Best data visualizations from my JOUR440 class

Best data visualization work from my JOUR440 class

First place winner: Erika Ward (click here for the visualization)


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Global Right to Information Rating

Freedom of information laws allow citizens constitutional and/or statutory right of access to records and files held by government agencies. More than 100 countries/regions in the world have various right to information legislations. United States Freedom of Information Act has long been regarded as a model for other countries to emulate. The law, however, is far less effective than many people might assume. United States was placed at 45th out of more than 100 countries and regions with access to information laws, according to a global ranking designed to assess effectiveness of freedom of information laws. The rating was made by Access Info Europe (AIE) and the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD). The rating shows that United States received 89 points out of a possible total score of 150. The higher score, the better.

You can view the rating here. You can view the country data presented in bar chart here. The rating evaluates each country’s freedom of information law according to 61 indicators. Below is the screenshot of the bar chart.



JOUR440 best blogging, best data visualization and best Storify entry

At the end of spring 2015 semester, JOUR440 students and I voted for the best student assignments in the class. Eight students received certificates of awards in three different categories: data visualization, blogging and Storify. Continue reading

Improved map that better reflects geographical distribution of New York city residents on government subsides

Today I cleaned up the same dataset I used for the previous blog entry and created a new map. The following map, I believe, better reflects geographical distribution of New York city residents on government subsidies. First, unlike the previous map where you can see place markers ironically misplaced in Europe and elsewhere, this improved map has corrected the error. All place markers are now located in New York city and its surrounding areas. Second, each place marker has an accompanying number that indicates how many people in that area are receiving public assistance. Third, I changed the colors of the place markers. The darker the color, the greater number of poor people in certain areas. This is definitely more intuitive than the one I posted before. Lastly, I changed the map from map view to satellite view to see if it looks better.

How many citizens from Big Apple are receiving public assistance?

How many citizens in the city of New York are receiving public assistance? How are the poor people distributed geographically in the Big Apple well known around the world for its glittering wealth?

I found a relevant dataset from and imported it into Google Maps. Below is what I see. Different colors of place markers indicate different numbers of people depending on government subsidies. Can you improve this map?

Google Maps work better than Google Fusion Tables for embedding in blog

Currently, doesn’t allow its bloggers to embed a map created with Google Fusion Tables. This is because  “” is not yet on the whitelist for embedding maps. So I created a hyperlink for the map. Click here and you will be able to view the map.

Fortunately, works with Google Maps because Google Maps is on the whitelist for embedding. You will be able to view the map without clicking a hyperlink. Below is the map I created with Google Maps.

The map I customized shows where and when different species of caterpillars and butterflies were found in Central America. Different colors of the place markers indicate different years. Here is the source of the data.

Word clouds of state of the union speech and state of the state address

President Obama delivered the State of the Union speech on January 20, 2015. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner delivered his first state of the state address on February 4, 2015 . Here are word clouds of both speeches. Continue reading