Simon Willison’s Weblog

18 items tagged “visualization”

2021

Plot & Vega-Lite. Useful documentation comparing the brand new Observable Plot to Vega-Lite, complete with examples of how to achieve the same thing in both libraries. # 4th May 2021, 4:32 pm

Observable Plot (via) This is huge: a brand new high-level JavaScript visualization library from Mike Bostock, the author of D3—partially inspired by Vega-Lite which I’ve used enthusiastically in the past. First impressions are that this is a big step forward for quickly building high-quality visualizations. It’s released under the ISC license which is “functionally equivalent to the BSD 2-Clause and MIT licenses”. # 4th May 2021, 4:28 pm

2020

Weeknotes: datasette-seaborn, fivethirtyeight-polls

This week I released Datasette 0.49 and tinkered with datasette-seaborn, dogsheep-beta and polling data from FiveThirtyEight.

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Datasette table diagram, now with a DOT graph (via) Thomas Ballinger shared a huge improvement to my Observable notebook for rendering a diagram of a collection of Datasette tables. He showed how to use the DOT language to render a full schema digram with arrows joining together the different tables. I’ve applied his changes to my notebook. # 8th May 2020, 3:23 am

2019

Weeknotes: Niche Museums, Kepler, Trees and Streaks

Every now and then someone will ask “so when are you going to build Museums Near Me then?”, based on my obsession with niche museums and websites like www.owlsnearme.com.

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kepler.gl. Uber built this open source geospatial analysis tool for large-scale data sets, and they offer it as a free hosted online tool—just click Get Started on the site. I uploaded two CSV files with 30,000+ latitude/longitude points in them just now and used Kepler to render them as images. # 25th October 2019, 4:16 am

Thematic map—GIS Wiki. This is a really useful wiki full of GIS information, and the coverage of different types of thematic maps is particularly thorough. # 21st October 2019, 2:25 am

Exploring Neural Networks with Activation Atlases. Another promising attempt at visualizing what’s going on inside a neural network. # 19th April 2019, 2:24 am

List of Physical Visualizations (via) “A chronological list of physical visualizations and related artifacts, maintained by Pierre Dragicevic and Yvonne Jansen”—327 and counting! # 4th March 2019, 2:45 am

2018

datasette-vega (via) I wrote a visualization plugin for Datasette that uses the excellent Vega “visualization grammar” library to provide bar, line and scatter charts configurable against any Datasette table or SQL query. # 29th June 2018, 3 pm

Datasette plugins, and building a clustered map visualization

Datasette now supports plugins!

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Visualizing disk IO activity using log-scale banded graphs (via) This is a neat data visualization trick: to display rates of disk I/O, it splits the rate into a GB, MB and KB section on a stacked chart. This means that if you are getting jitter in the order of KBs even while running at 400+MB/second you can see the jitter in the KB section. # 11th April 2018, 5:04 pm

Vega-Lite. A “high-level grammar of interactive graphics”. Part of the Vega project, which provides a mechanism for creating declarative visualizations by defining them using JSON. Vega-Lite is particularly interesting to me because it makes extremely tasteful decisions about how data should be visualized—give it some records, tell it which properties to plot on an axis and it will default to a display that makes sense for that data. The more I play with this the more impressed I am at the quality of its default settings. # 28th March 2018, 5:22 pm

Observable: An Earthquake Globe in Ten Minutes. Well worth your time. Jeremy Ashkenas uses Observable to live-code an interactive visualization of recent earthquakes around the world, using USGS data (fetched as JSON), d3, topoJSON and an Observable notebook. I’m sold—this is truly ground-breaking new technology. # 31st January 2018, 5:01 pm

2017

Exploring Line Lengths in Python Packages. Interesting exploration of the impact if the 79 character length limit rule of thumb on various Python packages—and a thoroughly useful guide to histogram plotting in Jupyter, pandas and matplotlib. # 10th November 2017, 3:34 pm

2016

Generating interactive HTML charts from Python?

D3 is absolutely amazing but the learning curve is a bit steep. Totally worth the effort to learn it in the long run, but it’s not so useful if you want to get something done quickly.

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2008

Visualization Strategies: Text & Documents. “List of ...” style posts usually make me want to stab someone with a fork; this is how that kind of post should be done—well researched, carefully written and, most importantly doesn’t call itself a “Top X Ys that will Z your ZZ”! # 22nd August 2008, 11:17 am

2007

Designing Google Reader’s trends. “But beyond the visualization, this serves as a good example of collecting and understanding the ambient information that flows through our digital lives.” # 15th January 2007, 12:53 am