Engaging Data is the product of me just sitting on the couch and messing around with my computer when I have free time (which luckily I have a fair amount of these days).

I enjoy looking at data, creating spreadsheets and creating models to understand and learn about the world. It’s a big part of what I do in my day job. To present data on the web and reach a wide audience, I am focusing on finding interesting datasets and fun and interactive ways to present it.  Hopefully these things will be interesting to others. In turn, it is also a good chance for me to learn some new skills and refine existing skills: web programming (javascript, server stuff, python, web scraping), and data visualization skills (data wrangling, graphing, mapping, animation, and interactivity).

If you have any ideas for interesting data sets, educational tools or any other general suggestions or requests, please let me know. I’m especially interested in hearing from educators and others who work in the public sector as I may be able to help out with projects, etc. .


My current tech stack and workflow:

I use Python mainly for automating data acquisition from web resources and APIs and data processing,  manipulation and calculation.  I use the Pandas python library primarily for this as it has got pretty good tools for dealing with tabular data and doing calculations and manipulations.

I generally use javascript to make the interactive data visualizations and interactive web programming.  I often use the open source Plotly javascript graphing library  as the basis for my web graphs, though if it’s not already made in Plotly, I will use the d3 data visualization library which is more flexible (it’s what Plotly is built from) but also requires a bit more work to make things.

In some cases, when I need to continually extract data from a website or API, I will create a python script that can parse the website or talk to the API and then process that data. It then will write the outputs to a text or javascript file which is then able to be used by the javascript code with runs in the browser.  If the data download is a one time thing (like reading a table off of a wikipedia page), I may often use Excel just because it’s faster and easier for me to process the data.


send inquiries to chris@engaging-data.com

follow me on twitter: @EngagingData

subscribe (below) to be notified of new content by email