Socrata 101: Creating a Visualization
Before you Begin
- Who are your intended users?
- What information do you want to share?
- What is the best visualization to use to get your message across?
- Does the visualization add value to your data?
Most of the information regarding the user can be found when clicking on
the user name. This will open a menu for options that will be crucial
for adding datasets, and creating visualizations or stories.
For this example "Crash" data is going to be used to create a quick and simple visualization. There is an area to search for key words at the top of the data catalog. This is useful to find specific datasets or past visualizations. Searching can also be done, or limited by, categories, view types and tags. In this example, "crash" is searched and limited to datasets.
Choosing a dataset allows the user to see basic information about the dataset. When it was last updated, column structure, a table preview, as well as any other visualizations linked to the dataset. From this page a user can also view the data to visualize, or download the data for analysis in another program.
Once the data is identified, the user can utilize Socrata's options to edit, export, or visualize data. Most users will typically visualize data, or export it for further analysis.
Choosing a Method to Visualize
Socrata has individual visualizations to choose from, or a user can use Socrata's Visualization Preview. Socrata's Visualization Preview is the simplest method for a user with very little experience with data visualizations. Choosing individual visualizations allows the user more control, but more experience is needed.
Visualization Preview Method
If using the Visualization Preview, the use can get a quick glance of the data and begin the visualization process.
Choosing the Content and Method to Visualize
Socrata's Visualization Preview allows users to explore visualizations quickly and easily. Once a column is chosen to visualize, there are a few different options for the type of visualization for the user to display the information. A user can choose bar graphs, time lines, histograms, etc...
Simple Bar Graph
To examine the "Crash" data, one basic question users may have is which county has the most collisions. Keeping it simple, a bar graph can be created illustrating which counties have the most collisions, of course this does not take into account the number of people in the given county, or number of people on the roads at any given time, but it does provide an estimate.
Visualizations can be modified to fit a user's needs. The type of visualization can be changed, so that a user can see how the information will be displayed. The colors, axis titles, scales, number of columns can all be adjusted with these options. Data can also be grouped, for instance a user may want to see collisions with fatalities compared with collisions with no fatalities in each county. This can be done by Grouping Dimension Values.
Final Visualization Preview
This is the final screen in which changes can be made. For instance if the title of the visualization is not appropriate, this can be changed in the "Menu". If the visualization is correct and sufficient for the user, it can then be saved.
This is the menu option which allows the user to add a title and description to the visualization. The more complete the description is, the more likely it will be used by others. If a different user cannot understand what a visualization is displaying, chances are it will not be used. Be as descriptive as necessary. Don't forget to save.