Want to lose a couple of hours of your life playing with data visualizations? Then continue reading.
I was recently snooping around for US Highway Statistics (yup, that’s what I do for fun) and came across the Federal Highway Administration’s statistics series web page. Falling deeper through the internet rabbit-hole, I found their Public Data for Highway Statistics link, which brought me to Google’s Public Data Directory.
Google, teaming up with governmental open-data sources, helps create user-defined visualizations on-the-fly and almost seamlessly. You can not only create graphs, charts, and scatter plots, but you can also see data geographically, utilizing the built-in google maps.
But wait, there’s more!
Want to see Disposable Personal Income per capita by State? Coming right up!
Gee, why do all those low-tax states have such low disposable incomes? I wonder if state-run social programs like health care increase disposable incomes, allowing residents to spend more within the local economy. These visualizations help me quickly think about some interesting questions…
Or how about US Direct Investment Abroad?
I had no idea that the US invested $1.26 trillion in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Bermuda during 2011. Thanks US Bureau of Economic Analysis! Do you think this extremely high investment rate has anything to do with tax shelters? I don’t know, but this visualization brought up a good question.
Let’s take a look at Eurostat visualizations. How about minimum wages (by purchasing power standard) compared across France, the UK, and Romania?
Well, that was easy. Looks like France’s minimum wage is about $12.50/hour, compared with Romania’s $0.40/hour. If you were wondering, the US minimum wage is $7.25/hour, which in Europe, would be equivalent to Spain and Greece.
But perhaps the coolest thing about Google’s Public Data is that it’s interactive. You can upload, create, and modify your very own datasets, too.
So why are you still reading this? Go have yourself some fun!