Map Where are the gun permits in your neighborhood  The Journal News  LoHud 530

Net Tuesday: Visualizing data using maps

status complete
as of February 2013

I gave a mini-presentation on data ethics as part of Mack Hard’ys Visualizing data using maps and other tools. NetTuesday talk. Here are recordings and links from that talk.

Mack Hardy gave a terrific presentation on map-based data visualization at Vancouver’s monthly Net Tuesday event. I provided a mini-presentation on data ethics issues, drawing on recent controversies over gun permit maps and my own experience making a map of provincial carbon sinks and sources using government data.

Here’s Mack’s handy recording of the talk:

(My segment happens from minutes 37 to 54.)

Here’s a Storify summary of tweets, photos and media from the talk.

And here are the links I drew on as examples:

Map: Where are the gun permits in your neighborhood?

The Interactive BC Carbon Map

The Interactive BC Carbon Map: Lessons Learned

Our picture of forest carbon flux is therefore admittedly both crude and tentative. The most prominent feature we visualize here is a swath of green carbon sink extending down through the B.C. interior from north to south. It gives the impression that B.C.’s interior forests are a vast and uniform zone of carbon sequestration. This is misleading. In reality our provincial forests are neither so homogenous nor even necessarily carbon sinks. On the critical second point, data from provincial and federal agencies point in conflicting directions: Canadian Forest Service data show B.C.’s forests still sucking carbon out of the atmosphere overall; provincial data show the opposite.

How to Dramatically Alter British Columbia’s Carbon Footprint

A B.C. without its many, many maples and pines would overturn its carbon calm by giving it a net production of more than 37 million tons of CO2 per year. Keeping those trees in play helps the province suck up about 18 million more tons of CO2 per year than it produces.

Programmers explain how to turn data into journalism & why that matters

How to know if you’re doing it right

Here are the main questions to ask yourself to ensure you publish data responsibly.

  1. Why publish this?
    Who could be harmed?
    Is the data accurate?
    Is it relevant to your story?
  2. Why not publish this?
  3. How best to publish this?
    What facets of the data are truly essential?