Archive for February 2009

our day, visualizing the American Time Use Survey

February 14th, 2009 — 2:18am

For Jeff’s class I created an interactive visualization of the American Time Use Survey. I got sick last week so didn’t have a lot of time to work on it. As a result it turned out somewhat derivative of the Baby Name Voyager and other stacked area plots.

That said, I think it lets you find some rather interesting patterns in how people use their time. Most noticeable is the extra hour or so that people sleep in on the weekends.


3 comments » | visualization

Fundamental Statistical Concepts in Presenting Data: Principles for Constructing Better Graphics

February 14th, 2009 — 2:11am

Via Andrew Gelman I came across this long paper (updated version) on statistical visualization by Rafe Donahue. I haven’t read it through carefully yet, but I enjoyed the examples of visualizations from his children’s schoolwork.

He criticizes boxplots, which caused a discussion in the comments to Andrew’s post. I read Tukey’s EDA recently and was surprised to see how much of Tukey’s work was focused on visualization by hand. The boxplot is a sensible visualization when you had to compute and plot manually. Using only 5 numbers it portrayed much of what was important about the data. However, now that plotting is cheap, it makes a lot more sense to just plot all the data.

In general, summaries, visual or otherwise, which assume a single mode, or worse normality, should be treated with a great deal of caution.

1 comment » | visualization

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