The devil’s in the data

Generally speaking, I’m not a big fan of visualization projects for data — trying to figure out what they’re trying to tell me often takes away from the data — but Google is now letting its users manipulation public data via the Public Data Explorer, a new product in Google Labs.

There isn’t a great deal of data yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play with what’s there.

Here, for example, is the country’s rate of sexually transmitted diseases over time (click the play button).

Here’s one for the compensation of government employees:

Compare that to the compensation in private industry:

Notice any difference?

Play with the data here.

To get these to fit on the page, I had to make them smaller. But by clicking the “explore the data” link on each, you can see a much better representation.

  • Anton Rang

    OK, I’m a bit puzzled about your choice of axes in the middle graph — not quite sure what comparing compensation of government employees vs. subsidy rates (as compared to compensation of private employees vs. total compensation) shows?

    If I look at both graphs with an axis of total compensation, what I seem to see is that that, over time, the total amount that employees in both private & public sectors are paid increases gradually, and the split between private/public percentages appears to remain essentially the same.