Statistics Canada & IBM ManyEyes

The visualization above represents StatsCan records indicating Internet use by individuals, by selected frequency of use and ages spanning 2005 – 2009.


I presented a short intro to IBM ManyEyes Wikified at #altmoosecamp session at #nv10 which generated a number of hallway conversations with folks interested in working with StatsCan data and looking at ways some dense datasets could be effectively visualized.

While listening to The World @ 6 this week I caught a news story dealing with survey data recently released by StatsCanada examining Internet use in Canada over the past 10 years.  The scope of growth and shifting demographics of Internet use in Canada was lost in the figures and statistics and I thought these table would be a good candidate for visualization experiments.  I decided the check this StatsCan data out and attempt to visualize it using IBM ManyEyes Wikified.  All of the tables listed by StatsCan are available in .xls, .csv, and .txt files.

I retrieved the .csv data from StatsCan and prepped it for ManyEyesWikified with a little GDocs editing.   To do this I simply uploaded the .csv file to GDocs, cleaned the header up, and published the resultant data set using the ‘Publish as Webpage’ feature to get a public URL.

It is possible to pull web data directly into ManyEyesWikified and edit the results within the wiki.  ManyEyesWikified employs the WikiCreole markup and is similiar to Mediawiki markup – the same used by Wikipedia, but I find GDocs a little easier for cleaning up large tables for visualization.  Using the data import markup I pointed ManyEyesWikified at my public GDoc and let ManyEyes do the rest  – to see the markup I sused you can access my page here ( note: you will need to signup for a free account to access the page. )

Once imported and published in a visualization, ManyEyesWikified gives you <embed> code allowing you to <embed> your visualization at your site.  Even better, the embedded java applet checks the source data for updates/changes each time it loads to refresh the graphic.

I plan to chip away at these datasets over the next few weeks and hopefully complete a full page of visualizations at ManyEyesWikified that effectively visualize the tables full of rich data dealing with Internet use in Canada.

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  1. Like the scene in Remix Manifesto tracing the evolution of rock’n’roll – I’m emulating the riffs of those who inspire me and playing them in my own context. Sure hope the interwebs don’t have a Crossroads …

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