WiDS Conference 2017

Last week, I watched speakers at the Woman in Data Science conference (WiDS)  at Stanford via a local meet-up here in North Carolina.  The meeting was a world-wide event with speakers simulcast over the globe.

One talk that particularly interested me was on Data Visualization given by Miriah Meyer, a professor at the University of Utah.  You can watch her talk at 55:00 minutes into the livestream.  She gives some great examples about the insights we can gain by visualizing data.

During the Q&A session, Dr. Meyer was asked about the next great challenge in visualization. She responded that, “… It turns out we still don’t have good tools for non-programmers to use to create very rich and unique visualizations.”

…we still don’t have good tools
for non-programmers … to create very
rich and unique visualizations…
–  Miriah Meyer, PhD

DataGraph is not a programing language but it definitely has a programming attitude. I strongly believe that DataGraph can help bridge this gap to allow non-programmers, and programmers alike, to create rich data visualizations. The program gives you (1) virtually complete control of what you see in a graphic, and (2) a visual interface for combining commands and creating graphics.

For this post, I wanted to provide a couple of examples created in DataGraph that would be hard or impossible to do in a standard graphing program.


The first example is inspired by a second comment by Dr. Meyer that people working in data journalism or designing infographics are, “…somewhat limited in what they can do with data, unless they get some programming skills.”

I posted an example a few months ago to illustrate how DataGraph can be used to create infographics that are data driven.  On the left is an infographic that was made by the CDC.  On the right is my re-creation of this graphic using DataGraph.

In the CDC version, the U.S. is given the same color as New Zealand and Canada, despite being almost twice the amount.

In DataGraph version, the U.S. color is much darker than the other countries, which makes sense given the underlying data. To achieve this look, the color scheme is set up with a color ramp using bins, such that the same color is used for data between 2 and 3,  3 and 4,  4 and 5, … and so on.

Admittedly, this is a relatively simple graphic but the cool thing here is that the graphic is entirely data-driven. If I decide to add more countries or update the data when a new report comes out, I don’t have to recreate my graphic.


The next example is an animation, inspired by the well-known statistician Hans Rosling, who sadly passed away this week with pancreatic cancer.


This particular video shows the relationship between fertility and life expectancy for 100 years of data in one minute, using data downloaded from Gapminder.com.  Each moving point represents a country where the size  is scaled by population and the color is determined by the continent.

Rosling used similar animations in a number of highly watched TED talks that brought data to life in a unique way.  The one I have linked to here has over 11 Million views!  Clearly, well worth the watch.


To try DataGraph, download a free 14 day trial.

Download DataGraph files:
Infographic Example.dgraph
Gap Minder Example.dgraph