Using variance to make your charts easier to read

A bar chart is quite often the quickest and easiest way of showing quantitative data.

If I wanted to plot how much I am spending in each area of my business it might look something like this:

On this chart I can see quite clearly how much I have spent on marketing and how much I have spent on operations. This kind of chart also makes it easy to compare spends but in reality there aren’t many times when I want to compare marketing and operations spends. What I really want to know is whether I’ve stuck to my budgets or whether I have an over or underspend.


New feature: group data to perform calculations

Rather than perform simple calcuations on your data outside of ChartBlocks, you can now group data and perform simple calculations (i.e. average, sum, max, min) while building the chart.


Logging temperature using PHP and ChartBlocks

An introduction to using the PHP SDK to save data to ChartBlocks from your own applications. Using the example of a USB thermometer hooked up to a computer or NAS.


When not to use a chart

Choosing whether to display data in a chart or a table is fundamental to data presentation.

People often opt for a chart just because it looks nicer, without necessarily considering whether it’s really the best medium to get the key information across.

Consider a simple chart showing test score results for a small group of school children. For our example we’ll assume that they have each taken a test in English, science and mathematics...


How to find open data

open-data.pngFinding interesting data can be the most difficult part of producing data visualizations. Luckily finding a story to tell has become a lot easier over the past decade with the advent of open data. Open data is a fantastic resource that now encompasses a wealth of information from all over the world. Free to use, even commercially exploitable data can now be found on almost any subject matter you can think of.

Goverment and large worldwide inter-government organisations are particularly helpful when it comes to open data, with both high quality and large quanitites of data being collected every single day. European and North and South American countries really lead the way in this with dozens of countries open sourcing massive amounts of data.