose Appropriate Visual Encodings

Cairo, The Functional Art
Reading part 2: pages 73-86, on presentation

Both are on e-reserve in the Library
(Access code dv2014)

Please also register for a gratis account on http://jsfiddle.net

And, I want you to keep toying with Refine. Max discovered that deBlasio’s campaign filings are prohibitively large at this point (I last looked at them right after the primary, so this isn’t a huge surprise) so you won’t get very far working with those. We’ll talk about options for dealing with oversized files later in the semester, but for now …

Grab either the Iraq War data from iCasualties:
http://icasualties.org/OEF/index.aspx or

Or look up a race for city office and download the campaign filings as a CSV: http://www.nyccfb.info/searchabledb/

Or send me a note with a link to some other data that you’d rather clean up and I’ll let you know if it is sufficiently messy.

Then try cleaning the file up with Refine. Look for dates and make sure they’re read as dates. If you find a transformation that you think you ought to be able to do but can’t, describe it in a comment on the blog and we can look together at how to accomplish it.

When you’re done, look for “Export” in the top right corner of the Refine interface, export a CSV and send it to me.

Send me your refined CSV by 8:30 AM on Friday Feb 21. Include a description of the source and contents. Even if I’m your source–in your words, what is this file?

So remember …
+ Refine exercise
+ Readings on charts
+ Register for http://jsfiddle.net

We’ll get to CartoDB on March 7 and then I will stop introducing tools for a bit and we’ll all have a chance to get used to using these tools on our stories. If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, don’t panic. I know we’re moving really fast. I don’t imagine that you’ve mastered Pivot Tables or Refine already.

If you’re still struggling with Pivot Tables, take a look at my writeup from last week:


I asked a handful of new questions about the well data — see if you can answer those. Try sketching the Pivot view that would show you the answer — what columns or rows would you see? Are you counting values? Taking an average? — then try to build that in a pivot table.