Extracting NBA player movement data

 API, coding, python, Sports  Comments Off on Extracting NBA player movement data
Aug 282015

Player movements

NBA basketball teams have tracking systems installed in their arenas called SportVu, essentially a system of cameras pointed at the court to track player movements. Some of that data is browsable through the NBA site, but there's understandably no direct download link. However, there is an API. Savvas Tjortjoglou wrote a thorough tutorial on how to grab data via the API and plot it Python.

This will be fun.

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The Point Of A Chart

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on The Point Of A Chart
Aug 272015

When creating charts, it’s important to pick the one that actually fits not just the data, but the task. That can require going outside your comfort zone to use something beyond the four or five most common chart types. Here is an example where the original chart does not support comparison between two different sets of numbers, but it’s easy to fix.

On Twitter this morning, Stephen Hoskins pointed me to this story about Auckland schools in the NZ Herald as a good use of pie charts. It’s an interesting case, because individually, these aren’t bad pie charts. They show the make-up of the poorest (Decile 1, lowest decile) and richest (Decile 10, highest decile) schools in Auckland.


They’re okay pies because they only show a small number of slices each and they’re very different. The sorting of the values could be better, but that’s a minor issue here. Looking at each individually works if you want to see each of those schools is made up in terms of ethnicities.

The problem is that pies are really bad for comparison. This is especially problematic here where the differences are huge. It takes a while to even find the corresponding colors in both charts.

So I made a quick bump chart, with the bottom decile on the left and the top decile on the right. This fits into the same number of pixels, despite Tableau’s slightly inefficient use of space here.

Ethnicities bump chart

The point of this chart is really the comparison, and the differences are really stark. The bump chart makes them much more visible, and easier to understand, than the pair of pie charts. I also got rid of the color legend and instead labeled the lines directly (though I left out the exact numbers since they likely aren’t terribly important).

It’s not just about the difference in the chart type here (and avoiding the oft-maligned pie chart), but asking what the point of the visualization is. If it’s comparison between sets of values (or over time), use a chart that makes that easy and clear.

I’m doing a Reddit AMA

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on I’m doing a Reddit AMA
Aug 272015

I'm doing a Reddit AMA tomorrow hosted by the DataIsBeautiful subreddit. It'll be at 1:30pm EST on August 27, 2015.

In case you're unfamiliar with the AMA (ask me anything), it's just a fun Q&A thing, where you ask me questions on Reddit, and I pause to think of something good to say. I might type some answers.

Ask me about visualization, data, blogging, graduate school, my hate of commuting, my kid's poop habits, beer, or whatever else. I'm game.


Subway complaints by station

 maps  Comments Off on Subway complaints by station
Aug 262015

Complaints by station

This map of subway complaints in Madrid isn't geographically relevant to me, but the encoding scheme is interesting.

Each spot represents a station, and a collection of concentric circles represent the various types of complaints for that station. Larger circles represent more complaints, and more circles represent more complaint types.

So for someone in charged of repairs, maintenance, and overall system performance could pretty quickly figure out the problem areas and what actions to take.

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Meditations on Relevance, Part 4: Guest Comic and Open Thread

 guestpost  Comments Off on Meditations on Relevance, Part 4: Guest Comic and Open Thread
Aug 262015
For the past few weeks, I've been writing about relevance and museums. The conversation in the comments on each post has been fascinating and educational. Today, I wanted to share a provocative comic made by a talented museum-er/illustrator, Crista Alejandre. I hope this piece encourages more dialogue among us in this penultimate post in the relevance series.


This post is part of a series of meditations on relevance. This week is YOUR WEEK to weigh in on anything related to relevance that you want to explore. At the end of the series, I'll re-edit the whole thread into a long format essay. I look forward to your examples, amplifications, and disagreements shaping the story ahead.

Here's my question for you today: What responses, questions, and stories does Crista's comic spark for you?

If you are reading this via email and wish to respond, you can join the conversation here.

British Museum Loans in Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on British Museum Loans in Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy
Aug 262015
As the British Library's major exhibition Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy draws to a close — it's been an amazing 5 months — we'd like to take this opportunity to showcase some of the key British Museum loans in the display. The Library and the Museum have a long, shared...

Making a hit song with Bieber, Diplo, and Skrillex

 audiolization, Data Art, music  Comments Off on Making a hit song with Bieber, Diplo, and Skrillex
Aug 262015

Making a hit by NYT

The New York Times got me to watch an interview with Justin Bieber in it multiple times. Along with (mostly) Diplo and Skrillex, a visual layer set on top of the video interview further explains what the musicians are talking about.

Here, just watch it.

Then compare that with another New York Times piece from 2012, which happens to interview another producer who worked with Bieber. Today's piece seems so much more refined, even though the older interactive seemed to work really well at the time.

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Workshop: 3D Cultural Heritage and Landscape

 Events, GIS, teaching, visualisation  Comments Off on Workshop: 3D Cultural Heritage and Landscape
Aug 262015

Digital Classics Workshop
3D approaches to cultural heritage and landscape

Thursday, September 24
Institute of Classical Studies
Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

The Institute of Classical Studies is offering a training workshop for postgraduate students and researchers on the use of 3D approaches in the study of cultural heritage artefacts and landscapes. The workshop will offer a basic introduction to the principles behind 3D imaging, modelling and representation of terrain and elevation, and how these can be used in research as well as visualisation. It will also give participants hands-on experience using simple and free software packages to produce complete 3D models and visualisations, with methods easily transferable to their own research.

No previous digital experience is required, but participants should bring a laptop and a digital camera or smartphone and be prepared to install some free software in advance of the workshop. This workshop has been made possible by the generous support of the LAHP and AHRC.

Registration is free.
To book a place on the workshop, please contact Valerie James (valerie.james@sas.ac.uk)

Bias from bias from bias

 statistics  Comments Off on Bias from bias from bias
Aug 252015

Jim Davies for Nautilus on our unconscious bias and how being non-biased leads to more bias:

And the more we convince ourselves that we don’t have certain biases, the more likely we are to exhibit them. If we believe we’re good people, for example, we may stop trying to be better and may be more likely to act indecently. Similarly, if we think we’re smart, we might skip studying for a test and give ignorant answers. In general, if we believe we’re unbiased, we’re giving ourselves permission to be biased.

I don't know. Seems biased.