How can i make this data visualization / map?
February 16, 2018 8:28 AM   Subscribe

I have a set of data in a spreadsheet showing dates, location coordinates, & events. There are several hundred rows. I would like to take this data to create a visualisation / map (of Europe) where it shows the time progressing and small text bubbles popping up around the map showing a small piece of explanatory text for each sequential, date stamped event.

Is it possible for a non techie person like myself to create this?
posted by kev23f to Technology (8 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Google Maps API?
posted by humboldt32 at 8:41 AM on February 16, 2018

With enough fiddling, yes. and Mapbox are two online mapping services that work with CSV uploads. You'll likely have to save the spreadsheet as a CSV, then identify what form the longitude latitude coodrinates are in (decimal degrees or degree/minute/second) then mess with the columns to get the right info into the popups.
posted by bendybendy at 8:45 AM on February 16, 2018

This is relatively straightforward to do for a techie; I'd use MapBox JS GL and a custom Javascript slider for the time control, would take me a couple days to get working. But for a non-techie I'm not so sure, if you don't program and you don't already know QGIS or ArcGIS you probably want some generic tool that can do timelines + maps. I don't know of one offhand.
posted by Nelson at 10:43 AM on February 16, 2018

What do you mean by 'non techie'? Do you feel comfortable learning new software or doing some light programming? Do you have time and want to learn (or is this a project you need to wrap up quickly)?

All the tools mentioned above are great. There are also some programming languages like Javascript and D3 that can help you out. Here are some examples of what you can build with D3. But if you want something that looks great on your first try, you might want to team up with someone with previous experience ...

There are also some online platforms (with free versions) that take some of the work out data visualization.

CARTO used to be my go-to recommendation for easy mapping, but it's gotten more complicated to use of late. These days, I might lean more towards Tableau although I'm not super familiar with their maps.

As a largely self-taught data geek, I highly recommend taking a class or joining a Meetup or finding a friend to join your project. A lot of the online tutorials and even a lot of the free software assume you have some prior programming or statistical knowledge. You can totally do it! But it's nice to not have to step into a new project alone.
posted by juliaem at 10:56 AM on February 16, 2018

I'm doing a very similar type of visualization currently with locations + dates.

I'd second D3.js for this. It's set up to work with data, and has some really great geo features. Check out some of the examples from Mike Bostock.
posted by Sreiny at 11:05 AM on February 16, 2018

Story Maps from ESRI is well suited to your task. It's a very low entry bar and let's you create, well, a story with location and time data.
posted by llin at 12:08 PM on February 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

I think Tableau/Tableau Public is pretty well suited to your task as well. And it's reasonably easy to use for a non techie. Here are a couple examples of maps made with Tableau.
posted by mjcon at 1:56 PM on February 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Loads of great answers here, thanks everyone - i have some exploring and some learning to do, which is why i'm starting this project in the first place. Thanks again.
posted by kev23f at 3:56 AM on February 17, 2018

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