We were asked by Bitext, a company that specialises in large-scale text analysis using Deep Linguistics Analysis, to make a bespoke visualisation that would allow them to express the output of their text analytics service.
Last evening I was privileged to speak at the London Business Analytics Meetup. The talk was titled "An Introduction to Predictive Analytics". I promised the audience that due to my lack of slides I'd summarise my comments into a reference blog with some interesting links and resources to refer to.
Finding the time and clarity of thought to write is an ongoing personal battle that I have with myself. After much procrastination and a few months late I've taken some time out from the trade mission I'm on here in Chicago, taken advantage of the free wifi in my hotel lobby, ordered a pot of truly terrible tea and turned my current playlist right up in an attempt to get this article over the line. So here goes.
I watched a show on Tuesday evening. The kind of show that I really love in a nerdy way. Not one about sex, or drugs, or violence, or murder mystery (although I do enjoy those as well), but, a real, proper, honest-to-god BBC2 documentary (please note, other deities are also available).
What a busy quarter this has been and we are already nearing the end of Q3 as well! We have worked on some exciting projects during this time, which has lead to, as you might expect, pages and pages of sketches. Nothing shows this more than the header image which is a blend of all my pages on top of each other. Among the splashes of colour and pen scribbles are sketches from projects such as the re-branding of AltViz with a new name and logo.
It's all about meetings. I've lost count of the number of meetings in the past couple of years. Easily a couple of gallons of tea. Some go well, some go ok and some are just plain terrible. That's fine, it's the nature of business development. You have to love the rejections as much as the wins. Feels a bit like being on tinder if I'm honest.
Welcome to our first design blog post. For those of you who haven't met me, my name is Hugh (@leoidsson) and I have the dubious title of Head of Colouring-In here at Coolgarif Tech. Other then the obligatory colouring-in, I'm also the person behind the visual look of each project from initial sketches to final implementation.
The thinking behind this blog post is to provide some insight into the early stages of our design process and show some of the concepts and sketches that we've been working on in the past months. Throughout Q1 we worked on a variety of different projects, which all begin with hand-drawn sketches to get the ball rolling for all involved.
Here at Coolgarif Tech, we are full time data visualisation watchers, always on the look out for innovative visualisations by other companies. We do this to keep an eye on emerging trends and technologies, and also to see how visualisation is seeping its way into different domains.
It's a Wednesday morning and there is a tube strike on. During a tube strike, London life gets messy. Lots of bikes get dusted off, high-heels are swapped for comfortable walking shoes, husbands and wives are drafted in to provide human courier services to get bodies to offices promptly. It's the travel apocalypse, an event that brings out the best and worst in Londoners. Hipsters with gritted teeth behind pencil mustaches stuck in a parade of unsteady Boris bikes trundling down the westbound cycle lanes out of Hackney; generally leisurely walking routes into the city crammed with power walkers and pavement rage!
Our business is a mixture of advising companies how to make the most of their data, and building software tools (think dashboards and visualisations) that help them achieve this goal. So the value that we offer, the product that our clients pay for, is advice and software.
Building data visualisations is a tricky business and Coolgarif Tech use a range of tools to simplify the design process. Our wireframing tool of choice is Balsamiq, as it enables us to quickly iterate ideas and communicate them to our clients.
Conventional wisdom suggests that a 9 month-old bootstrapping data visualisation startup should stick to its home market, carefully mind its resources and focus on getting through the first few tough, lean years. Conventional wisdom doesn't countenance sharing management time and scarce resources across markets in two geographically disparate locations. Despite this in September of 2013 Coolgarif Tech took part in the first trade mission of its brief existence.
Our esteemed Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has 'Boris bikes' and 'Boris buses', and we thought he also might like to have a 'Boris Board'. So we grabbed some data from the London Data Store and put together this light-hearted attempt to imagine 'Boris Board' as an interactive data visualisation that Mayor Johnson could use to run the show!
It's hot – heat wave hot! Clients aren't pushing too hard at the moment and we've been tidying up some loose ends on the never-ending list of tasks that accompanies any fledgling company. While things are calm I thought I'd share a few thoughts on how things have been going for us.
I wanted to pass on details from an excellent article in the Economist from earlier this month reviewing three recent books on Data Visualisation
*Updated for Docker v0.5.0*
I currently use Vagrant in development to provide me with an environment that closely mimics production - as well as all the good things that fall-out of sandboxing/starting from a known-point/minimalism, etc.
This is the third in a series of articles that about getting started with Neo4j in python. In the first two articles I discussed getting a Neo4j instancesetup on your system and how to use python-embedded bindings to create some nodes and relationships in a sample graph.
Following on from where we ended in part 1 of this series, we've now got a dedicated Neo4j graph database sitting on an Ubuntu instance and we are ready to start building graphs. This post will describe how I used fairly straight forward python script together with the python embedded bindings to populate the graph with nodes and relations.
I've been using relational databases of one sort or another for most of my career. Back when I was a derivatives trader at HSBC we used to use MS Access to hack VBA applications together on the fly for the trading desk (in fact that was my initial exposure to the world of software development!). Since then I've primarily used Postgres for client development work at Coolgarif Tech. I like its stable setup and psql cmd line editor is excellent!
Data Science London is a wonderful community of very clever folk and we've been going along to their meetups whenever we get the chance. So when news came of their 24hr Data Science Hackathon we were very enthusiastic about getting involved.