Whilst sifting through my Delicious links archive (in the process of moving those still relevant into the library direct on this site), I came across this Twitter ‘Just landed’ data visualisation, courtesy of O’Reilly Media’s Strata Gems. Interesting to see how popular Twitter is on internal flights across North America

The O’Reilly post goes on to explain how to write your own (links at the end of this post).

Hans Rosling’s TED talk on global economic and health trends was one of the first presentations to bring statistics to life by using timelines in motion.

Seeing data presented this way is still a rare event yet showing changes across a period of time in motion rather than a series of static charts can deliver a much clearer perspective. And there is software available that doesn’t require money or clever coders.

The image below shows the difference between putting £1,000 in a savings account earning 2% interest versus an ISA with 6% interest over 3 years. (Please don’t laugh, I created it at the beginning of 2008, the decimal point needs moving to the left.)

Click the Play icon to run the motion.

OK, maybe not quite as artistic as the Twitter video. It’s simple little chart but the motion helps emphasise how the gap in interest earned grows over time. How did I create it? Using a Google Docs spreadsheet and its built-in Motion Chart tool. In 2007, Google acquired Trend Analyzer from the GapMinder Foundation. The chairman of GapMinder? Hans Rosling.

If the same can be done in Microsoft’s Excel, I haven’t found it. Leave a comment if you know how.  Excel trumps Google Docs in many ways, displaying motion charts doesn’t appear to be one of them.


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Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Hello

    I have seen a way of doing something similar in Excel

    Alternatively, there is a tool here to create google visualizations right out of Excel.. http://ramblings.mcpher.com/Home/excelquirks/google-visualization


  2. Thanks Bruce

    It’s a bit of a long-winded method but good to see you can do motion charts in Excel. Would be nice to see it built-in as a chart type.

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