Data Visualisation: Visualising the Race


Posted by John Durance on 19 Mar, 2015

Recently, a friend from my running group sent me a link to a TED talk titled: Are we born to run? One of the points the speaker makes is that at shorter distances, such as over a mile, women are much slower runners than men, but as distances get longer women get much closer to parity with men.

I have also, recently, started a project here at BrightLemon, the aim of which is to create a data visualisation tool. It must be a multi-purpose tool that can be used again and again to display big datasets in innovative and interesting ways. These data visualisations must be accessible to all web users and easy to share.

As a first step in this project we need a suitable JavaScript library to draw and display our visualisations. We have chosen D3, which will help us to bring our datasets to life with modern HTML, CSS, and SVG. It’s the perfect tool for exploring the percentage differences between current world records set by men and women running various distances. I hope you’ll agree the visualisation of this data, above, albeit a simple example, is much more powerful than had I presented the data in a table – far more complex applications of D3 are possible with much larger datasets.

The next step of the project is to integrate D3 into Drupal and to develop a user interface that everyone can use and get creative with.