Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Charts of RAW data

The Density Design Lab at Politecnico di Milano just released a cool new (free) web site, called RAW, for very simple data visualization. It’s roughly similar to products like Statwing, Tableau Public or DataHero, except this one gives you the entire d3.js source code on GitHub.

I made the following chart using some data downloaded from Charles Murray’s excellent book Coming Apart, that has income and college graduation information for every US zip code. I simply selected the spreadsheet data right in Excel, then copy/pasted it – as is – to the RAW web site. A few clicks later and I had this:


The rectangles are US cities with more than 15,000 families organized by state. The size of each rectangle correlates with the median family income, and the color represents the percentage of people with college degrees on a spectrum from blue (lower percentage) to red (higher percentage). That big brown square on the middle bottom is New York City, with a high median family income and a substantial percentage of college grads. The California cities on the far right are bluish-green because they have lower diploma percentages.

Pretty cool, huh? I have a long wishlist for additional features (additional chart types, labeling options, etc.) but you have to admit this is a pretty easy way to do impressive data visualization for free, with only a few mouse clicks.