You may have seen that I put a lot of photos in my blogs. I like it, and I find the process inspiring, and it often leads to an insight as the subconscious can come through by indicating a preference for a particular picture. When I reflect on the choice, I often see there is a deeper meaning to it and something that I was reaching for in my writing… I would be interested if you have the same experience. Let me know in the comments.
So here is a step by step guide on how to add Flickr pictures to your posts and more importantly only use ones that you are allowed to and give attribution to the original author.
I wanted to capture the difference in my visualisations, showing the pre- and then post- feedback in one place. This was to allow me to more easily see the differences and help me reflect on my learnings.
The format below is that for each of the three data stories I will show the original visualisation, then the feedback and finally the adjusted chart incorporating the suggestions.
At a glance I can see the improvement those suggestions have made in comprehension and legibility. The biggest improvement has been in bigger font sizes and changing the vertical orientation to horizontal. I thought it would take up too much screen real-estate, but as you will see, it really doesn’t.
Similar to the quick feedback as a result of your presentation. Some possible way to improve the chart:
-Un-rotate the title of the vertical axis.
-All fonts larger…some quite tiny.
-Did you try making the background white? I wonder if it gets clearer…maybe white wouldn’t be the colour for the middle values anymore…
-What is the horizontal line? average? could you clearly indicate that?
-Maybe you can add some text in the graph or change the title indicating what is the message of this graph (see comment in your third post for an example).
Great topic and easy to follow since the beginning. Like Roberto says maybe changing the background colour for the chart could improve the contrast between the data points. Also It will be good idea if you present specific sections form the chart to focus the reader’s attention and connect with your argument.
I thought the story a powerful one. Id love to see a legend on your graph just so I can understand and verify it immediately in one glance that red is bad. Is the larger the dot the more students in schools? I read it referenced in your article but an annotation or simple legend would help. Ta.
Nice story Rory, can you make the text larger? There is a legend added in the first figure that I couldn’t read.
The text in the x axis is nice and simple. Are the data-points really grouped in pairs of years? that’s a bit confusing.
Titles could be more prescriptive too rather than descriptive (see comment in your third post (align them to the left).
Another thing for this case it would be good if you add the source of the data underneath each graph because in one disability discrimination is going down and in the second is going slightly up. This is now understood from the text but not from the graphs alone.
-Better put the title above the chart. It can also be rewritten so it is more descriptive of the insight…maybe something like “he poorest in Sydney get the most speeding tickets”
-What is the meaning of the red colour? the poorest areas in sydney? Why two different tones of red? this needs to be made more explicit.
Hi Rory, great post and good story. Maybe for the next analysis you can check for data sets in other parts of Australia to enrich the narrative with more context. Great use of charts and color contrast.
I also created another graphic to show this better. (I really like this one)
Speeding was the major contributing factor in 66% of accidents in NSW for 2015 and 42% involving at least one fatality with the rest seriously injured (Transport for New South Wales 2016). This equated to 384 people being killed on NSW roads last year (Transport for New South Wales 2017).
The police are tasked with reducing this road toll through implementing speed reduction programs focused on speeding cameras and patrol cars. The hope is that by imposing penalties driver behaviour will change. However, are the methods used being effective in driving this change?
Last fiscal year $75 million dollars was raised in speeding fines and a further $175 million was raised from speed cameras. That is whopping $250 million dollars in a single year!
Looking at which regions that are being fined the most per head of population shows that the strategies currently employed are not working. The open data portal (Department of Finance, Services and Innovation 2017) give two years’ worth of fines that were issued by NSW Police and speeding cameras by the suburb of the driver’s residence (Department of Finance, Services and Innovation 2017). Blending this with the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) and population estimates from the 2011 census (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011) show that financial penalties don’t seem to be working on the people who can afford it the least.
Looking at the data, the four out of the five areas that are the poorest in Sydney get the most speeding tickets with Macarthur Region averaging 40 tickets issued per 100 people. Compared to the Inner West which gets less than 13 tickets per 100.
We need to urgently look for different strategies to reduce speeding and consequently the road toll in the poorer areas of Sydney because the current practices are not working.
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011, ‘SEIFA by State Suburb Code’, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), viewed 15 May 2017, <http://stat.data.abs.gov.au/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=SEIFA_SSC>.
Department of Finance, Services and Innovation 2017, ‘Data on the speeding fines issued by the speeding cameras and NSW Police’, NSW Open Data, viewed 15 May 2017, <https://data.nsw.gov.au/data/dataset/data-on-the-speeding-fines-issued-by-the-speeding-cameras-and-nsw-police>.
Transport for New South Wales 2016, Crash and casualty statistics – NSW Centre for Road Safety, viewed 15 May 2017, <http://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/statistics/interactivecrashstats/nsw.html>.
Transport for New South Wales 2017, ‘Statistics – NSW Centre for Road Safety’, Transport for New South Wales, viewed 15 May 2017, <http://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/statistics/>.
I was curious to see if Australia was becoming a more tolerant society and found that the Anti-Discrimination Board NSW publish their statistics online via the NSW Open Data Portal (NSW Open Data Portal – Anti-Discrimination Board NSW n.d.).
The Board administers the anti-discrimination laws and handles complaints under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) (NSW Open Data Portal – Anti-Discrimination Board NSW n.d., p.1), and as such maintains records of complaints that have been lodged by individuals in NSW.
Looking at the reported rates of discrimination in NSW for the period between 2000 and 2014 it is clear to see that the trend is very clearly downward, with a reduction of around 88%. This is a great result particularly given the rise of xenophobic rhetoric that has entered our political landscape with the rise of One Nation and other minor parties (Stein 2015; Burnside 2009; Hassan 2005). However, in 2016 the United Nations special rapporteur claimed that “Australian politicians have given permission for people to act in xenophobic ways” (Davidson 2016, p.1) and as the data is not yet released for those years we cannot see if there has been a recent rise in discrimination.
The one disturbing trend is that even though discrimination against Homosexual and Transgender people has also fallen in line with the other forms of discrimination, it is over-representative of the population size. According to Smith et al. (2003), he estimates that only 2% or the population are Homosexual and yet discrimination against them accounts for 5% of the reported cases that are categorised. What the figures show is that that discrimination against people with a disability is not falling at the same rate as other forms, in fact it is now the highest proportion of categorised cases. The message is getting through about equal opportunities for women, but unfortunately not for the disabled.
The good news is that the fight is being won, particularly on gender equality, but work still needs to be done to make it a fairer world for everybody… able-bodied or otherwise.
Burnside, J. 2009, ‘Australians are xenophobic’, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 November, viewed 14 May 2017, <http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/australians-are-xenophobic-20091105-hzix.html>.
Davidson, H. 2016, ‘Australia’s politicians have promoted xenophobia: UN expert’, The Guardian, 18 November, viewed 14 May 2017, <https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/nov/18/australias-immigration-policies-have-promoted-xenophobia-un-expert>.
Hassan, G. 2005, ‘Rising Tide of Xenophobia: Australia’s Shallow Multiculturalism’, Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization, viewed 14 May 2017, <http://www.globalresearch.ca/rising-tide-of-xenophobia-australia-s-shallow-multiculturalism/1011>.
NSW Open Data Portal – Anti-Discrimination Board NSW n.d., viewed 14 May 2017, <https://data.nsw.gov.au/data/dataset?organization=anti-discrimination-board>.
Smith, A.M.A., Rissel, C.E., Richters, J., Grulich, A.E. & de Visser, R.O. 2003, ‘Sex in Australia: sexual identity, sexual attraction and sexual experience among a representative sample of adults’, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 138–45.
Stein, G. 2015, ‘Australia accused of being nationalistic, xenophobic ahead of regional people smuggling talks’, ABC News, viewed 14 May 2017, <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-28/australia-accused-of-being-xenophobic-in-migrant-crisis-response/6503844>.
Education and its funding is in the news a lot at the moment thanks to the budget it fills newspaper columns (Chapman et al. 2017; Harris 2017; Goss 2017; Doyle 2017) and talkback radio slots (Varishetti 2017; The Curious Case of School Funding in Australia 2017, Education, Environment and Equality 2016). Everyone has an opinion, and there are lots of vested interests from the education sector. So much so they have formed their own lobby groups such as the ‘Independent Schools Council of Australia’ (n.d.), ‘Independent Schools Council of Australia’ (n.d.), and Save Our Schools Australia (n.d.). These groups are created due to there being a fixed amount of money for funding education and everyone wants their share.
These discussions are essentially about funding and who is going to get what. The question I wanted to answer is ‘Why does it actually matter?’ Why do we even care about how much money schools get and more importantly, which schools get it? It matters because a good education means the poverty cycle can be broken.
“Children who come from low socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to have low educational attainment. This has multiple implications, including health, criminality, economic participation, literacy and numeracy. Issues of functional illiteracy are closely linked to significant social impacts.” (Riddle 2014, p.1)
The chart shows that poor kids tend to do poorly at school. Attending a school with a below average Socio-Education score (ICSEA) correlates to poor performance on the NAPLAN tests which measure literacy and numeracy skills (‘NAPLAN – FAQ’ n.d.). There is also a strong correlation between achievement and attendance with students who do not do well at school attending school less. This is shown by the colour cast with the higher attendance rates (grey) predominately above the ICSEA average.
The Gonski funding model attempts to correct this imbalance through providing more funding to the kids that need it most because it recognises the fundamental link between a good education and lifelong accomplishment and endeavours to allow students “to achieve their very best regardless of their background or circumstances” (Gonski & Department of Education 2012, p.xxix).
You can make a difference to kids in need by making sure that you vote for fairer funding for all.
Chapman, B., Croucher, G., Clarke, K. & Watson, L. 2017, ‘Federal Budget 2017: what’s changing in education?’, The Conversation, viewed 12 May 2017, <http://theconversation.com/federal-budget-2017-whats-changing-in-education-77177>.
Doyle, J. 2017, ‘Government secures Hinch vote for school funding changes’, ABC News, Current, viewed 12 May 2017, <http://www.abc.net.au/news/story-streams/federal-budget-2017/2017-05-11/government-secures-hinch-vote-for-school-funding-changes/8515464>.
Education, Environment and Equality 2016, Q&A | ABC TV, ABC, Her Majesty’s Theatre in Adelaide, 26 September, viewed 12 May 2017, <http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s4521340.htm>.
Gonski, D.M. & Department of Education, E., and Workplace Relations 2012, Review of funding for schooling: final report, Dept. of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Canberra.
Goss, P. 2017, ‘Gonski 2.0: Is this the school funding plan we have been looking for? Finally, yes’, The Conversation, viewed 12 May 2017, <http://theconversation.com/gonski-2-0-is-this-the-school-funding-plan-we-have-been-looking-for-finally-yes-77081>.
Harris, R. 2017, ‘Catholic schools to gain funding’, HeraldSun, viewed 12 May 2017, <http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/federal-budget/federal-budget-2017-catholic-primary-schools-to-gain-funding/news-story/2c4b4e34fc501787f46d6341e468f82b>.
‘Independent Schools Council of Australia’ n.d., Independent Schools Council of Australia, viewed 12 May 2017, <http://isca.edu.au/>.
‘NAPLAN – FAQ’ n.d., NAPLAN, viewed 12 May 2017, <https://www.nap.edu.au/information/faqs/naplan–general>.
Riddle, S. 2014, ‘Why poor kids continue to do poorly in the education game’, The Conversation, viewed 12 April 2017, <http://theconversation.com/why-poor-kids-continue-to-do-poorly-in-the-education-game-23500>.
Save Our Schools Australia n.d., viewed 12 May 2017, <http://www.saveourschools.com.au/>.
The Curious Case of School Funding in Australia 2017, Radio National, 13 April, viewed 12 May 2017, <http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/themoney/the-curious-case-of-school-funding/8433936>.
Varishetti, B. 2017, PM on school funding increase, Drive with Belinda Varishetti, Perth, 1 May, viewed 12 May 2017, <http://www.abc.net.au/radio/perth/programs/drive/pm-on-education/8491154>.
Going into the DAM all-day workshop I was feeling a little overwhelmed to say the least. I hadn’t finished my DSI assignment that was due in a little over 24 hours and I was tired and felt under-prepared for this subject.
I was also a bit pissy with my teammates who had wanted to meet at 8:30 that morning to go over our presentation but none managed to show up on time and some not at all…
As the day unfolded I was glad that I had actually spent time doing the pre-work for the class. It really helped me make sense of what we were doing and I was really pleased that I had had a unique insight into it as well.
Interestingly the real breakthrough has nothing to do with the class work at all. It was all about what was happening inside for me. My feelings of being lost and out of control. Thoughts about dropping a subject or the whole thing entirely had been filling my mind. Struggling with the DSI assignment wasn’t helping…
During Erin’s introduction, she spoke about similar feelings. Feelings I immediately identified with. It gave me hope that I was not alone, that if others were feeling like me then perhaps that was part of what was meant to be happening.
So it came round to me to introduce myself. I did the usual spiel and finished… but then something happened, the next person didn’t start, there was a gap and a half-considered idea spilt out…
I spoke about how I felt that I was on a roller-coaster just without a seat-belt. It was cathartic to get it out. To own what I was feeling in a public space. More importantly, it allowed for my feelings to be acknowledged and addressed.
I will never forget Theresa standing there saying that it was such a great analogy as it implied that there was a track, one that she had built and was ultimately in control of. That what I had to do was actually trust that she knew what she was doing and that it was going to be OK. The I wasn’t going to fall out of my seat on the first loop.
That I was going to be OK.
So I did… For the first time in a long time, I started to let go and trust. Just like I am now, writing this. This is new for me, but I trust Theresa and no matter the feelings I have around putting this all out there, I will do it.
I have learned that it is OK to be feeling like this. Feeling lost and out of control and overwhelmed. That this is part of a deliberate strategy and in fact, it is a place that I need to learn to be happy in.
That the practice of being a data scientist lives right here, at the crossroads of uncertainty and experimentation. Theresa explained it as a triangle with Creativity, Uncertainty and Risk at each point. They all interact together and you can’t have one without the other two.
There was so much going on in my head that night that when I got home I realised that I needed to move, my body needed to process something and it couldn’t do it cooped up inside. There was this immense pressure inside that needed release. And so I did, I walked and walked late into the night, for hours…
I have continued thinking about this post since writing it. Mostly thinking about what my real learning is here. The learning beyond the technical skills. This is a very pertinent question to me. I had a choice to make at the end of last year. I could choose a one-year data science course at Sydney Uni or a two-year data science and innovation course here.
For me choosing to come here was hard, the lure of finishing within a year had great cost advantages, both for the degree but also of not earning and yet still paying for the cost of living. It would have meant that I could spend 9 months studying and then start working as a data scientist.
This degree really spoke to me because of the innovation and the collaboration aspects of it. That it wasn’t just about the toolset. I can get the toolset from anywhere (mooks anyone?). It is about how we use it and where we use it. After 22 years in the corporate sector, I am starting to realise that for me I want to do something more meaningful.
The other key point that she makes is about ethics and the need for Data Scientists to really know and understand about the choices we make and how we are introducing bias into the algorithms that we produce. How they may work for the majority but be unfair towards the minority. That this is important because “big data, at least as the term is commonly used, is actually granular, social data” (Wallach, 2014) and any negative impacts are very real to those actual individuals, even if it is just one. In the current case, one person who does not get a loan approved who should have because the model predicted they were at high risk of defaulting. That could change their life significantly for the worse.